May 19, 2024

Revolutionising my at-home practice

HelloYoga launched just before the government mandate that all non-essential businesses, including gyms andyoga studios, would need to close for the foreseeable future, and was perfectly timed for the surge in searches for online yoga.

Unlike a lot of the existingyoga appsandonline yoga classes, HelloYoga was specifically designed to offer one-to-one, expert-led practice from the best qualified yoga instructors all over the world, via their own safe video connection.

Working out from home can be really challenging in terms of self-motivation, particularly when we all have a lot of news and media to be distracted by. And while your friends might be posting (smugly? ) all over their Instagram that they’re doing daily fitness classes, and people are contracting injuries from taking up new activities without the help of physiotherapists or instructors present.

If you’re a beginner looking to start learning the basics of yoga with some constructive feedback, or an expert yogi missing the adjustments and personal attention you may be used to in a studio environment, HelloYoga is a new online app and platform that offers a more bespoke online yoga experience. All you need is a yoga mat or towel, a bit of space, and a smartphone or computer screen to connect with your teacher.

HelloYoga review

HelloYoga are offering a 3-day free trial of their private sessions with individual tutors, so I decided to try it out for myself. The platform is very simple to use, and you can select via instructor, times available or yoga style (Yin, Hatha, Vinyasa flow, Ashtanga and Freeform customised just for you). After the trial, HelloYoga costs £89 per month, so it’s well worth exploring via three free sessions first but notably cheaper than a lot of gym or yoga studio fees can amount to. HelloYoga are aiming to offer a quality, luxury yoga experience at a more approachable price point.

I booked a 55 minute Vinyasa flow session with Bijou Fernandez, because it suited my morning schedule and slotted into my working day. I was slightly nervous about having a one-to-one session with an instructor who I didn’t know, but doing it through a laptop screen made it feel entirely safe. We started with a quick intro and Bijou asked me how often I practice yoga, what kinds of classes I’ve attended before and how I was feeling that day so he could tailor the class entirely to my experience level and requirements.

He was teaching from the brilliant sunshine of another continent, and I was in my living room in London, but it didn’t make it awkward or interrupt our flow (aside from me being a little jealous of the weather). There was a little dialogue between positions, but we mostly focussed on my posture, stretches and breathing, a brilliant guided practice with a bespoke, tailored feel. We had a slight connection problem once, but reconnected within five seconds, and were able to laugh about it. In relation to other yoga apps, I felt that I was in the hands of an expert yoga teacher I wouldn’t normally have access to, at the time that I wanted. I soon found myself booking in for another session with Bijou, later that week.

I spoke to the app’s Co-Founder, Sarah Sheikh Hjorth about why HelloYoga began and how it can benefit us as we expand our fitness regimes at home.

What led you to launch the yoga personal training platform?

When Sarah was on holiday with her partner, she was expecting to attend yoga classes that ended up being cancelled. Missing her usual guided practice, Sarah began questioning why we can’t bring our yoga teachers with us anywhere we go?

“It felt especially relevant in a world where lifestyles are becoming increasingly busier and taking an hour at the local yoga studio can feel impossible in an otherwise hectic day”.

More than this, if you’re self-conscious about practicing in front of other people for any reason, HelloYoga also provides a great option for people who might find the idea of going to a yoga studio intimidating, or less relaxing than practicing by themselves. You won’t have to panic about moving too fast, not being able to go into certain postures or needing your own modifications.

“With HelloYoga users get access to one to one personal training at a pace and style that suits them, and they can do it from the comfort of their own home. ”

What are the benefits of home practice?

“For us the key benefits are being able to practice yoga with a personal trainer on your own time and in an environment you feel most relaxed in with the best teachers on a one to one basis. Having the benefit of a personal trainer means your session will be tailored to you. ”

Sarah also likes that it removes the element of comparison, which is technically an anti-yogic principle but always inevitable when you’re faced with 30 other girls who can do handstands, and certainly something I struggle with.

“Group classes can be difficult to progress in as the teacher’s attention is often spread across multiple people. With at-home practice you can get a more personalised experience, but the benefit of HelloYoga is that it’s also live and private and, unlike watching YouTube tutorials, you have two way communications with your instructor at all times – so they can provide real-time feedback and guidance as you go. ”

How do you choose your yoga instructors and what are their qualifications?

To be accepted onto the HelloYoga platform as an instructor you need to be certified yoga teacher already. This qualification requires a minimum of 200 hours of teaching to students. Sarah says they have gone a little further: “most of our teachers have more than 10,000 hours of yoga teaching under their belt – some of whom also still teach at world-renowned retreats in India, Argentina and Spain. ” They go through a “rigorous interview process” of online interviews and skill assessments, to check that they’re able to establish a rapport via a digital connection with students as they teach, as well as having a reliable enough internet connection!

“It also allows you to continuously train with the same teacher each time, so that you have the ability to build a relationship with that person and experience the benefits of one-to-one training. ”

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