YouTube Yoga Vs. Studio Yoga: Similarities & Differences

Yoga has spiritual roots in India and is a physical activity that anyone can practice. Research shows that practicing yoga comes with many physical and mental benefits, including increased flexibility, balance, and strength, sharpened mental clarity and concentration, and increased relaxation.

Since about the 2010s, YouTube yoga has been a popular option for those interested in the practice. This at-home version of yoga saw a surge in popularity during COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns.

In fact, many practices and therapies moved online at that time and remain popular now, including online addiction treatment and other mental health services, such as therapy. Some people simply feel more comfortable seeking health services from home. Others use these services when they are traveling or otherwise unable to visit a physical office or center.

When it comes to yoga, both in-studio and online practices provide similar benefits, but there are also important distinctions between the two.

In-Studio Vs. YouTube Yoga Similarity 1: Physical and Mental Benefits

Whether you practice yoga on your mat at home or in a studio, you’ll generally receive the same plentiful physical and mental benefits.

Research shows that regular yoga practice can help reduce stress, boost energy levels, improve mood, and provide more restful sleep. In addition to increasing strength, flexibility, and balance, yoga improves joint function and health, which can help combat the number one cause of disability in the U.S.: arthritis. There are also studies linking yoga with improved heart and circulatory health, improved immune function, and more.

In-Studio Vs. YouTube Yoga Similarity 2: Lineage and Style

You can be just as selective when choosing your lineage or style of yoga at a studio as you can be on YouTube. Some of the most popular styles include Iyengar yoga, hatha yoga, Jivamukti yoga, Ashtanga yoga, restorative yoga, and hot yoga. 

The teachers who originated these styles all had a somewhat different approach in mind. Some styles are more physical, while others focus more on mental or even spiritual aspects. Research to find the best practice for you, and don’t be shy about giving several types a try to find the best fit.

In-Studio Vs. YouTube Yoga Similarity 3: Class Type

There are also many different yoga class types to consider for both online and in-studio practices. This includes classes specifically for kids, seniors, new moms, people in wheelchairs, athletes, and other categories.

Many online and in-studio yoga teachers will ask their students for suggestions for class topics and then build classes around them. This might be classes for very specific conditions, such as yoga for back pain or yoga for people who sit at work all day, or specific outcomes, such as yoga for improved sleep or yoga for stress management.  

In-Studio Vs. YouTube Yoga Difference 1: Instruction

The main difference between in-studio and online yoga is probably the level and quality of instruction provided. This isn’t to say that online teachers aren’t as good or as qualified but that a teacher who can see you and see what you’re doing will be able to provide more specific cues and adjustments.

A yoga studio teacher will also very likely be able to develop a more solid relationship with you, knowing and understanding your limits, preferences, challenges, strengths, and more. They can help you know when to push yourself and when to lay off. 

In-Studio Vs. YouTube Yoga Difference 2: Community

The opportunity to belong to a community of yoga practitioners is another benefit that studios are better at providing than YouTube channels are. Gathering with like-minded individuals in community has mental health benefits such as providing purpose, support, and a sense of belonging.

Although some online yoga teachers have become quite adept at creating a sense of community for their students, nothing beats practicing together in the same room, at the same time, with the same teacher and students. There are opportunities to connect and chat before and after class, and even sometimes a few moments during class as well – or, at least, chances to catch your neighbor’s eye during a particularly challenging pose and smile or make faces.

In-Studio Vs. YouTube Yoga Difference 3: Dedicated Space

Having a space that is dedicated solely to your yoga practice is a huge benefit that yoga studios provide. Not everyone has a yoga room or even a yoga space that they can dedicate to their practice.

Having a place to go to for yoga only can help strengthen your practice by making it more special. Yoga studios often carefully consider things like lighting, noise level, room temperature, props, and adequate space so that you can focus on your practice and not be distracted. The studio then becomes a place where growth and healing can more readily happen.

In Conclusion

To paraphrase the yoga masters, some yoga is better than no yoga. If all you have access to is YouTube yoga, that’s perfectly fine. Those who are just starting out or looking to deepen their yoga practice would probably benefit more from going to a studio, but price and other factors can prohibit this. Find what works for you and be open to trying new things as you progress. 

Happy practicing, and namaste.

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