All you need for many of these services is a space at home large enough to workout out in (the average living room will do), your laptop, a webcam and if you want - a HDMI cable to connect it to your TV for a bigger picture. I've been putting Yoogaia.com to the test...
Yoogaia.com specialises in live yoga classes from around the world. The second website, Workout In, offers a wide selection of cardio exercises, such as Box Fit (cardio boxing), Insanity, Aerobics, Legs, Bums & Tums, HIIT (high intensity interval training) and a short yoga class.
|A sample class timetable for the week (top image)|
An example of the class booking system (bottom image)
The Yoogaia.com website offers live yoga classes on a subscription basis. You can purchase access to the site for one week for £8, £15 for a month, £55 for 4 months or £140 for 12 months. Presently the classes are live from Finland (where Yoogaia was founded), Hong Kong, UK and will soon be hitting the USA too.
The site offers a variety of predominantly yoga classes (including Hatha, Ashtanga and Yin) but there's also the odd Kettlebell and Pilates class on the schedule now and then.
All you need to participate is a yoga mat, a laptop computer and an internet connection. You do not have to use a webcam for the live classes if you don't want to, although by using one the instructor can offer tips for your posture and you will often be greeted with a wave when you first sign in - the instructors may even start to recognise you if you tune in often - making it feel like a real life gym class! Fear not, only the instructor can see you in your living room.
|All set up for a relaxing yoga session!|
I found the classes I tried to be very relaxing after hard days at work and fantastic for stretching everything out after a tough weights session. Best of all, the classes fit around my workday perfectly, with a good range of classes throughout the week in both the early mornings and late evenings, in addition to weekends.
When working out at home, I prefer live classes to YouTube videos for two reasons. Firstly, there's the feedback available from the instructor and secondly, booking in for a specific time makes me more likely to sign in and join in. It's a bit like scheduling a meeting I guess, I'd feel like I'm letting the instructor down if I'm a no-show!
With this in mind, it is easy to see why live online classes are taking off and in our busy lives, its often difficult to find the time to grab our gym kits and dash out the door for an hour session. For new mums, it'll often be easier to workout at home for the brief moment that the baby is fast asleep than it is to find someone to watch the baby while you go to the gym or out for a run. With online workouts, you just need to turn on, plug in and workout - a 25 minute session is perfectly fine providing its high intensity cardio, or if you're looking for a way to relax, then a quick yoga session will work wonders!