Yesterday, I wrote about my budget lessons from 2011, and one of the money-saving tips I included was my now-monthly membership to Yogaglo, in place of attending yoga classes at a studio. I’m loving this site for a number of reasons, beyond the more than 1,000 classes now online. Here’s why:


It’s cheap: For $18 a month, you’d only need to take one yoga class at home a month to make it worth your financial while (yoga classes around me cost about $15-$20).


It’s greener: Unless you walk or ride your bike to yoga class, you are likely using fossil fuels to get to class, but not when you practice at home.


You pick the time and type of class: Yogaglo has classes as short at 10 minutes, and as long as 120. There are 30-minute morning classes to help you wake up, 20-minute long sessions to relax before bed, pre-natal, meditation, travel, partner and immune and styles from vinyasa to ashtanga to hatha and yin. Sometimes I do a 20-minute morning class and a longer evening class on the same day, or I go for a long run, and then do a stretching routine afterwards. Sometimes a 45-minute class is all I can fit in. 


It’s as portable as a laptop: I can do a class at home, in a hotel room, or at my boyfriend’s place. I’m looking forward to doing classes in my backyard as soon as it warms up again (or on a particularly warm, sunny winter day).


You’re never late: I have a problem with being on time, but with a class that I can do where and when I want, and at odd hours (I often do a class at 11 p.m.), I never have to stress about getting to the yoga studio on time — or early so I get a good spot.


Privacy: I don’t particularly like group activities; there’s a reason I never played on sports teams growing up and competed in horseback riding and swimming instead. No farting, no weird smells coming from the yogi next to you, no guy behind you staring at your butt, and if you want, you can wear skimpy, ugly or fun yoga outfits you might feel weird walking down the street in. Or you can do some naked yoga!


No guilt: I’ve left yoga classes in the middle because I didn’t like them, but then you’re out of your money and time. I’ve started several classes on yogaglo that I didn’t like. With just a couple of clicks, I’m off on another class that is what I need.


No overheating: I have a major problem with the heat levels of most yoga classes. Many teachers seem to think that a hot room makes for a better yoga practice, and indeed, many people seem to enjoy sweating profusely even when they’re not working that hard. I get really grumpy when I get overheated, and especially in the winter, when I live in relatively cool temps (I set my house to 64 or lower), it feels really unhealthy to be exercising in the 85-degree rooms that are common even among non-Bikram classes.


No annoying teachers: It’s a painful process when you realize 10 minutes into a class that, for whatever reason, your yoga teacher irritates you more than your best friend’s little brother used to when he would poke you repeatedly for fun. I find many yoga teachers difficult to listen to, while others have a less-than-helpful teaching style. I thrive on lots of specific instruction and positive, but not sticky-sweet encouragement. Using yogaglo means I can turn off a teacher if I don’t like him or her, or search for those teachers I do gel with. Yoga teachers are just people after all, and you can’t be expected to like all of them.


Teacher variety: You can practice with a huge variety of yoga instructors (16 regulars and plenty more guest teachers), and there are even some of the more famous teachers regularly updating the site with new classes. Try practicing with yoginis you may have heard of like Elena Brower and Seane Corn and see for yourself if they live up to the hype.


No touching: In the past, I’ve received some great adjustments from yoga teachers, and you certainly won’t get that at home, which could definitely be seen as a downside to practicing at home to a recorded class. But I’ve also had not-great adjustments, and where I am with my practice, I don’t like the idea of anyone forcing my body any further than where I am presently. So these days, I don’t really like to be adjusted, and it’s a relief not to have to make a big deal out of telling the teacher "hands off." Plenty of people don’t like to be touched, and paranoia about this has kept more than one person I know from trying yoga at all.


Go at your own pace: Unlike a class that keeps moving, with recorded classes you can pause and repeat a specific move, or do a favorite part of class twice just because you like it. You can skip over what you don’t like or want to do that day (like inversions when you’re menstruating), or skip or add to savasana or meditation. 


No chanting or lectures: So far, only the meditation classes on yogaglo seem to come with any kind of message or preachery. There's deep breathing, and some Oms, but not much more. As an atheist, I don't really like spiritual messages with my exercise, and feel that I can benefit from yoga and meditation in my own, non-god-centered way. I respect those who practice yoga as a spiritual tradition, but it's not really my cup of tea (kind of like how I like to celebrate Christmas in a totally secular way). It's always a bit frustrating to me to be surprised by a lengthy lecture and/or chanting when I've come to a yoga class for a good stretch and to relax my mind. Again, I understand that yoga comes from a more religious background, but then again, so did most music and art, and times change. 


MNN homepage photo: Shutterstock

Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

Sick of the expense and annoyances of yoga class, but still love yoga? Try Yogaglo!
This online service is all about giving your practice what you need, and nothing you don't want.