Button Up & Bike: YogaGlo online, at-home yoga

I consider myself a yoga rookie. I have taken classes here and there, but I’ve never committed myself to a dedicated practice, despite feeling physically and mentally regenerated after a session. Increased balance, flexibility, focus, mindfulness, posture, and strength. The benefits of yoga are many, so what holds me back from allowing myself to experience the positives of a regular practice? My three primary excuses are time commitment, cost, and feeling sheepish about practicing yoga in a group setting.

On February 1 I set out to incorporate yoga into my lifestyle via YogaGlo, a website dedicated to getting individuals everywhere to practice yoga. The sites hosts over 2,500 online videos from trained professionals that specialize in different types of yoga or meditation. The classes range from 5-120 minutes, which quickly eradicates excuse #1 for not practicing yoga; I have 5 minutes.

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The website itself has a minimal layout and is easy to navigate. The number of classes seems overwhelming but there’s a convenient filter option allowing you to refine your search by body part, duration, focus, level, style, and teacher. Each of the 35 instructors has a bio so you can read about their specific credentials, if desired. The classes are very beginner friendly, without making you feel elementary, and the instructors suggest modifications throughout the asanas. I focused on those that were cycling specific and a few that were unique to my physical needs, such as neck and shoulder tension.

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Only moments into my first class I was reminded of my need to stretch and the infrequency that I do so, especially post ride. Each course has a brief description explaining the goal of the specified practice. I began with a 30 minute class, Bike Love, which addresses “all the common tight spots associated with cycling.” I had more tight spots than I knew.

The longer classes allow you to really get into a groove. My favorite class thus far is the Whole Enchilada, an hour long level 1 class, which takes you through a series of postures for increased flexibility, recovery, and circulation. The 5-15 minute classes didn’t allow much time for my mind to settle, but they did provide the space to take a deep breath and sort of “reset” for the task at hand. I’ve found myself taking a few minutes to step away from the computer to perform postures that helped me stretch.

YogaGlo-Legs up the wall

Quick Recovery has been a great pre-bedtime class. The last pose in the series is “legs up the wall,” or Viparita Karani. This simple inversion worked wonders on my tired legs and really did help me to relax and fall asleep.

YogaGlo strikes me as a wonderful practice for a newbie or hesitant yogi, like myself. However, I did wonder whether an in-home practice is appropriate for a beginner. I’ve been called out in yoga classes for doing a posture incorrectly. The online instructors do an excellent job at illustrating the postures and suggest alternatives for the less limber, but when I’m in my living room there’s no one around to keep me in check.

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With this in mind, I turned to a local professional for her opinion. Rebecca Rankin, of Bikram Yoga Squirrel Hill, took a few classes and provided feedback.

“In home practice is a great way to take time out of your day and refocus your energy and your self.” She recommended creating an open space at home that is free from distractions. “If you create an inviting space that you can slip away from your everyday worries, you will be more likely to stick with your home practice.”

Fortunately, YogaGlo has an app which allows you to sync your classes and access them via your phone or tablet. I did some of the classes in my living room but my ‘distraction free’ zone became my studio. A space with a lot of natural light, that is free of cats, a kitchen, and to-do’s.

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Rebecca also had some great suggestions for the beginning yogi. “Online programs like YogaGLo are nice because they do have options for beginners to well-seasoned yoga practitioners. I do think that it is important for beginners and those with injury to seek professional yoga teachers. The group classes are a great way to connect with a greater community and having a teacher assist you to be sure that you are properly executing postures as to not injure yourself. Taking even just a few classes with an instructor will help jump start someone’s yoga practice and make an ‘in-home’ practice even more rewarding.”

Winter is the perfect time to discover ways to cross train and build habits for a new season. and yoga has proven itself as a habit to continue. Between the low cost of $18 per month, range of class duration, and the mobility, YogaGlo has solved all the reasons why I don’t practice regularly. Another plus, I don’t need to purchase any special equipment. I look forward to incorporating YogaGlo into an all-around cross training practice that will help strengthen my core, increase flexibility, and promote recovery.

The brick and mortar YogaGlo studio is in Santa Monica, California. Pop in to take a class for free while they’re filming.

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