One of the loveliest things I have discovered in 2018 has been yoga. I truly began my yoga journey in January, after picking up a bit of a knee niggle/injury from a little bit too much plyometric work in training (the blog post about that can be found here if you want to read more!). I found myself changing my training mindset to focus on what I COULD do, instead of what I couldn’t, and through that positive thinking shift, I found yoga! I had of course done classes before this year, but being very honest, that was a very small number, and I can’t say I had really been hooked by it back then. I used to think it ‘wasn’t for me’, that it was ‘too slow’, ‘kinda just stretching’, and anyway, ‘I’m not flexible’, so therefore I couldn’t really get into it. Right? WRONG. SO. WRONG. What I have since realised is that my headspace just wasn’t ready for the mat – until 2018.
Since January, I have loved every minute of finding my inner yogi. I have tried a whole range of classes, styles of practice, lengths of practice and of course, met a whole new community of teachers and fellow yogis, both in Dublin and the U.K. It has been, and still is, FRICKIN’ FANTASTIC. I found a new community of friends, challenged my body in new ways, and opened my mind to yoga and what it can do for my physical and mental health.
What’s been beyond lovely about this journey is that so many of you have joined me on it. Each time I get asked, either in person or on social media, for advice about how to start a yoga journey, or what classes to try, or where I find my YouTube videos to practice at home, or if someone just messages me to say they tried yoga and loved it, it brings a massive smile to my face. It has shown me that it’s worth sharing my journey with you, because opening my mind to yoga has opened some of yours, for the better!
So this post has been a while coming, and I am so excited to share it. I hope you take something from me sharing my range of YouTube Yoga favourites – and of course, feel free to share yours with me! I’ve chosen the four channels I use the most, and go back to time and time again. I’ve also included a little piece about another favourite way of mine to practise yoga at home (and in a portable fashion at the gym!) using the Asana Cards from Yogaru, AKA Ruth Delahunty, a new friend of mine this year, who is yoga teacher and designer based in Dublin.
Both a total girl crush and yoga teacher favourite of mine, Shona’s YouTube channel, and whole ethos around training, is easily top of this list for me. If you haven’t heard of Shona and The Vertue Method, definitely check her out. I love her emphasis on strength, flexibility and her hilarious obsession with ‘the glutes’! She was at Wellfest this year too, and it was brilliant to be able to do her fantastic glute-destroying workout, as well as totally hilarious! Her yoga flows are a whole range of times and styles – everything from 10 to 60 minutes, and a mix of restorative and strength-building sequences. My personal favourites on her channel is her ’10 Minute Quickies’ which are super speedy ten minute practices that you can literally fit into any part of your day – before or after work, or at the weekend if you just want to get the mat out for a few minutes of ‘you’ time. If you’re a total beginner yogi, Shona also has great short videos illustrating the most common yoga poses to get you started.
Cat’s channel was one I discovered after listening to her being interviewed on the Fit and Fearless Girl Gains podcast, and I’m so glad I did. She’s a yoga teacher and health and fitness blogger, and has an utterly insane amount of yoga video content on YouTube – from specific series like ‘Yoganuary’ to an entire range of ‘Power Yoga’ style flows to more gentle restorative practices, which are all a range of times (anything from 10 to 60 minutes for the most part), you’ll never be stuck for a new video to try! My personal favourites on Cat’s channel are her strength-focused power yoga sequences – they are really challenging (in a very postivie way!), while remaining a nice mix of balance and rest you feel really nourished in mind and body after.
Alo is a total gem. I happened upon it by just googling yoga videos on YouTube based on the style of practice I was feeling on that given day, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Similar to Lululemon, Alo Yoga is a yoga clothing brand, which originated in Los Angeles in 2007. Their YouTube channel is home to an incredible array of flows taught by some of the most influential yogis on that side of the water – as well as some UK yogis too! They have multiple themed series of videos (e.g. a 30 day Spring Reset this year), as well as HIIT Yoga practices (I love these, especially the ones taught by Koya Webb), and longer 30 to 45 to 60 minute sequences. My favourite Alo teachers are Koya Webb, Caley Alyssa and Josh Kramer – their style just fits the balance of physical challenge and nourishment I seek and crave each time I come to the mat.
Finally, an old reliable of mine – Pop Sugar and the fantastic range of content inspired by their female representative, Anna Renderer. Pop-Sugar has some great little yoga flow videos that I actually go back to time and time again – they’re brilliant for both beginner and more intermediate yogis, as there are many regressions and progressions available within each practice for your level of ability. My favourite teacher who has done videos with Pop Sugar has to be Mandy Ingber for this exact reason!
I got to meet Ruth earlier this year, as she was our wise guest speaker for one of our Health Blogger’s Community events. Ruth is a designer, mum and also experience yoga teacher based in Dublin, as well just being an all round lovely person. She has designed her own Asana cards (you can see an example above) which allow you to build your own practise, whether that’s at home or on holiday! She kindly gave me a few to try out myself at Wellfest this year, and I absolutely love having them at home as well as taking them to the gym with me always! It means I can work on my practise or just grab a little flow at the end of a session, and actually, I’ve realised I use the sequences most days now! You can check out sourcing the cards for yourself via the Yogaru website. Ruth also writes for the Wellfest blog, and her sequences feature regularly on Wellfest’s Instagram and Twitter too! It’s my mission this summer to get to one of Ruth’s classes – and you guys know what I’m like when I’m on a mission! Big shout out to Ruth for making such an effort with these beautiful asana cards to make yoga more accessible and simple for people to try at home and away.
Well gang, as they say, namaste! I hope you found this short little guide helpful – I use these four channels time and time again for a flow at home, and I love how it gives me the opportunity to practise anytime of the day. Tag me (@theirishbalance on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook) if you try out one of these channels and of course, leave a comment or DM me on Instagram and let me know what your favourites are!
Ciara 🙂 x