Life

9 Body-Positive Yoga Routines You Can Do On YouTube

_Flotsam_Shutterstock

The world of yoga can be a beautiful place that makes you stronger inside and out. But not all bodies are always welcomed into yoga communities and practices. Finding inclusive and body-positive yoga YouTube videos can be a challenge, but using them to start or enhance your practice is well worth it.

Body-shaming fitness culture is often a barrier to to developing an affirming and consistent yoga practice, but explicitly body-positive routines can help. For people who might be triggered by yoga’s emphasis on body awareness, seeking out trauma-informed yoga can be a way to find the practice helpful and healing. For trans and genderqueer people in yoga classes, experiencing gender dysphoria in certain poses can also keep people from fully participating.

Finding classes that are sensitive to these needs, in person or online, can be, uh, challenging. But as a transmasculine personal trainer with anxiety who squirms at the very suggestion of an IRL yoga class (other people? the horror!), I know firsthand how important it is to have affirming YouTube options for your yoga needs. Sifting through videos that would reflect various body types and identities without any mentions of "fat burning," or the assumption that you could definitely do all the poses, was a journey. But hopefully, it was worth it.

Whatever your reasons are for seeking body-affirming yoga instruction, you’re not alone in your quest and in your needs (even if you’re alone in your apartment). These nine yoga YouTube videos can be a great way to get started on your journey.

1
30-Minute Yoga Sequence For Total Beginners

If you're looking for an introduction to yoga video that will teach you fundamentals and affirm your body all at the same time, you don't need to look any further than this yoga for beginners video. Taught by yoga instructor Jessamyn Stanley, this flow can help get you feel prepared to start building your own yoga practice.

2
Gentle & Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Sequence

Designed to welcome people regardless of their prior experience with yoga, this trauma-sensitive yoga video is meant to help ground you and release tension from your upper body. Anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can both cause intense upper body stiffness, and this half-hour yoga flow can help relieve some of the tension you might not even realize you're holding throughout the day.

3
Beginners' Yoga From Curvy Yoga

If you're new to the practice but have 45 minutes to dedicate to yourself and your mat, this beginner's yoga sequence from Curvy Yoga is meant for you. Complete with helpful reminders of when and how to breathe, this video makes sure that you know that any and all bodies are "yoga bodies."

4
Seated Yoga For The Neck, Shoulders, And Upper Body

If you're excited to get into yoga but need a sequence that you can practice while sitting down, then this might be a great video for you. Seated yoga can be especially important when you're in a place where you need to be extra gentle with your body. If your upper body can use some loving without disturbing your lower body, focusing on practicing yoga from the waist up can be super helpful.

5
50-Minute Yoga Flow For Beginners

Yoga is never easy, but this gentle flow with instructor Maris Aylward is a beginner's yoga routine meant to gradually increase flexibility and strength along with your confidence. It's completely OK if you don't have a full 50 minutes to devote to this longer video (you can take it in sections if you need to), but if you do have an hour, this nice long sequence can go a long way toward kickstarting your practice.

6
Modifications For Your Body

In this short series from Body Positive Yoga, you can learn how to modify a variety of yoga poses and flows to better suit your body's needs. If you have trouble transitioning from downward dog into a forward lunge, for example, this video shows you how to use yoga blocks to help you make the move and continue your flow. There's never anything wrong with needing to adjust yoga poses to fit your needs, and this video and others in its playlist will show you how.

7
Introduction To Kemetic Yoga

Kemetic yoga, or yoga inspired by ancient Egyptian practice, can help you learn even more ways to center your body and breath. In this 15-minute introduction to kemetic yoga video, Hortencia Campbell, co-founder of the hip-hop soul duo Ufulu Child, reminds you to let your breath guide you while you practice loving yourself. That self-love shapes this video's flow, and wouldn't that be a great way to start your day?

8
Yoga For Cramps And PMS

When Adriene Mishler of Yoga with Adriene first posted this yoga sequence to help with cramps and PMS, it was addressed to "ladies." But Mishler told Bustle that she remade it with gender-neutral language to provide a trans-inclusive yoga experience for people of all genders who menstruate. With this embrace of gender-affirming language, anyone enduring cramps or PMS can happily enjoy this comforting practice.

9
Grounding Practices For Dysphoria And Anxiety

Not your typical yoga experience, this video from trans yoga instructor Ashton Colby doesn't feature Colby getting onto a physical mat. Instead, he will talk you through various yoga-inspired grounding techniques to help cope with gender dysphoria and anxiety. Taking it slow and helping yourself become aware of your surroundings can help, Colby explains. The video encourages you to sink into a meditative, affirming state of mind and body, using yogic breathing and mindfulness practices just as you would on your mat.

10

As you're starting or strengthening your yoga practice, you deserve to do so with the help of videos that will affirm your body, your experiences, and your unique needs. Whether you're more comfortable doing yoga at home or just don't have time or money to get to a class, these body-positive yoga videos are there to help you cultivate a rich and validating relationship with yoga and with yourself.