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The Future Of Online Yoga

Feb 6, 2008
We've all felt the guilt. We know how good yoga feels. We know we need to exercise more. We know we be happier if we got fit and de-stressed. But then it comes time to go to the yoga studio, and we don't.

Why? Because there is no one to watch the kids? Because there is no time for an hour long class and commute? There is always an excuse.

Part of the problem is that, as much as we love yoga, yoga studios themselves are not always what they are cracked up to be. The fact is that studio classes are expensive and, unless you have free time to burn, out of reach of many people. Newcomers often say they feel lost in classes that are geared to the higher skill levels of more frequent visitors. Or they worry about other students judging their bodies or their skill. For as egalitarian as yoga should be, the yoga studio can be a daunting place.

Online yoga is increasingly being seen as an alternative and a cure for these studio shortcomings. And the yoga studios are figuring it out. Every day it seems another yoga studio starts a website seeking to extend its reach into cyberspace. Some sites offer written instruction. Most offer video programs of their yogis' most popular classes, which can range from simple hand-drawn animations to high-definition video. Some of these videos are such high production value that they look like something out of Hollywood!

But videos are not where online yoga sets itself apart. After all, you have been able to buy a yoga video and watch it on your TV for at least a decade now. Where online yoga is making real strides is where it takes advantage of the power of its medium. The internet is a dynamic, fluid place where sites and experiences change on a daily basis in response to their users' choices. Your online yoga class should be the same way.

Guided Yoga is one of the online yoga sites that has transcended video. It was developed by a team of yogis and programmers, and allows you to control the difficulty of your yoga class and the length of the class down to the minute. It uses an algorithm to search through hundreds of poses to put together yoga classes that are personalized to your preferences. The yoga classes it creates are always different--there are literally thousands of possible classes for each length and level of difficulty.

In an ideal world, we might all have the luxury of a studio yoga class every day. After all, there is no substitute for a knowledgeable yogi helping you into a new position. But for most of us, we have neither the time nor money for that level of personal attention on a daily basis, and online yoga makes for a great way to keep up your practice between studio visits. Although online yoga is still in its infancy, it already makes a great complement to a studio class.

Online yoga is the alternative that many people have been waiting for. The online yoga sites are now sophisticated enough that everyone from beginners to experts can find a good class. It's time to get over the guilt and jumpstart your yoga practice today!
About the Author
Ashley Hecht is one of the founders of Guided Yoga ( www.guidedyoga.com), an online yoga studio bringing personalized yoga classes to aspiring yogis of all skill levels, and dedicated to improving the quality of the online yoga experience. CONTACT: ashley@guidedyoga.com http://www.guidedyoga.com
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