During the peak of the pandemic, online yoga practice almost universally substituted for in-studio sessions—and fitness booking platforms saw an uptick in the number of people adding yoga to their wellness routine. That’s not surprising. Research shows that yoga has helped people manage the stress and isolation of lockdown.
Of course, virtual yoga isn’t new. Stephanie Murphy always advised her students to use online yoga classes to supplement their in-person practice, even before the pandemic.
“I’m only able to teach one class a week, and that’s Sundays,” says the Cleveland-based yoga instructor. “So to continue their practice, I will refer [students] to certain yoga teachers that I follow on YouTube that I really feel comfortable with having a beginner practice with.”
As the pandemic eases in the U.S. and yoga studios reopen, some businesses will continue to offer online options. Not only are virtual classes convenient for clients, but they also open a door for people who are new to the practice and may want to start in the privacy of their homes.
Yoga is generally safe, but injuries can happen when you are moving your body in ways that may be unfamiliar. Yoga practiced without supervision has been associated with increased risks, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), and reports of yoga-related injuries doubled from 2001 to 2014, according to a 2016 study published in the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine. Sprains and strains were most common, as were injuries to the trunk, the neck, and the wrists. Older practitioners were more prone to injury, too.