As yogis like to say, yoga is as much about the body as it is about the mind. Both deserve attention in these times of social isolation and uncertainty. That’s why now is a great time take up a yoga practice — virtually.
Maybe you want to start the day with yoga, boosting your energy and encouraging clear intention. Or perhaps you want to use yoga to ease that pack pain from sitting in the house all day.
Different yoga instructors, apps, and YouTube channels offer different styles and approaches. And what’s best is what works best for you. There’s no universal answer for the single best app or YouTube channel for yoga, but you’ll find one that suits your groove with a little trial and error.
YouTube or apps: Which is better?
That depends on your needs. Are you an experienced yogi with a preference for a specific style, or a beginner who’s looking to test out different options? Are you a looking for a personalized routine, or are you looking for a little variety?
✅ They’re organized (usually by styles and goals) and offer tools that let you keep track of your practice.
✅ You can explore different practices without ever looking elsewhere because most apps have a collection of instructors and classes.
✅ Many apps will draw up a personalized routine or recommendations based on your needs. Some will let you put together your own practice and sequences.
❌ Most apps require a paid subscription.
It’s best for frequent, experienced yogis who know what they want, and for those who appreciate structure and can (or want to) stick with a routine.
✅ It’s free. You’ll never have to feel bad about paying for an expensive subscription if you don’t use it enough or if you find out yoga just isn’t your jam.
✅ You get to do what you want, when you want to do it. You don’t have to feel guilty because you didn’t follow through on a schedule or recommended routine. (You shouldn’t!) You also don’t have to worry about wasting your money on a personalized plan if it ends up being a bad fit.
✅ Yoga instructors on YouTube aren’t just exercise instructors; they are relatable, educational personalities with a community around them. You’ll feel more connected to the instructor and to your practice than you would if you were using an app.
❌ Many YouTube channels feature only one yogi, and it’ll take time and patience to find the right one.
❌ YouTube is slightly less organized than most apps. (It’s better when the host has an organized library of playlists.) You’ll have to come up with a system to keep track of your progress and your favorite videos.
It’s a budget-friendly option that helps foster a personal connection with yoga. It’s best for those who are still figuring what they want to get out of their yoga practice, and for those who prefer flexibility over fixed routines.
Best apps to try
Some yoga apps create customized plans and routines based on just one specific area of focus. Glo, on the other hand, recommends classes based on multiple needs and your preference in instruction styles.
Glo doesn’t just offer one-off classes. It also offers timely curated collections, audio meditations, and 96 programs by 52 teachers. Each of these teachers have a profile on the app, so you can to choose whatever style and specialty works best for you.
The programs are composed of a few classes each and run the gamut of yoga styles and disciplines— Kundalini, Ashtanga, Yin, Pranayama, etc. (Don’t worry, Glo is very educational; it’ll teach you what those words mean.) Some of them are also tailored to help with pain, posture, sleep, stress management, women’s health, etc.
But since most of these programs last for only a week, it’s ideal for those who appreciate routine and consistency, but also variety and flexibility in their schedule. You have the option to either set a yoga schedule with Glo, or practice the program on your own time.
Lotus classes are worthwhile for those who practice yoga as a form of fitness. Yes, there are collections of classes and programs focused on relaxation and meditation, yoga essentials, as well as health and energy. But the app is really good at categorizing classes based on the physical impact of yoga: muscle tones, balance, flexibility, cardio, fat burn, sports performance, women’s health, and asanas (yogi speak for “proper exercise.”)
Users can also create custom yoga classes from the hundreds of poses and sequences listed in the app. If you know what you’re doing, it’s a good way to personalize your practice without sacrificing guidance or structure.
Yoga Studio is similar to Lotus Yoga in that it also offers the option to create your own classes based on poses and sequences. What differentiates it from Lotus Yoga, however, is in its emphasis on health rather than fitness.
To be sure, it still offers yoga classes for mobility, pain, and sports performance. But in general, Yoga Studio tends to frame its practices based on the healthful properties of yoga. There are collections of classes geared toward immunity, sleep, healthy weight management, fertility, and mental health. Other collections are inspired by the philosophical and spiritual foundations of yoga: Pranayama, Chakra yoga, as well as various salutation and guided meditation practices.
Like Glo, Daily Yoga recommends practices based on your needs, and structures classes based on week-long programs that you can either practice on a recommended schedule or at your own pace. What stands out, though, is the fact that each program and each item in its pose library come with a list of benefits you can expect — helpful information if you’re looking to target a certain area or function of your body. If you’re exploring one of Daily Yoga’s “Masters’ workshops,” you can also expect details about the yoga coach’s instruction style, as well as information about who the practice is most suitable for.
You can start by browsing recommended program sequences based on your goal: toning up, learning the essentials, enhancing health, amping up skills, improving flexibility, or relieving stress. Or, you can turn to one of its audio meditation practices. If you’re looking for a community of yogis to share your journey and for blogs and tips about yoga, you’ll love the app’s social functions.
The Sunsa Yoga app will prompt you to answer a series of questions about your goals, as well as health and fitness interests when you open it for the very first time. Once that’s done, you’ll receive a 40-session progression plan that builds toward your goal.
It’s a great app for people who love to stick to plans and routines — but not so much for those who don’t. Sure, if you want to deviate from the set plan, there’s a library of yoga classes for different goals and needs. But the options are relatively limited and the practices themselves are quite short.
Best YouTube channels to try
Anyone who has ever tried to YouTube a yoga video has heard of Adrienne and her canine sidekick, Benji. She’s one of YouTube’s original yogi, and is known for her personable disposition and goofy jokes. But don’t worry — her philosophy is plenty serious and spiritual.
Adrienne approaches yoga instruction with an open mind and a soothing voice. She not only encourages her followers to “find what feels good,” but also makes sure that her language and videos are accessible. She skips the jargon and tailors her classes to people from all walks of life: “yoga for writers,” “yoga for teens,” “yoga for risk takers,” etc. Got an ache? Check out her many pain management and body part–specific yoga videos.
There’s no shortage of videos focusing on meditation and mental health either. There are practices for self-respect, anxiety, PTSD, creativity, humility, grief — you name it, she’s got it. Occasionally, she’ll also film series of 30-day yoga journeys focusing on a specific theme. There’s one called “true,” and another one called “dedicate.” Her most recent series, “home,” is just perfect for times like these.
Kassandra’s yoga repertoire ranges from dynamic vinyasa flows, to slow-paced yin stretches. Look no further if you’re searching for a yogi who can carry you through the day: Kassandra’s got energizing practices to wake you up in the morning, and restorative ones to ease your mind and body at the end of the day. The best part? She’s great at combining the two for a seamless, balanced practice. (The vin-to-yin air element yoga here is one example.)
But what Kassandra does best is yin yoga — a gentle, meditative style that emphasizes stillness and targets deep connective tissues. It’s a practice that allows you to focus on breathing, energy flows, and mindful stretching. It will work differently for different people, of course; but if you’re looking to manage pain, relieve stress, or increase flexibility, Kassandra’s videos will be worth your while.
Lesley is the host of Fightmaster Yoga. Like Adrienne, she takes an open-minded approach to yoga instruction. If you’re a beginner looking to build some confidence, you’ll find comfort in her motto, “it’s not about the pose.” To Lesley, what matters is that you showed up and made the decision to practice self care; it’s all about feeling better in the body and the mind at the end of each practice.
Lesley’s flow-based vinyasa practice focuses on breathing and alignment. Her channel features plenty of videos on energetic Ashtanga practices, grounding Hatha routines, as well as full-body yoga workout and stretches. Her practice will hyper-charge your day with positive energy and purpose. And the ocean view in her videos? It’s just the cherry on top of the cake.
If you’re coming to the yoga mat with clear goals and intention, then you’ll find Sarah’s meticulously organized channel very easy to navigate.
All her videos have a color-coded thumbnail photo: pink for the fitness-based power yoga, sky blue for the flow-based vinyasa practices, dark blue for the alignment-based Hatha practices, and purple for the relaxation-oriented restorative yoga. She also has a handy playlist that sorts her videos based on these categories — super easy to follow.
If you usually gravitate toward yoga apps because they’re more intuitive and straight-forward than YouTube channels, consider SarahBeth Yoga as a free alternative. You’ll appreciate this conveniently organized channel and Sarah’s teaching style.
Ekhart Yoga is Europe’s largest online yoga studio. While it has a website and an app that runs on paid membership, its YouTube channel has tons of free yoga practices, live sessions, and videos that feature some of their 52 teachers and 23 yoga styles.
What makes this channel special, though, is the fact that it carries educational videos about yoga and anatomy. Don’t be surprised to see a skeleton model on the channel, and get ready to learn more about your body. Yoga instructors will teach you how different parts of your body connect to each other, and will offer advice about how you can adjust your practice based on what your body craves. Overall, it’s a great channel for those who hope to become more conscious about how their body moves during practices, and how it connects to the mind.
From time to time, you’ll hear yogis saying that their “chakras are blocked.” But what the hell does that actually mean? Brett explains that the phrase describes when energy (“kundalini”) is unable to move effectively from the bottom of the spine, through the seven energy centers along it (“chakras”), to the top of your head and beyond the earthly realms — thereby causing physical, mental and emotional imbalances.
Brett’s practice derives heavily from that very philosophy, so expect to see a handful of videos that are designed to awaken your internal energy: Meditations, Chakra yoga, and Kundalini yoga, a style that focuses on posture, breathing, meditating, and mantra-chantings. But since chakras are also fundamental to the yoga tradition, Brett also leads classes of other yoga styles to get your energy flowing and your chakras aligned.
Like Brett, Allie’s practice is informed heavily by the chakra philosophies of the yoga tradition. But Allie tends to use a range of yoga styles — not just Kundalini — to target each of the seven chakras.
Each chakra supposedly corresponds with a different part of the spine, and connotes different mental and emotional states. Since many of Allie’s practices tend to focus on just one chakra at a time, if you ascribe to this philosophy, you’ll be able to nurture and restore a healthy balance of energy to areas of your body and mind that needs extra attention.
Don’t worry if all this chakra talk isn’t your thing. Allie also hosts plenty of videos for morning and bedtime practices, dynamic vinyasa flows, fitness-based yoga, as well as gentle and restorative classes.
This Texas-based YouTube channel brings together a collection of yogi from around the area — which makes this a great channel for those who are not ready to commit to just one instructor or style.
More instructors mean
s more variety. There are yoga videos for practitioners of all levels, and for different body parts and different goals. Pain management, workout, meditation? Check, check, and check. If you’re hoping to stick to a routine or a program, YogaTX can help you with that as well — just check out one of their series. (The video here is from its “yoga connection” series.) The yogis who manage the channel also upload videos weekly, so there are plenty of options.