I read about yogaglo on EcoYogini’s blog at just the perfect time. I was in the middle of a yoga slump, and tempted by the thought of quitting the gym. Introducing: yogaglo! For all of your practice-at-home needs! (enough links for you, there?)
So far, I give yogaglo an A+.
For those of you who don’t know, the yogaglo studio is located in Santa Monica, California. It’s a real live yoga studio with real live teachers and real live people of all levels who come in to practice. The only difference is, there’s a small camera in the back of the studio that records each class. About 24-48 hours after a class concludes, it gets posted on the website.
For $18 a month (or one and a half classes at the fancy studio in my area), you have unlimited access to the classes they post. You can take as many as you want, at any time of day. Classes are organized by teacher, style, level (1, 2, and 3), duration (from 5 minutes to 125 minutes), and category.
The advantages and disadvantages of yogaglo are closely intertwined with the advantages and disadvantages of a home practice. But since I began both at the same time, they have become one and the same for me, so I’m going to review them together here.
I think the main advantage of practicing at home is the lack of inhibition. I feel like I can take more risks in the comfort of my own home, whereas in a studio I might be too afraid of losing my balance, or just looking weird in the pose. I also talk out loud to myself and to the instructors, which is kind of funny. Usually, my hubby is in the next room writing, and I think he gets a kick out of my commentary.
Another advantage: yogaglo has LOTS of variety. They have so many different instructors and styles that I feel like I can practice for months without repeating a class unless I want to. I have been doing primarily 30-minute sessions, and they have a limited number of classes that are only 30 minutes. But I have gotten into mixing and matching classes: a 10 minute Vinyasa warmup and a 20 minute Anusara class. A 5 minute “yoga at work” stretch and a 25 minute Vinyasa class. The classes with shorter durations are almost always selections from 60 or 90-minute classes, and I applaud the site’s administrators for pulling out the warm ups and cool downs as separate sessions. People like me really appreciate that!
In one way, having the teacher in a tiny version on the laptop is actually preferable to being in a studio: you can move the teacher around! It’s awesome! If my laptop is in standard “class format” in front of me, and I know we’re going to be working on shoulderstands, I just move the computer right up by my head. No more craning awkwardly around my own body to see the instructor. Very cool and, if you pardon the lit-geek part of me, postmodern!
There are some cool things customizable to an account. Yogaglo donates 5% of their profits to non-profits, and I can choose which of the three I want my dues to benefit (they hope to add more organizations later on). Also, the account is portable. If I go visit my parents or am staying with a friend, I just find a computer with internet access and log in, and there’s my studio. They also have a commitment section, where it automatically logs your yogaglo hours, and you can log how much you practice elsewhere. They have a visual representation of a flower that “glows” when you reach 3.5 hours a week.
Of course, practicing at home also has its disadvantages. I feel much more prone to distraction than when I’m in a studio. While lying in savasana, I’m more likely to notice things like the paint job in the yoga room, the sound of the washer stopping, my cell phone buzzing in the other room, an errant toenail that’s annoying me. And there’s no one around to be annoyed when I stop the class to answer the phone (which I haven’t done yet, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time).
I also feel pretty distracted just by having my laptop there with me. My laptop does not represent yoga – it represents email, facebook, and other compulsive time-wasters. If I’m not feeling engaged or challenged, it’s easy to wonder about my inbox in the meantime. I don’t like this technologically obsessed side of me, but it’s there, so I’m accepting it.
Of course, the main disadvantage to any home practice is the chance that you’re settling into bad habits. It’s always good to visit a studio now and then to have someone keep an eye on your alignment!
For those who are interested, here is a complete list of categories offered by yogaglo:
108 Sun Salutations
Advanced Practice Anusara
Advanced Practice Vinyasa
Sun Salutation Series
With Live Music
Yoga at Work