With the soaring cost of yoga studio memberships and the ready availability of free yoga videos, it’s no wonder that online yoga classes are becoming more popular than ever. They’re easy to access, cheap, and can be done from the comfort of your own home. But can online yoga really replace a live class? YouTube Yoga: The Good One of the best resources for free online classes is YouTube. With just a click of the mouse, you can be streaming a class in no time. The biggest perk of these online videos is that they’re completely free. Sure, you might have to wait through an ad at the start of the video, or deal with a couple of annoying pop-ups while you’re stretching it out, but it’s a small price to pay for an otherwise free workout. You can also choose whichever type of class you’d like. Want to chill out with a gentle stretch? There’s a video (or two hundred) for that. Rather sweat it out with intense flow? Go for it. You can even search for classes that tone or relieve pain in a specific area of the body. And if you start streaming and you’re not feeling the class, you can easily turn it off and try another one. Finally, some people might find it intimidating to go to a yoga class if they’ve never done it before. It might even stop them from trying yoga altogether. Starting with a home practice can be a good way to get comfortable with the movements before heading out to a live class. The Downsides Of Online Classes That said, online yoga doesn’t offer all the benefits of a live class. One of the biggest downsides is not having an instructor in the room with you. A yoga teacher’s job isn’t simply to model the poses for you. He or she should also be walking around the room, adjusting your positioning, and ensuring that you’re doing poses properly. If you’re doing a yoga class at home, you miss out on these adjustments. You could even be injuring yourself by doing a pose incorrectly and not even realize it. If you’re brand new to yoga, you might consider going to a regular class the first few times. That way you can get the hang of the basics before diving into your home practice. There are plenty of classes for newbies that offer support and modifications to ensure that no injuries (or embarrassment) occur. Plus, many studios offer a free or discounted first class if you’re considering joining up. It’s also important to remember that anyone can upload a video onto YouTube – so make sure that when you are streaming a class, you’re choosing a reputable instructor. Yoga With Adriene and Tara Stiles Yoga are two excellent channels for both beginners and advanced yogis alike. Live Or Online? Both live and online classes can be part of a healthy, thriving yoga practice. But relying on online classes alone probably isn’t the best idea, especially if you’ve never done yoga before. Try to attend regular classes when you can, and save YouTube for the days when you can’t make it to the studio.