The Best Free Yoga Videos for Newbies

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The Best Free Yoga Videos for Newbies

It’s easy to fall off the yoga practice bandwagon. There are so many things that can keep you away from the studio—staying late at work, forgetting your mat, or even feeling anxious that you’ll look silly in a class of seasoned yogis. Whatever the reason, there are tons of free online options to supplement your practice. The problem then becomes searching through the haystack of free online resources to find your perfect namaste needle.

When I started the quest for the best free online yoga resources, I set some criteria to quickly narrow my search. I wanted videos that were about an hour long to mimic the length of the studio classes I was used to. I was looking for videos that were an athletic challenge but also provided good routines for relaxation. And since I was new to my yoga practice, I wanted videos that broke down the basics of every pose.

After weeks of trying out different sources recommended by friends, yoga instructors, and good-old Google, I settled on my three favorites:

YouTube

When searching for free yoga resources, the video sharing behemoth YouTube is a good place to start. But type “yoga” into YouTube’s search bar, and you get back more than eight million results. Many of these are one-off videos rather than easy-to-follow programs for beginners. There are, however, two free yoga programs that are worth checking out: Yoga for Dummies and Dr. Melissa West’s channel.

Yoga for Dummies is a six-part series of 10-minute videos. Put them together, and you’ve got a great starter yoga class that eases you into your practice. West’s channel has dozens of videos to choose from. I’d recommend starting with her beginner playlist, especially Namaste Episode 101. The 11 videos on the playlist are some of the best explanations of poses that I’ve come across. And West’s personable nature will keep you coming back.

Since YouTube really excels when it comes to one-off yoga tutorials and videos, I’d recommend trying out DoYogaWithMe or Yoga Journal (explained in more detail below), and then revisiting the video-sharing platform for one of these stellar stand-alone videos:

DoYogaWithMe

Without question, this was my favorite free online yoga resource. The site offers an easy-to-follow, six-week beginner guide. The guide recommends two classes and one pose tutorial every week, which provides an amazing foundation for your practice. DoYogaWithMe also has a beginner’s studio with dozens of curated videos for people who are new to yoga. The videos vary in length, so I never felt bored. I liked that you could check out each video’s average rating and reviews from fellow novice yogis before you dive in.

Some of my favorite videos on DoYogaWithMe:

Yoga Journal

The leading yoga publication’s video section is a comprehensive resource with 360-degree views to better understand the nuances of every pose. The routines are more technical, more likely to use Sanskrit terms, and more athletically challenging than the ones I came across on DoYogaWithMe. My two main gripes with Yoga Journal’s online offerings: The videos were often shorter than I’d like (I find I need about an hour to get into a meditative, head-clearing state) and didn’t include any user reviews, so I found myself clicking around aimlessly in search of videos that would be a good fit. That being said, the production quality and detailed explanation of each pose is hard to beat when it comes to free yoga resources.

Some of my favorite videos on Yoga Journal:

  • Morning and Evening Sequence: Pair these two short, gentle videos to start your mornings off right and end days in a peaceful and centered place.
  • Crank Up Core Strength: an athletic, dynamic routine with some arm balances that will tire you out. I think it’s best suited for someone who is already in good shape but is trying out yoga for the first time. The flow requires two blocks, which can stabilize you in poses when one hand is on the ground or help improve overall alignment. Until I got a great set of cork blocks, I used big, heavy books instead.

While it was tough to find the routine I wanted on Yoga Journal, I kept coming back to the site for its invaluable 360-degree video explanations of different poses. Learning basic postures (called asanas) quickly made me more comfortable and confident in my practice.

You’ll pick them up as you go, but if you prefer to study ahead of time, you can use Yoga Journal to learn these poses:

The Limits of Free

While doing all of this yoga, my body felt great—until it didn’t. If you’re a yoga novice practicing by yourself rather than under the guide of an in-person instructor, it can be easier to injure yourself. I was really into my new practice, but I pushed it too hard and had to learn to practice more safely.

I started feeling my left knee pop and my back ache at the base of my neck. With any new exercise, it’s normal to feel some new aches and pains while your muscles adjust. When you release tight muscles as you start doing yoga, it impacts your overall posture and muscles in unexpected places across your body, which might make you sore. Since I’m a desk worker, I wasn’t surprised that waking up neglected neck muscles was uncomfortable—they always get sore when I exercise my upper body, and the sensation was familiar.

But any sharp pain means you should slow down and come out of the pose that caused pain, says Laurence Gilliot, a long-time yoga instructor. Once I learned to better listen to my body, practicing with these free online yoga resources was a fantastic way to supplement my time at the studio.

About the Author

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Greatist

Greatist helps you find what’s good for you. Not like “eat your vegetables, they’re good for you.” More like “here are some choices you can realistically make, stick with, and feel really good about.” Because in the end, you don’t have to choose between being happy and being healthy; they’re really the same thing.

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9 responses to “The Best Free Yoga Videos for Newbies”

  1. Avatar Aishah says:

    I love watching Yoga with Adriene- she’s super relaxed, funny and helpful for beginners. (^^♪

  2. Avatar Barbara Hasson says:

    I’ve got osteoarthritis of the spine and knees. What would you recommend for this please ?

  3. Avatar Yoga Wannabe says:

    Without looking at any of these videos, (because I’ve given up) what I have found frustrating in the past about yoga for newbies is that is usually isn’t. The poses are too advanced. It seems like the instructors just want to show to others how flexible and advanced they are. Maybe I should not look at videos for newbies. What I need is yoga for the old, hefty, and inflexible. I can barely touch my knees let alone palms to the floor. My age, weight, and inflexibility is not their fault, but I’d like to start doing yoga but even newbie stuff doesn’t address my needs.

    • Avatar mccarthyy1 says:

      I tried yoga before and felt like you too. I watched Dr West’s beginner video. She says, not to expect your poses to look like hers as she has been doing yoga for over 10 years” Give it a try at home. Good luck 🙂

    • Avatar ACR says:

      Look for restorative yoga or gentle yoga on You Tube. You only go as far as you can in Yoga. If you can find a studio, that’s your best bet as they usually accommodate students of all levels.

    • Avatar YVR says:

      What city are you in? I’ve been going to a hatha yoga class for the past few years and there are many men and women in their 50s and 60s and some who are stiff and hefty. Our yoga teacher teaches us to only do what the body will let us and she is always congratulating students who find ways to accommodate their aches and pains. It is a very spiritual class aligned with traditional yoga values. See if you can find the same thing where you live!

    • Avatar equa yona says:

      The problem for us inflexible beggars is, the instructor has to do the asana correctly and completely to show how it should(eventually) be done. This tends to make us feel inadequate and perhaps even judged, which is absurd, but we are humans. Being absurd is hard wired into us.

  4. Avatar Becky says:

    I love Sara Ivanhoe! When I was looking to try yoga, I spent a whole afternoon researching videos on you tube – and then I found yoga for dummies!!! I loved the full explanations and instruction during the practice I have since moved on to other videos by Sara Ivanhoe- and I love them all! I find her pleasant and very instructive and I especially like how she offers modifications to most poses. I have since joined a yoga class, but I still come back and do Sara Ivanhoe’s yoga videos during the week between classes. I am not a yoga expert, but I do love it, and I love how in her videos you have time to move from pose to pose. Some of the others go too fast on moving from pose to pose and if you are not at that level it is hard to keep up. Sara Ivanhoe is why I do yoga and why I loved it from the first video of hers that I tried!!

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