Yoga might not be for everyone, but those suffering from anxiety and depression have often found comfort from practicing this centuries-old tradition of easing the mind and body. That’s why we believe that the tools to practice yoga should be accessible to everyone, especially those looking to practice yoga for anxiety relief.
But yoga can be pricey: you’ve got to get the classes, the clothes, the gear. But it doesn’t have to be. Most yogis will tell you how to adapt household items for most of the yoga gear, like a scarf for a yoga strap, or a rolled towel for a yoga roll. You don’t have to have the trendiest, most chic yoga clothes to practice yoga in the privacy of your own home. And even the most popular yoga instructors offer some instruction online for free.
Each of these entries features a free yoga practice from the best-known yogis on YouTube, and most give details about how to join each yogi’s subscription program to practice yoga regularly. We did our best with this list to focus on basic, beginner, and morning classes. Check out each yogi’s page or website for more information, deeper learning, or more demanding yoga practices.
Here’s our top 10 favorites with a bit of commentary. Which one of these relaxing yoga practices will work best for you?
(1) Yoga with Kassandra— Morning Yoga Full Body Stretch (10 min.)
Kassandra has dozens of free training sessions available for free both on her website, and on her YouTube page. Her most popular training, “Morning Yoga Full Body Stretch,” has close to 21 million views. She writes, “This sequence will relieve aches, pains and stiffness that are so common in the morning. This is a beginner friendly class that I hope you will enjoy! If you have flexibility goals, this is a great class to do on a regular basis to improve hip and hamstring mobility as well as deeper backbends and shoulder flexibility.”
Like most of the instructors in this list, Kassandra offers paid training as well—everything from “Yoga for Insomnia” to yoga instructor lessons. YouTube commenter Claravian writes, “This was my first time doing yoga, not only my body feels lighter now, the sense of accomplishment from actually finishing this 10-minute yoga session feels great too. Maybe I didn’t get all the poses right, but I'm gonna keep doing this every morning until I'm ready for more complex poses and longer sessions.”
(2) Yoga with Adrienne— Full Body Flow (20 mins.)
I have friends who talk about Adrienne Mishler as though they were her besties who had a standing monthly brunch date. Adrienne is mainstream and popular for those who practice yoga, and she has whipped through my friend group like a pop culture windstorm. Most of my friends subscribe to her paid programming called “Find What Feels Good,” but Adrienne also offers tons of free practices on YouTube. It doesn’t hurt that her adorable pooch, Benji, makes guest appearances on occasion.
Adrienne has a whole line of merchandise available from clothing, to jewelry, to a line of shirts featuring Benji. FWFG has over 700 videos available online that you can access for $99.99/year. There’s a 7-day free trial available. “It's funny how someone I have never met before has such an impact on me,” says YouTube commenter Luka. Trust me, I’ve heard enough about Adrienne to know that’s true.
(3) Yoga with Sarah Beth— Monday Morning Vinyasa Yoga Routine (15 mins.)
This video is from Sarah Beth’s “7-day Yoga Challenge,” but it is just one of many offerings that Sarah Beth has for anyone looking to practice yoga. It is “a gentle vinyasa flow, which means we'll use a repetitive one breath, one movement to massage your muscles loose,” she says. Most of the free videos on her YouTube channel range from 5 to 30 minutes, but she does have a few longer ones. You can also find 45 to 90-minute yoga classes, daily yoga calendars, and all video downloads in the SarahBethYoga app which requires membership at $248/ per year.
A commenter named Michelle says about this particular YouTube video on Sarah's page: “Your yoga is the only yoga I do. I've been doing it for months now and every time I try someone else, I just have to go back to yours. I can do your yoga without looking at the screen. You are so good with directions and your pace is perfect.”
(4) Lululemon— 15 Minute Desk Stretches with Derek Waddy (15 min.)
They sold you your yoga pants, now work with their brand ambassadors on your yoga poses. The Vancouver-based lifestyle brand Lululemon was founded in 1998 as a retailer of yoga pants and other yoga gear. The Lululemon company has since expanded to sell a variety of athletic wear, including performance shirts, shorts, and pants. They also sell lifestyle apparel and yoga accessories.1
These desk stretches with Derek from Miami are a nice way to break up your workday, and get your blood flowing after hours of being hunched over a computer screen. It can also help with stress management if it's been a rough day! Of course, if you don’t have your own office, it could get a little awkward to practice yoga at your desk unless some of your coworkers decide to join in. All of these stretches can be performed while sitting.
The Lululemon YouTube channel also houses lifestyle videos with tips on shopping, product reviews, non-yoga related exercises, and customer testimonials.
(5) Alo Yoga— 15-Minute Gentle Morning Flow with Action Jacquelyn (15 min.)
Alo Yoga has almost 420 thousand subscribers and features videos with a handful of different instructors. According to the description on Alo's YouTube page, they describe their channel as, "Mindful movement. "It’s at the core of why we do what we do at Alo—it’s our calling. Because mindful movement in the studio leads to better living. It changes who yogis are off the mat, making their lives and their communities better. That’s the real meaning of studio-to-street: taking the consciousness from practice on the mat and putting it into practice in life.”
The studio offers paid subscriptions at $199 per year for full access to all of their yoga and mindfulness videos.
(6) Jessica Richburg— 20 Minute Evening Yoga Flow (20 min.)
Unlike most of these videos, Jessica doesn’t teach as if it were a yoga class. Instead, she demonstrates the yoga poses and, in a voiceover, narrates both the yoga poses and a guided meditation to help you regulate your stress response and decompress. According to Jessica, “This is a 20-minute full body yoga flow aimed to relax your body and calm your mind at the end of the day. Perfect sequence for all levels. Practice this flow regularly and incorporate it into your evening routine.” Jessica also has an app available and subscriptions to her video library are $89.99 per year.
Like Adrienne and Benji, Jessica has a cat who pops up from time to time. YouTube commenter Kristina writes, “Wow, I had no idea my body was even capable of the poses at the end, but apparently it is. I guess I underestimated myself, thank you so much for this video (also your cat is adorable).” Chats with Charm says, “This was work but it definitely calmed my anxiety down from a 10 to a solid 3.”
(7) Fightmaster Yoga— Hatha Yoga Joy 30-day Challenge Playlist (varying times)
Who doesn’t need a little more joy in their lives? This playlist of thirty videos led by Leslie includes: 45-minute Hatha classes, 30-minute total body yoga workouts, 1-hour Ashtanga classes, 20-minute full body yoga stretch routines, 10-minute morning yoga stretches, 15-minute guided meditations, and 1-hour Yin sequences for deep stretching and relaxing. It's the full list for anyone looking to practice yoga for anxiety, or as an exercise!
Each day has a theme like “Morning Yoga at the Beach'' or “Fun-loving Full Body Stretch.” The length of each workout varies by day. Literatiloves on YouTube writes, “This was great! When you said, ‘I am worthy of infinite compassion,’ that really hit me because I realize that the way I talk to myself is usually not very compassionate. I’m going to write that down as a reminder! Thank you for making these videos, Leslie!”
(8) YogiApproved— Simply Yin: A Yin Yoga Class Without Props
The motto of YogiApproved is "Yoga is our passion. Your health and wellness is our obsession." Their YouTube page features both short and long practices, and very short videos going in-depth with certain practices and yoga poses. Many of these are billed as “preview classes” but at around 20 minutes in length even the previews can count as a decent day’s yoga practice.
YogiApproved has several different instructors, and the videos offer yoga at varying levels of difficulty. The page has almost 230K subscribers. Instructor Ashley Limehouse says that this particular video is perfect for travel because it doesn’t use props to achieve many of the stretches.
(9) Breathe and Flow— Strong 40 Minute Breathe and Flow Vinyasa Yoga Flow (40 min.)
If you didn’t catch that this was a “flow” video, it just so happens that the instructor introduces himself as “Flo.” And yes, in case you’re wondering, the other instructor featured on the account is named “Bre.” Flo and Bre love yoga, coffee, traveling, photography, and life. According to their profiles, they both are Instagram influencers, Burners, and digital nomads.
The description for this video is, “Today Flo is guiding you through a creative and strong full body flow with special emphasis on hip openers and strong standing poses, backbends, core, upper body stability and even some QiGon.” There are many different types of yoga practices featured on their YouTube page, including a one about desk yoga that’s even more embarrassing to perform in a crowded office.
(10) The Mat Project— Full Length Gentle Yoga Class for Beginners and Seniors Vol. 1
The Mat Project brings together a dynamic and definitely-not-mundane selection of free mat-based video workouts, including Dance Cardio, Yoga, Pilates, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), as well as stretching and sculpting disciplines. Shelly Nicole from Sovereign Hands Yoga teaches this particular class. As with Jessica in video #6, Shelly is demonstrating the yoga poses while her voiceover plays.
YouTube commenter Cynthia writes on Shelly's page, “I have searched forever for a guide whose voice did not distract or annoy me and FINALLY I've found one. It's been more than a year since I practiced, and even then, I was only intermediate. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Before I return to a studio, I want to move in my own space. I look forward to working together, and really appreciate your sensibility.”
BONUS VIDEO! ChriskaYoga— Gentle Beginners Hatha Yoga Class
We couldn't stop at ten! Our final video is from Instructor Christina who posts two free videos every week, so there’s plenty to choose from on the ChriskaYoga page. This particular video moves at a slow pace and focuses on the basics. You will need a yoga strap or a belt or scarf for the yoga poses in the first half.
Christina provides ample written details about each practice, so it’s easy to decide if you’re interested. There are also a number of free practices on her web page.
All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for, or alternative to, health information from health care practitioners about how to practice yoga for anxiety and depression. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.
“Lululemon Athletica.” Wikipedia. Accessed 16 Feb. 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lululemon_Athletica.