In this post, I celebrate Adriene Mishler’s Yoga With Adriene videos, look at how yoga can help everyone, and share my top five Yoga With Adriene videos.
“If you’re breathing then you’re doing it right.” This is Adriene Mishler, speaking in the most recent video (at the time of writing) in her lovely and immensely popular Yoga With Adriene YouTube series.
Find What Feels Good
Adriene is the most welcoming presence. A friendly soul, encouraging and supportive. A perfect guide into and through the world of yoga. She acknowledges and celebrates the fact that her audience will bring widely different levels of ability and attainment. And that is perfectly OK. There are two phrases – two mantras – that you will hear a lot in her videos:
- “Find what feels good.”
- “Do what you can.”
Adriene’s secret weapon is her geeky sense of humour. Brittany Levine Beckman nails this perfectly in a Mashable profile entitled There’s just something about Adriene: How Yoga with Adriene dominates YouTube:
“Adriene Mishler exudes plenty of mushy-gushy spiritual thinking, but the yoga evangelist embraces something else, too: self-deprecating humor. That’s part of what has made her so accessible to her millions of YouTube subscribers. When she mentions self-love or chakras, she bookends it with ‘Okayyyy, Adriene,’ or when she directs you to sit in a cross-armed-cross-legged pretzel of a pose as you lift your head, she mumbles, ‘This is like Ariel on the rock, speaking to my generation, a Little Mermaid joke.’ “
Her videos are full of this humour. Silly jokes, random bursts of (sometimes off-key) song, a wry acknowledgement that aspects of the modern culture that has grown around yoga might be a little hard to take seriously for the average person on the street.
Adriene’s attitude opens up an ancient and potentially transformative art of breathing, movement and thought. This has brought immense, life-transforming benefits to me and to countless others.
Yoga is gigantic
“I think for anybody over 40 in particular, yoga is gigantic.” So says podcaster extraordinaire Joe Rogan in his December 2016 conversation with Metallica’s James Hetfield.* Never were truer words spoken.
Yoga can transform your life.
I realised the other week that it’s been three years ago to pretty much right now since I first tried yoga. Back in March 2016, my wife encouraged me to give yoga a go, as she had been enjoying Yoga With Adriene videos for a few months.
I am not a natural yogi. I will never be a good yogi. I am physically uncoordinated. I did terribly in PE classes at school. I am way too self-conscious to join a gym or to sign up for yoga classes. And that is perfectly OK.
Through Yoga With Adriene videos, I have discovered a form of exercise that works perfectly for me. I wish her videos had been around when I was younger.
The benefits of yoga
Yoga brings immense benefits, physical and mental. Stretching, strengthening, breathing. Movement and stillness.
Yoga is accessible. There is a wealth of free online yoga videos. Minimal investment is required. All you need is a mat. I have bought two mats over the these past three years. My first yoga mat was a cheap and cheerful beginner’s mat. When that wore out, I invested in a Yogi Bare mat. I recommend Yogi Bare mats highly. A little more costly than my first mat. But it’s worth the additional expenditure. Greatly improved grip and stability. The lack of additional padding makes yoga much easier on the joints.
Yoga’s endless journey
Yoga is a wonderful, endless journey. I have been astonished at the wide range of yoga poses that even someone as physically all-over-the-place as me can achieve. Over the past three years, I’ve tried dozens and dozens of Adriene’s videos, repeating many of them dozens of times.
Last weekend, I thought I should make myself a list of the ones that I have returned to the most, so that I could keep track of them. Here’s the YouTube playlist:
Then I thought: Why not share it on here? If I can encourage even one person to consider trying yoga for the first time, it will make my year.
My top 5 Yoga With Adriene videos
Gentle reader: These are my top 5 Yoga With Adriene videos – the ones I have returned to the most, and/or from which I have got the most joy over the past three years.
If you have already welcomed Adriene Mishler into your life, I ‘d love to know your favourites. Please get in touch and share your recommendations!
Here we go…
5. Yoga for Beginners
Where it all started for me. This is the perfect introduction to yoga – accessible, welcoming and fun. A great grounding in the basics of so much of what yoga is about. The very definition of Adriene’s mantra: “Find what feels good.”
4. Change & Drain
“If you’re breathing then you’re doing it right.” At the time of writing, this is Adriene’s newest video. It is also one of her best. The slightly odd title references the idea that this video is for times of change and/or of feeling drained. It is a delightfully surprising little journey, taking in a number of poses I’d not encountered before. It leaves you feeling joyous and raring to go. I will be revisiting this one a lot.
3. Runner’s Yoga
The name might make you expect fast, high-impact movement. But this is actually a lovely introduction to yoga at its gentlest and most meditative. “A deep and yummy, yin-like practice,” as Adriene says during the video. Make sure you have a pillow to hand before embarking on this one!
2. Abs & Arms
I have a definite love/hate relationship with this video. It is the Yoga With Adriene video I have returned to the most. I find this one difficult. But I make sure that I do this routine once a week, every week, as it helps reduce and manage my occasional back pains like absolutely nothing else.
1 Core Strength Vinyasa – Yoga for Compassion
The most incredible emotional release. As Adriene says in this video, tears can sometimes overwhelm you while you are on the mat. This routine is so cleverly structured. A tough but hugely satisfying hour-long practice. Somehow, this flow of yoga poses creates a rising feel of energy and joy. It includes the delicious hummingbird pose and Bakāsana, AKA crow pose (you can see a picture of Adriene in crow pose directly below). I can currently manage crow pose for around 1.5 seconds. Before I started yoga, I never would have thought even this would ever be possible. Slowly but surely, I would like to get to 1.6 seconds, then 1.7 seconds. But if I don’t manage it, then that’s OK. The attempt is everything. The journey is everything. Breathing is everything. Thank you, Adriene, for everything you have given to me, and to so many millions of other people. Namaste.
UPDATE 1 (16 March 2019)
My thanks to my good friend Charlie Eastabrook for posting a comment on this post, with her recommendation for her favourite Yoga With Adriene video. Charlie also tweeted her recommendation:
Over on Facebook, the lovely Alison Chisnell has recommended two further Yoga With Adriene videos:
“I love this one in the mornings (when I usually practice)”
“And if I’m feeling fed up or a bit down, this one is fantastic for shifting energy and resetting”
I have created a new YouTube playlist, for Charlie’s recommendation, and for any others that folks might fancy posting:
Charlotte Walker, meanwhile, recommends Yoga for Lower Back Pain.
Please let me know your favourites, and I will add them to this playlist!
* Here is the full video of Joe Rogan’s chat with Metallica frontman James Hetfield. Even by the standards of Joe Rogan’s podcast, this conversation goes to some very unexpected places. Who would ever have expected to hear James Hetfield talk at great length about the joys of beekeeping? A highly recommended listen.
RECOMMENDED YOGA EQUIPMENT
I believe that a good yoga mat is really all you need for yoga. Well, that and some comfortable clothing – pyjamas work just fine. But there is no end of yoga equipment and clothing out there, should you wish to explore further. Find what feels good.
MY TOP 5 YOGA WITH ADRIENE VIDEOS: YOUTUBE PLAYLIST
- MJNamaste and Skeleton in Corpse Pose #Sketchulence by MJCarty.
- Yoga With Adriene and Adriene Mishler images: I make no claim whatsoever to the copyright for this image, and will be happy to remove it from this post immediately if required.
- Añjali Mudrā (Praṇāmāsana) image via Wikimedia Commons.