The practice of yoga is traditionally about spiritual development and personal awareness, with a focus on breathing, flexibility, and strength to support both mind and body.

Today, however, many popular yoga apps and programs seem to have lost the foundation of the practice, choosing to draw in users by the promise of “weight loss” rather than its core values of physical, mental, and spiritual strength. Yoga should be all-inclusive, nonjudgmental, and ready to meet you where you are. So forget weight loss and practice yoga in a safe space using these apps and online resources.

1. Yoga With Adriene

Yoga With Adriene Website

Led by American yoga instructor Adriene Mishler, the Yoga With Adriene YouTube channel offers yoga videos that function as valuable tools for watchers to improve their mental, emotional, and physical health on an accessible level.

Adriene herself is charming and has a great sense of humor, encouraging herself and her following to enjoy yoga and not take it too seriously as she leads each class.

In a nutshell, here are three good reasons to give Yoga With Adriene videos a try:

  1. Inclusive and accessible. Adriene leads yoga sessions that are suitable for people of all levels—from beginner to advanced—through a welcoming and accommodating teaching style.
  2. Variety of content. Because the Yoga With Adriene channel has been functioning for over 10 years, you’ll find a wealth of yoga videos to follow. Adriene often runs challenges or yoga series as well as releasing practices that focus on a particular area of mental and emotional well-being, meaning you’re never short of choice.
  3. Focus on mindfulness and self-care. Very few of Adriene’s videos focus on weight loss, and the few that do are usually requested by her followers. In all practices, however, Adriene focuses on mindfulness and the breath to help her viewers manage stress and anxiety and improve their overall well-being.

Yoga With Adriene is a safe space on YouTube for people of all identities and levels to practice yoga.

2. The Underbelly

Created by yoga teacher and body-positive advocate Jessamyn Stanley, The Underbelly is an inclusive yoga app that creates a safe space for all bodies. Jessamyn strives to empower individuals to strive for self-acceptance and self-love and this is evident within her specialized yoga app.

You won’t find any weight-loss focus within The Underbelly. Instead, yoga classes are organized into elemental categories: Air, Earth, Fire, and Water. You can access classes online, successfully turning your living room into a yoga studio, or you can use The Underbelly mobile app to practice yoga anywhere.

Starting with a 14-day free trial, you’ll find the following features within The Underbelly app:

  • Live classes to engage with in real-time
  • Breathwork and meditation videos
  • Classes organized by length (under 10 or 20 minutes are two options available)
  • A Library section to save all of your favorite yoga videos

You can browse the content of The Underbelly for free, enabling you to have an at-a-glance overview of what’s available within the app. To play any video, you need to start the free trial. Alternatively, find more free yoga clips and related body-inclusive content on Jessamyn Stanley’s YouTube channel.

Download: The Underbelly for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

3. Yoga | Down Dog

Yoga | Down Dog is one of six fitness apps that can be combined to create a full workout schedule. Independently, this app functions as a complete yoga tool that is safe from weight-loss discourse.

One of the best features of Down Dog’s Yoga app is that it is highly customizable. During setup, you’ll be asked the following questions for a fully personalized yoga program:

  • Yoga experience. Choose from five different levels, ranging from beginner to advanced to suit your experience of yoga.
  • Pick a voice. As many yoga practices within the app are voice-guided, choosing a teacher’s voice that you find engaging is important.
  • Choose a music style. Enhance your yoga experience by choosing your favorite soundscape or music style.
  • Practice type. Choose the type of yoga practice to suit your needs. For example, if you’re after mindfulness and relaxation, Guided Meditation may suit you. Chair Flow is ideal for taking breaks from work, and other options such as Flexibility Flow and Cardio Flow do what they say on the tin.
  • Pace. From slowest to fastest, picking a pace that suits your yoga style is key to enjoying your practice.
  • Body part focus. This isn’t about the “spot reducing” fallacy, rather it’s about bringing strength and flexibility to two areas: hips or hamstrings. Tap None if you don’t need or want to focus on these areas.
  • Savasana. The final resting pose of most yoga practices is known as Savasana, or “corpse pose”. Choose how many minutes you want to stay in Savasana at the end of each practice.

Once you’ve set up your yoga preferences, you can quick-start a yoga session by using the main menu to select practice minutes and tap Start.

Download: Yoga | Down Dog for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

4. Yoga for Beginners | Pure Calm

Yoga for Beginners is an inclusive app for anyone who wants to learn and practice yoga on a consistent basis, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced yogi.

To help you navigate any potential weight-loss factors during set-up and navigation of the app, follow these steps:

  • Pick goals unrelated to weight loss. Safe, yoga-centric goals include reducing stress, building strength, learning the basics of yoga, feeling more energetic, or boosting self-esteem.
  • Skip your physical measurements. Yoga for Beginners will prompt you for your age, height, and weight, but these are not compulsory fields to fill out. If you prefer, tap Continue without entering these details.
  • Ignore the Progress tab. You can use Yoga for Beginners to track your progress, including workouts and minutes, under the Progress tab. As this tab holds space for calories and weight tracking, however, you can avoid using it if you find tracking problematic, triggering, or just not useful for your yoga needs.

Once you’ve completed setup, Yoga for Beginners offers a range of inclusive and accessible features:

  • Pose Library. Learn common yoga poses through instructional videos.
  • Discover. Find yoga practices suitable for your level. You can also filter yoga videos by personal physical needs, for example, if you’re pregnant, require knee support, or want to boost flexibility.
  • Programs. Browse classes by level, yoga style, or by goal (e.g. strength, recovery, or flexibility).

Download: Yoga for Beginners for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

5. My Possible Self

My Possible Self is a mental health and well-being app that’s clinically certified by Priory Healthcare. Within its many features designed to support and improve your mental health, My Possible Self offers users free yoga and meditation videos.

As My Possible Self is a mental health and well-being app, you can be confident that you won’t be exposed to weight-loss rhetoric while you navigate its features.

To use My Possible Self for yoga practice, follow these steps:

  • Tap the Library tab.
  • Scroll down to find Exercises. Tap View all.
  • On the next screen, filter the exercises by scrolling through the exercise icons located across the top of the screen. Tap Yoga.
  • Tap Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced to filter the yoga videos as appropriate to your yoga experience.

Although the yoga content within My Possible Self is limited compared to the other resources on this list, they are safe from weight-loss focus. You may also find that the app is the ideal tool to support your overall mental well-being.

Download: My Possible Self for Android | iOS (Free)

You Can Enjoy Yoga Without Focusing on Weight-Loss

Practicing yoga is about building harmony in your mind and body through mindful movement, breath work, and stretches. The resources listed in this article can be used safely to avoid a focus on weight loss as you learn and practice yoga to improve your well-being.

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