Old Man Yoga: My Top Five

I don’t make much secret of the fact that I don’t enjoy yoga. I enjoy the effects that yoga has on my body (such as being able to walk up the flight of stairs to my apartment) but the act itself is still kind of…ugh.

I know there are people who say “give it time” and while I’m not one to prognosticate* I’m actually ok with yoga being something that I do not because the act is enjoyable, but because the results are.

There are a lot of “great yoga video lists” out there, but I’m not sure that any quite fall under the mantra of “Top Five for Middle-Aged Guys Who Hate Yoga“. But if you’re looking to start your own practice – and you know you should – here’s some that I have found helpful.

Super Hero Strong Flow with Tara Stiles

The Flow That Got Me Back Into Yoga

For a long time Tara Stiles was the only yoga teacher I watched, and in particular this flow was one that I memorized and then took with me on the road for years. It’s still my “go-to” flow when I need to do a quick workout. However, the emphasis is on “quick”, so while it’s a good one, you tend to hurry, and also don’t get some of the benefits of the slower or longer videos.

Morning Yin Yoga with Kassandra

Featuring Cleo the Cat

“Yin Yoga” is a kind of yoga that holds various poses for a long time – 2-5 minutes – letting the body settle into stretches in a way that allows gravity to do the work, rather than your muscles pushing. When I was recovering from pneumonia, I did a lot of yin yoga to build myself back up (it also is a great place for breathing deeply, which helped my recovery). 

It’s also an easier way to wake up if you want yoga to be part of your regular morning practice, and this particular workout is one that I come back to again and again. Kassandra is very low-key and forgiving in her videos, and both Natasha and I like her stuff

Yin Yoga to Restore & Reboot 

Yep, that’s Kassandra again.

This is another Yin Yoga video that I come back to repeatedly, usually after traveling or after a very frustrating day. It does exactly what it says: it kind of “resets” my brain by focusing on some long-form and, to be honest, kind of painful stretches (you don’t realize how heavy your legs are until you try to hold them in the air for three minutes). 

“Better Than the Gym”: Boho Beautiful

Yep. That’s exactly what I look like when I’m doing Plow Pose.

I have a love/hate relationship with the Boho Beautiful yoga videos. They are produced by a young couple that really should irritate all the curmudgeonly buttons in my Old Man Yoga brain…but somehow her cheerful, relaxed, confident manner of teaching falls short of the threshold of annoyance.

The other thing I actually like about the videos is that while she’s happily telling you what’s next (and effortlessly doing it) the actual workouts kick your ass. More than once I’ve seen a new one come out, and it says “beginner” and “15 minutes” and I’ve said “sure, I’ll try it – how bad could it be?” And then I’m really grateful that it’s video, because I would hate to swear that much at a yoga instructor in real life as I am grunting and sweating and trying to keep up. What I’m saying is: she would be a fantastic drill instructor.

Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Relief

Yep, there’s targeted yoga like you wouldn’t believe.

I pretty much unreservedly recommend any of the Yoga with Adriene videos. She has a wide variety both in terms of focus, level, and time, and has several series that work really well for short-term practice goals (such as the upcoming “Yoga for All” series). This video, in particular, helped me during a time that I was waking up with severe neck and shoulder pain for several weeks. I’d do it every morning to improve my mobility and it was spot-on. Lately I’ve been biking more, and her Yoga for Cyclists is useful to keep things stretched out.

What About Guy Yoga, Gray?

That’s right: not one male yoga instructor made my top five YouTube list. That’s not because I don’t try the channels like “Yoga with Tim” or Sean Vigue’s videos (which give truth to the whole “I’m gonna WIN this yoga!” joke). I did repeat Rodney Yee’s “Power Yoga” DVD for years, but at the point that he got involved in his own “#MeToo” type scandal I was just turned off by his presence, even on TV.

And basically none of the male-led YouTube yoga instructors have worked well for my middle-aged somewhat battered body. The demographic they are aimed at are, I believe, the more young and (to be frank) “DudeBro” set. I’ll still try the occasional video led by a man, and if I find one that feels worth mentioning, I’ll certainly write it up – but the videos above are the best Old Man Yoga clips I’ve done.

How about you? Have a favorite loved/hated Yoga Instructor online? If there’s one you think I should try, put the link in the comments; I’ll give it a shot, and let you know the results!

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