Where to turn for strength, flexibility, and peace of mind
Yoga has saved my life any number of times and in any number of ways. But it’s really important now, as the world enters a crisis situation unlike any seen in human history. Fortunately, yoga is an endlessly adaptable practice. With most people stuck at home for the duration, it already has a strong online presence. Yoga has set itself up to see people through.
On Sunday, I did a yoga practice at home with my regular yoga teacher, streamed via Zoom. A few hardy souls were live in studio, but 47 of us unrolled our mats at home and flowed along. That class was free. Now the studio owner has announced that she’ll be charging full price for subsequent streamed classes. While it’s very important to do your yoga with a trusted teacher who knows your practice, unless you already have a yearly or monthly membership, that could get very expensive, very fast.
Instead, I’ll be turning to Glo.
I have amazing brand loyalty to Glo, despite the fact that I hate its name. It used to call itself YogaGlo, which wasn’t much better. But then they added a meditation component, and then they added Pilates classes, so Glo it became. For $18 a month, less than a single yoga class in most cities, Glo offers thousands of classes from some of the best teachers in the world. And when I mean the best, I really mean the best. The roster is extraordinary: Richard Freeman, Tias Little, Tiffany Cruikshank, Tara Judelle, Jason Crandell, Elena Brower, Stephanie Snyder, Rod Stryker, Kathryn Budig, Annie Carpenter, and that’s just the beginning. The Glo teaching roster is better than anything the Yoga Journal conferences offered at their height, and those things cost hundreds of dollars to hang out in shitty San Francisco hotel basements.
I once did a meditation class with Sally Kempton in a horrible conference room with 200 people. Now I can do it from my couch, by myself, whenever I want. If you sign up for Glo, you can get a full Ashtanga yoga training course from Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor, something I spent thousands of dollars ten years ago. Even if it takes you three months to complete, it will still cost you approximately the price of a Thai takeout meal for two.
Classes on Glo range from anywhere between five minutes and two hours. There are classes for first-timers, and for people who want to do impossible arm balances. They span all the major styles of yoga, from Ashtanga to Iyengar to yin, to kundalini. There are tons of great meditations, including audio-only ones, a full slate of Pilates classes, lectures on the history of Buddhism, and a full training on pranayama, or yogic breathing, from my guru, Richard Freeman. Morons like me have paid thousands to get that training. Now it is as close to free as you can get.
If $18 a month is too much for you to afford, then you’re probably not reading an article on doing online yoga during the Coronavirus anyway. But if that’s the case, Glo has a package of free classes available during the crisis. I particularly recommend the Jason Crandell and Stephanie Snyder exercise ones, and the Felicia Tomasko meditation. But they’re all good. It also offers a free two-week trial.
I know it sounds like I’m a paid employee of the company, but I’m not. I’m just a satisfied client. Since the crisis started, I’ve practiced with Glo every day. Even during more normal times, I do 20 classes a month. I am very picky when it comes to yoga, online or not. And I can say with full certainty that the yoga on Glo is excellent. If they classes were live–and they used to be–Glo would easily be the best yoga studio in the world. It exists largely outside of the terrible scandals that have plagued the yoga world of late, which is a huge relief. Yoga is still a beautiful practice, and there are still many teachers of integrity who can guide you through.
And the best part is, it’s not alone. Yogis Anonymous is a very similar site with an equally impressive array of teachers and great price points. The classes they offer are not my style, but lots of people swear by it. The YouTube channel Yoga With Adriene, offered by my fellow Austin, Texas, resident, has hundreds of thousands of followers. When Adrienne appears in public, she fills ballrooms. You can enjoy practicing with her. Yoga International is also an excellent website, with a full group of dedicated, well-trained teachers.
We’re all going to need to stay fit, balanced, and sane in the months to come. Nothing brings you peace of mind quite like a dedicated, compassionate yoga and meditation practice. I hope you can join me on the mat every day, any time of day that you can. We can get through this calmly and mindfully, with rockin’ abs. Namaste.