Novice Yogis Can Now Learn from Yoga Journal Experts on Udemy

This week, Udemy launched the first course from the yoga authorities at Yoga Journal. To mark the occasion, we did a Q&A with Editor-in-Chief Carin Gorrell to understand what “Yoga For Beginners” is all about, why doing yoga on your own at home is a great way to develop your practice, and how the course fits into the magazine’s philosophy that yoga is for everybody.

First off, welcome to the Udemy marketplace! Tell us a little bit about the new course and what students can look forward to learning.
Thanks for the warm welcome! This course is truly an introduction to yoga, so in addition to learning some key fundamentals of the ancient practice, students will also get to explore and sample various styles of yoga as well as the history, philosophy, and benefits of yoga.

The course begins with 12 foundational poses before moving into meditation and pranayama (breath work), both considered to be just as important as the physical practice, if not more. After that, we describe the various styles of yoga and provide guidance on finding the right one, depending on personal taste and goals. The course also lets students sample eight different styles of yoga by following along with four video sequences (iyengar, vinyasa, yin, and kundalini) and four audio sequences (forrest, prana vinyasa, therapeutics, and restorative).

The only real necessity is a yoga mat, but students might also want to have two yoga blocks, a strap, a blanket, and a bolster handy.

Why did Yoga Journal choose Udemy to host this course?
Thousands of yoga enthusiasts come to Yoga Journal every day to learn from some of the world’s best teachers and to deepen their practice, but most of them have been practicing for years—sometimes decades! We wanted to connect with people who are curious about yoga and want to learn more but for whatever reason have never rolled out a mat or have only dabbled in the practice.

I know yoga can be intimidating—the make-your-body-a-pretzel poses, the hard-to-pronounce Sanskrit names—but it’s one of the few things truly anyone can do, no matter their gender, age, size, race, or physical ability. We want to make yoga accessible to all so everyone can enjoy its proven physical and mental health benefits.

How hard is it to learn yoga with an online course vs. in-person class?
Of course, it’s ideal to have direct access to a master teacher and the time and money to spend on in-person training, but that’s simply not realistic for everyone. We would rather people do yoga at home than miss out altogether.

In some ways, learning yoga online might be easier than in a classroom setting. You’re able to move at your own pace and really listen to your body, stopping whenever necessary to review the video or text materials or rest without feeling pressured to keep up with the teacher, compete with the students around you, or push your limits too far—all of which could result in injury.

The course explains that it’s vital for people to listen to their bodies, and if something doesn’t feel right, stop. They can always visit for more info on poses, modifications, anatomy, and more.

Who is the target student for this course? What would you tell students who’ve tried yoga but feel like it’s not for them?
This course is great for those who are new to yoga, have practiced in the past and are making their way back after a break, or have tried yoga at home and are looking for ways to feel comfortable and confident stepping into a studio. If you tried yoga in the past but didn’t feel like it was the right fit for you, I highly recommend trying again but doing something different, like a finding new style of yoga or a new teacher.

How does this course fit in with Yoga Journal’s philosophy of yoga for everybody?
This course was designed to make yoga accessible to anyone who wants to give it a try. If someone doesn’t feel at ease in a yoga studio setting, they’ll gain the experience and confidence to practice on their own and feel more comfortable walking into a studio in the future or trying more online classes.

The course also offers modifications so people can adjust the poses to work for their unique body. Plus, they’ll learn how to use props to support them, no matter their flexibility, strength, or level of fitness.

What are the most important things you want students to learn from this course?
There are two main goals with this course. First, we want students to walk away with enough fundamental knowledge about yoga to establish a rewarding home practice and to start to reap the many benefits of yoga, such as healthier circulation, joints, bones, and digestion and less stress, anxiety, and anger.

Second, we hope participating in this course plants the seed to explore and learn more. To me, learning yoga is like opening a door to infinite possibility: The more you know, the less you know—and the more you want to know!

Enroll in “Yoga for Beginners with Yoga Journal” now!