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Inspiring Yoga Videos on YouTube

Updated on September 24, 2015

Yoga Videos That Have Inspired Me

There are thousands of yoga videos online, on YouTube and other websites. Some are inspiring, some are funny, many are not particularly well-done and some are just plain weird.

Here are a few of my favorites, mostly found on YouTube, but a couple from other sites. They've all impressed me or inspired me in some way. I'm an Iyengar Yoga teacher and student, so most my selection is related to Iyengar Yoga.

Some people comment that these types of demonstrations are really anti-yoga -- that it is egotistical to perform for others. But I look at these demonstrations as ways to inspire people and to encourage them to practice more.

The practice of yoga is not just learning and doing the asanas (postures), but it's a good start. Practicing the asanas starts to develop our awareness so that we can learn to be more fully present in each moment.

Image from The Body is My Temple, Asanas Are My Prayers on YouTube

Inspirational, Instructional

Yoga is a very important part of my life! I've been practicing and taking Iyengar Yoga classes since 1993, and teaching since 1999. I love sharing with other people, including my yoga students, why this practice is so special to me.

I share articles that I think are important and useful, images that inspire, and videos that I think are well-done and reflect what I think is important about this life-enhancing practice.

The videos I include here are those that inspire me to study and practice yoga more. Some showcase what B.K.S. Iyengar was able to do as a young man, and throughout his life. He passed away on August 20, 2014 at age 95.(You can see a couple of photos of him from January 2013 on Andy Richter's blog).

A couple of the selections here are of Iyengar Yoga practitioners who have their own life challenges, included Matthew Sanford, who is a paraplegic, and Garth McLean, who manages his multiple sclerosis with the practice of yoga. Both are certified teachers in the Iyengar tradition.

I included the others because they are beautiful to watch, or instructive for people wanting to learn more.

Iyengar and Krishnamacharya in 1938

B.K.S. Iyengar was 20 years old here. Krishnamacharya was his brother-in-law, and his yoga teacher. B.K.S. Iyengar went to live with his sister and brother-in-law when he was 15 years old. Krishnamacharya ran a yoga school in the palace of Mysore. Do you notice that he's practicing on a rug, and not a yoga mat. Our "modern" yoga mat wouldn't be invented until much, much later!

B.K.S. Iyengar Practicing at Age 73

This video is taken in 1991, when B.K.S. Iyengar was 73. The video is a little jumpy around the 1 minute mark, but impressive nevertheless. (Does anyone know what kind of bird is singing at 1:41?? -- I studied in Pune for a month a few years ago, and heard it everyday, but couldn't figure out what the bird looked like....)

Guruji is 94 now (2013), and still has a good practice, although with much more support. (Yoga poses can be practiced in some form for most people of any age!) He continues to practice backbends to keep his spine supple and his chest open. This keeps him young!

The Body Is My Temple, Asanas Are My Prayers

This is currently my favorite short video about B.K.S. Iyengar. It's a compilation of his demonstrations at different stages of his life, from age 20 through his 70's (or 80's?). The accompanying music is gorgeous!

Matthew Sanford - Yoga and Disabilities

Matthew Sanford was paralyzed from the chest down after a devastating car accident when he was 13. When he was 25 he took his first yoga class. Now he is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher and he works both with able-bodied yoga students and those with disabilities.

More Reading About Matthew Sanford

You may be interested in reading:

Also read his book Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence

Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence
Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence

This book is about Matthew's life as a paraplegic, after an accident when he was 13. It talks about his intensive care experiences after the accident, his introduction to yoga,and eventually becoming a yoga teacher, and his exploration of what it truly means to live in a body.

 

Courage and Caution -- Battle with MS

This is a profile of Garth McLean, a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996. He manages his disease through the practice of Iyengar yoga. His results are probably not typical, but it does show how powerful the practice of Iyengar yoga can be to help us maintain our health. Very inspiring story!

Glenn Ceresoli -- Senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher

These two videos are from a demonstration thay senior Iyengar yoga teacher Glenn Ceresoli gave at a New Zealand Hindu conference in 2008. He starts with simpler variations and moves into more and more difficult and complex poses. His control is awesome!

Patricia Walden - Senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher

Patricia Walden is one of the top two certified Iyengar Yoga teachers in the United States (the other is Manouso Manos), and she's well-respected throughout the international Iyengar Yoga community. She is known in part for the elegance and ease in which she does backbending poses, as shown here in this lovely video.

This video was made recently, and Patricia Walden is in her early 60's now. She's an inspiration anyone who practices yoga, and I'd say especially to those of us who are also in the second half of our lives.

Yoga Videos for Your Own Practice

Featuring Patricia Walden

These two videos are good for starting your own yoga practice, or for taking your practice to a deeper level. They're older videos, but continue to be excellent.

Basic Iyengar Yoga Poses - Instructions by John Schumacher, Senior Iyengar Yoga teacher

One aspect of Iyengar yoga that I appreciate is the beauty of a well-executed pose -- it becomes a work of art. The poses in these videos form strong geometrical shapes with clean crisps lines showing the extension of the arms, legs, and trunk.

John Schumacher of Unity Woods Yoga gives good clear instructions for coming into these poses. At the beginning of each video, he talks a little about Iyengar yoga and it's focus on learning precise alignment in the poses, thus turning the practice into a meditation in action.

These are just two of the 10 or so instructional videos that he has on YouTube.

Yoga: The Iyengar Way - by Silva Mehta, Mira Mehta, and Shyam Mehta

This book is the one I most recommend to my students. It has good, clear instructions and large well-detailed photos for the basic poses (as shown in the John Schumacher videos above) as well as for more difficult poses.

Ana Forrest Demo -- Forrest Yoga - Yoga Journal Conference

Ana Forrest is not an Iyengar Yoga teacher, although I think her earlier yoga background was in this system.

The first time I became aware of Anawas in a Yoga Journal calendar. She was doing the arm balance Firefly Pose -- I remember her toes were spread, looking like stubby little wings. I was very impressed with this strong woman!

I took a class from her during the first Annual Midwest Yoga Conference, which was in Ann Arbor MI (where I live), and sat behind her and her assistant in another class I took. To me she embodies the warrior side of yoga! If I had not already chosen to study the Iyengar yoga method, I would've considered studying with her.

Learn with Ana Forrest

Strength & Spirit/Embodying Spirit (combo DVD)
Strength & Spirit/Embodying Spirit (combo DVD)

This is a two DVD combo -- "Strength and Spirit" is a good thorough yoga workout for beginners and intermediate students. Variations are shown to take into account the difference in experience levels. "Embodying Spirit" is a demonstration DVD to inspire. It shows Ana going through advanced poses with strength and grace. I have this combo, and think it's an excellent representation of her classes and her demonstrations.

 

Ashtanga Yoga Demo

Ashtanga yoga is a "sibling" of Iyengar yoga. Both B.K.S. Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois (Ashtanga yoga) were students of Krishnamacharya.

What impresses me about this demo is how the practitioners float in their jumpings. They have strong, beautiful poses.

What's Your Favorite Yoga Video?

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    • KarenHC profile image
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      Karen 3 years ago from U.S.

      @TerriCarr: I'm intrigued by Shiva Rea -- I took one workshop class from her years ago at a yoga conference, and what she does is so very different than what I practice. I'd enjoy seeing more of what she does though.

    • TerriCarr profile image

      TerriCarr 3 years ago

      Anything by Shiva Rea is usually pretty good. I like her Yoga Shakti DVD.

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 3 years ago from U.S.

      @pjsart: From the YouTube page - (Jarvis Chen, btw, is an excellent yoga teacher)

      Music: Mere Gurudev. Musicians: Cecily Palzewicz (voice), Mihal Palzewicz (cello), Jarvis Chen (piano). Part of a film tribute to BKS Iyengar shown during his 2005 Light On Life tour of the United States.

      Words: Traditional

      Music: Krishna Das

      Arrangement: Jarvis Chen and Michal Palzewicz

    • pjsart profile image

      pjsart 3 years ago

      Thanks for this collection...I love The Body is My Temple, (does anyone know what the music is?)but all these are inspiring. I think teaching Yoga is a great gift to the world so I made a lens about it. I posted a video of a lady in her 90's who is still teaching. I am a great grandmother and still going strong..hope to make it into my eighties in good shape,lo Hope you will look at my lens.https://hubpages.com/health/teaching-yoga-and-medi...

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 5 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      wonderful topic and great vid collection. informative lens.

    • Monika Weise profile image

      Monika Weise 5 years ago from Indianapolis, IN USA

      Thanks to leading me to all these yoga videos! Great lens.

    • profile image

      maryctucker 6 years ago

      It's really good stuff.Good explaining also.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great selection of Yoga videos ~ LOL at the "inappropriate Yoga guy". **Lucky Leprechaun Blessing**

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 6 years ago from U.S.

      @cbessa: Happy to oblige :-)

    • cbessa profile image

      cbessa 6 years ago

      Thanks for some more inspirations to win my lazyness. :-)

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 6 years ago

      Nice to have a list of free yoga videos to watch, recommended by a yoga teacher. That's great, thanks!

    • WritingforYourW profile image

      WritingforYourW 6 years ago

      Nice videos to check out. I never thought of looking up yoga on YouTube!

    • profile image

      jameswill2010 6 years ago

      Even a good Yoga Video can inspire to practice yoga.Thanks to the technology and video sites there are plenty of good Yoga Videos available online where a person can visit and learn yoga.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Very informative, I really should learn more about yoga, thank you.

    • profile image

      jameswill2010 6 years ago

      It is much easier ti start practicing yoga bu simply watching yoga videos on sites like YouTube.There are tonnes of Yoga DVD readily available online which are prepared by expert yoga trainers.

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 6 years ago from Croatia

      Excellent resource for anyone interested in yoga!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Uh-oh...I'm feeling particularly inflexible at the moment! To be as graceful as some of those demonstrators would be amazing. My sister has done yoga for several years and you can really see a change in how she carries herself. I'd love to give it a try. The videos were so impressive!

    • burgessvillian profile image

      burgessvillian 7 years ago

      This is a nice site on yoga. I might give it a try for flexibility.

      Here is a video that I like for beginners

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91XCFbT9pt8

    • profile image

      QueSea 7 years ago

      Great selection of videos. I studied Hatha Yoga at the Self-Realization Fellowship in San Diego and at Siddha Yoga Ashram in Oakland. Hatha is a very effective way to develop resilience. 5*s

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 7 years ago from U.S.

      @theprettygirls: A good place to start is checking to see if there are yoga classes offered by a local Community Rec. place or a YMCA/YWCA. I got started at our local YMCA -- good teachers, relatively inexpensive classes. Good luck!

    • profile image

      theprettygirls 7 years ago

      like your lens.. want to start but don't know from where to start. :)

    • MoonMaa profile image

      MoonMaa 7 years ago

      I really like your lens. I have just started doing my yoga again.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Try YogaVibes.com.

      Ana Forrest has contributed many of her DVDs to this site so people can stream them cheaper than buying them. Many other amazing teachers.

    • clemency lm profile image

      clemency lm 7 years ago

      Lovely lens, very inspiring. Congratulations of LOTD, 5*****

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 7 years ago

      Wonderful lens! The videos you have featured inspired me to do yoga. Congratulations on becoming the LOTD! 5*

    • profile image

      PamelaLough 7 years ago

      What a great idea and fantastic lens! You deserve LOTD.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Congratulations on this wonderful lens. I've been doing yoga since I was a teenager. 5 Stars!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      Wonderful lens on a great subject. Congrats on LOTD

      Norma

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 7 years ago from U.S.

      Thank you to all of you for your comments and for viewing this lens. I'm really amazed that it's been named LOTD, and am still laughing about it :-)

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 7 years ago from U.S.

      @Gumby44: You're right in that sometimes people who are new to yoga will see these videos and decide not to try a class since they know they'll never be able to move their body that way. But the videos are also great ways to inspire people to try yoga, as long as they know they won't be expected to do these bizarre pretzel poses in a beginning class. Yes, indeed, yoga classes can range from very gentle to very rigourous. Thanks for your comments!

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 7 years ago from U.S.

      @rasik-life: Yes, it's a great title -- it's very poetic and I like the sentiment.

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 7 years ago from U.S.

      @Geeve: Thanks for lensrolling it! I'll definitely check out your Mantra of Compassion once I get over the giddiness of LOTD :-)

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 7 years ago from U.S.

      @Lavonsquid: I do like Rodney Yee's videos -- he has a strong background in Iyengar Yoga, but has taken his own path. He teaches with clarity and conscientiousness from what I've seen.

    • profile image

      Gumby44 7 years ago

      This is a great lens and I enjoyed watching the videos. Although I am not a teacher, I have been practicing yoga on and off for many years. I began practicing as part of my recovery from a breakdown. It helped me to get in touch with my true self and find that serene place inside of myself so that I could recover and remain grounded. The only thing I don't like about some of the Iyengar videos is that the man is like a rubber band and sadly - those who have never tried yoga, think these types of poses are what they'll be required to do if they attend a yoga class and so never try it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yoga can be a rigourous or as gentle as you want it to be and it depends on the teacher as well as the class level that you attend. Definitely start with a beginner's class and see if you don't fall in love with yoga like so many others have.

    • profile image

      Gumby44 7 years ago

      This is a great lens and I enjoyed watching the videos. Although I am not a teacher, I have been practicing yoga on and off for many years. I began practicing as part of my recovery from a breakdown. It helped me to get in touch with my true self and find that serene place inside of myself so that I could recover and remain grounded. The only thing I don't like about some of the Iyengar videos is that the man is like a rubber band and sadly - those who have never tried yoga, think these types of poses are what they'll be required to do if they attend a yoga class and so never try it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yoga can be a rigourous or as gentle as you want it to be and it depends on the teacher as well as the class level that you attend. Definitely start with a beginner's class and see if you don't fall in love with yoga like so many others have.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Congratulations on your LOTD! - Kathy

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 7 years ago

      great LOTD! 5*... love these exercises, so healthy for you...thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 7 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! I'm glad that yoga is getting this kind of attention. You have obviously put a lot of thought into these videos. A great selection.

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 7 years ago from Chicago area

      don't know much about yoga, but one of my kids is getting pretty good at it! nice job and congrats!

    • profile image

      rasik-life 7 years ago

      i liked this title.. 'The Body Is My Temple, Asanas Are My Prayers'

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Congratulations on your LOTD. A fascinating lens too. Thank you :D

    • profile image

      Geeve 7 years ago

      Great lens Kajohu, 5* and lensrolled to my Mantra of Compassion. It features the singing of Dechen Shak-D and I think you will like her rendition of this mantra.

    • Lavonsquid profile image

      Lavonsquid 7 years ago

      Hello, I am considering purchasing Robert Yee's DVD's on Yoga. What do you think of his teachings, since no doubt you are familiar with this expert Yoga instructor?

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 7 years ago

      Excellent resource for Yoga videos and well deserved LotD. Congratulations!

    • greenerme profile image

      greenerme 7 years ago

      You've put a lot of work into this. Congratulations on a well deserved LOTD!

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 7 years ago from U.S.

      @anonymous: Thanks, Felicity! Both of the videos you mention are good! I've never tried Bikram yoga but a couple of my students also take Bikram classes and they love it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Oh and...Congrats on LOTD : ) Namaste!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I love your lens...5* and definitely a favorite. I have 2 videos that others may like. The first is for kids and the second is about my favorite yoga - Bikram Yoga.

      Yoga Kids 3: Silly to Calm http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1X8M-3OQU8k

      Bikram Yoga http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maV2InOTsOc

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 7 years ago from U.S.

      @aka-rms: Thanks! I'm pretty tickled about it! It was a really fun lens to "research".

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 7 years ago from USA

      Congratulations on LotD!

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      fantastic variety of yoga videos.

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 7 years ago from Western Mass

      awesome lens - i can't wait to watch them all!

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