It seems online yoga class and video websites are cropping up as quickly as yoga studios did in the 1990′s. It makes sense because online yoga videos via membership websites is a very economical way to distribute yoga content. At the end of the day, users gain access to a great deal of yoga instruction for a very low cost.
However, not all online yoga video websites are created equal. If you’re looking to join such a site, read the following criteria to consider when shopping around.
1. Free is not always best, but it’s best to do a free trial
ALWAYS do a free trial when offered. When doing a free trial, really give the service a run for its money. Try several sessions. Explore the user interface. Connect your computer to your TV to see how it displays on a larger screen.
I’m not aware of any quality free online yoga class websites, but there might be some available. In my experience you get what you pay for and if you’re serious about yoga and joining a high quality online yoga website, I suggest restricting your search to paid versions.
2. Shop around
Seriously, try different online yoga class websites. There are many of them these days.
3. Price is a factor
Most membership yoga websites are priced from $5 to $30 per month. Many offer different pricing packages. Also, most offer a free trial period, which you should take advantage of.
4. Selection, Selection, Selection
There are many aspects to yoga video variety to look for. Consider the following:
- Yoga styles (yin, ashtanga, Iyengar, Hatha, etc.)
- Session duration variety. I like being able to choose a 15 minute session or a monster 90 minute session and all class lengths in between.
- Experience level: Some online yoga websites offer more for beginners, whereas others offer more for advanced yogis.
- Yoga for multiple purposes: I’m referring to being able to find yoga classes for losing weight, back pain, stress relief, runners, core (abs), etc.
5. Video quality
Any online yoga videos website your join should offer videos in High Definition (HD). This is a must so that display and viewing is clear, even when you connect to your television. Grainy viewing is not worth your money (but may be worth a free website).
6. Instruction quality
This is an absolutely critical criterion to carefully consider before handing over your money to an online yoga video website. You want to watch and learn from experienced and talented yoga teachers who put together carefully choreographed sessions that flow nicely.
Quality teaching makes all the difference. Therefore, try different online yoga services to get find the right teaching for you.
FYI: I love doing yoga classes online, but it’s no substitute for live instruction – read this article comparing online yoga routines vs. live, in-studio instruction.
7. User Interface
Tons of content means you need to be able to find it quickly. You want a high quality user interface that makes it easy to find the right yoga sessions for you. Spending 20 minutes looking for a yoga session is a waste of time.
Additional features that make your membership better are:
- Highlighting favorites so you can create a folder or private library of your favorite videos for fast access.
- Search by different taxonomies such as yoga style, teacher, level, alphabetically, yoga class name, purpose of class.
8. Non-yoga content – do you want it?
Some yoga membership sites offer non-yoga content such as class instruction on various philosophies, interviews with prominent yogis, meditation sessions, Pilates. Some sites are a hybrid yoga/fitness site that offer both yoga classes and fitness classes.
Be sure you know what you want. Non-yoga content is not good or bad … it all depends on what you want.
9. Questions to ask the service provider
How long has the service been available? You don’t want to join a “fly-by-night” service. I’m not suggesting they’ll rip you off, but you may join, set up your account and mark your favorite videos only to have the service close down on you.
How many new videos are added each month? I don’t expect a service to add dozens or hundreds of videos each month, but new content should be added regularly.
Are there IP address restrictions? This is important because some membership sites restrict the number of locations from which you can access your website. They do this to prevent members giving access to other people. The downside to IP address restrictions is that if you travel, you won’t be able to access your yoga videos.
Is there a contract? Do not join if you are required to sign a multi-month contract. you membership should be month-to-month.
I’ve been a member of MyYogaOnline for a long time and enjoy their service a great deal. They are online yoga instruction pioneers. Again, be sure to shop around … but if you’re serious about doing yoga, paying for a membership is a great investment.