Yoga lessons online are such an important part of my life that I’ve decided to join an online yoga platform, but the question is, which one to join?
The solution, as I see it, is to try the free trial of my top picks and then choose which one to take further as my permanent platform for learning yoga. And to save you the time and hassle of doing the same, I thought I’d share my findings here with you.
What I really hope to find is a never ending supply of inspiring, challenging and motivating yoga lessons, so that I can really take my yoga to the next level, and the first place I’m going to visit is Grokker.
You may have already read in How to learn yoga from home that up till now, I have relied on free yoga on Youtube. And that’s great. It’s taken me from a complete beginner to where I am now (which isn’t very advanced but, well, let’s say established in my practice).
But the thing is, I want to overcome some challenges and improve some specific asanas, which is why I think it’s time to go deeper into this. And I don’t want to spend hours looking for more videos to watch.
Chaturanga Dandasana is a great example of how difficult some asanas can be, even if they’re fundamental poses, and in my previous post you can see how to build up to Chaturanga.
And now that menopause is upon me, exercise is an even more important part of my life. You can read about 5 steps to beat menopause naturally, here.
Table of Contents
First of all, What is Grokker?
Grokker is an online wellness platform founded by Lorna Borenstein in 2012. According to the site, their aim is to break down the barrier between the expert and the student and create transformation in both.
Grokker is unique, as you can see in the image above, it covers yoga, fitness, cooking, mind and more, and is also an online community, so it goes beyond just offering passive videos to watch.
Edit: I’ve now been a member of Grokker for 2 months because I enjoyed my trial so much.You can enjoy a 14 day free trial with full access to the videos by clicking here.
Here’s the Official Introduction to Grokker:
Why Choose Grokker?
When I started researching the main yoga platforms that come up in Google (Gaia, Yoga International, Yogiapproved etc.) I didn’t find them all quite so transparent about the free trial period.
I chose to try Grokker as my starting point, mainly because of their transparency regarding payment, and of course because they have great reviews, but so do many of the others.
Like so many platforms, Grokker offers a free trial period but it immediately stood out for its clarity.
When you join the free trial you are asked for your credit card details and it clearly states that you can cancel before being charged your first period.
In other words you can complete the free trial and then leave the platform without paying a cent, if that’s what you want. Or you can continue to become a premium member and cancel at any point in the future.
While this is true on many other platforms too, many take you to a landing page which looks as though they’re totally free with no credit card details required and ask you to fill in all your personal details.
You then click on something like ‘Join for free now’, only to be taken on to a second (or third) landing page asking for your credit card. That bugs me a bit because I might not have my credit card handy and I’ve just filled out all my personal information.
Even worse is when they don’t state clearly that you can leave before your first payment.
So without too much in-depth analysis, I decided to reward Grokker for being so transparent about its payment policies and start out with them first.
Other Reasons for Choosing Grokker
- 14 day free trial period – you can be sure you like it before you pay a cent.
- Great value for money – Grokker is affordable and offers excellent value for money if you use it frequently.
- Variety – if you like, you can combine everything it offers – yoga, fitness, cooking and mind.
- Lots of yoga options and some great teachers.
- Incentives – you earn wellness minutes every time you do a practise.
- Setting targets – you can schedule in what you want to do and add it to your calander. Grokker will send you reminders of the classes you’ve scheduled.
- Feedback – you can leave feedback on every video you do, and score it out of 5.
- Help – the community is there to help you and there is an option to leave questions.
- Keeping track – because of the calendar system, you can always click on the calendar and see which videos you’ve done, how many hours etc.
What I love About Grokker
So far, the whole experience has been positive. I can’t say I’ve come across any negatives yet. It’s early days but here’s what I like so far:
There are Some Great Yoga Teachers on Grokker
Grokker has some excellent yoga flows and some wonderful yoga teachers. I’ve done a gentle series on stress relief with Siri Peterson Cavanna, an intermediate flow called Full Body Breakdown with Emily-Clare Hill and my absolute favourite was a more demanding series called Lean & Strong yoga with Rocky Heron.
More on the specific programs below. .
One important thing that I love about Grokker so far is the teachers I’ve tried and programs they offer. I do wish there were more from my favourite teachers so far!
The Yoga Series I’ve Done
Yoga for Stress Reduction by Siri Peterson Cavanna
This series of 6 videos is aimed towards beginners or intermediate yogis. It’s relatively gentle but very motivating, also for more experienced yogis as you can go as deeply as you like into the poses.
I personally really like the way Siri speaks through the videos, with a calm and gentle voice. I used this series as my warm up or as my flow when I’m tired and want to be peaceful.
Full Body Breakdown by Emily-Clare Hill
You will love this series of 4 videos if you’re feeling like a physical workout. I found the first video a bit too talkative and with a continual flow of activity without the contrast of mindfulness within the practice.
However, when I did the second video I decided that this flow can also have a place in my daily practice when I’m in the right mood for it.
Emily Clare presents a set of yoga flows which come together more like a fitness workout than a yoga flow, purely because of the tone of voice and the energy within it. The flows are good but I miss the gentle calmness that I usually associate with yoga.
Lean & Strong Yoga by Rocky Heron
This has to be my absolute favourite of the three programs I’ve joined so far. Rocky has a calm and gentle voice and breaks everything down within the asanas (poses) to focus on different muscle groups and to remind/instruct you how to approach the asana, while managing not to interrupt the feeling of the complete flow of the workout.
This series of 6 videos is above my level of yoga, but because of the way it’s presented, it doesn’t matter and I can modify as necessary and, most of the time, keep up with the video. It’s a strenuous series but sedate in its way of unfolding.
I plan to repeat the whole series to continue to strengthen my core, my arms and my whole flow.
Metabolism Boosting Yoga by Andrew Seal
Gentle voice and presentation coupled with some strenuous (difficult!) flows. I am enjoying this immensely.
14 Day Yoga Challenge with Steffy White
I love Steffy’s energy and the yoga flows are great. The challenge is a bit random though, with some videos being very short (the 5 minute how to master wheel pose video for example).
I like to practice at least an hour a day, so I’ve been doing several of her lessons in one go.
The 14 day challenge also includes a couple of Yin yoga videos, which is something new for me, and very relaxing. I like to combine it with a more challenging flow afterwards.You can see all the Grokker Yoga Series by clicking here.
More Detail About Grokker
As I mentioned, Grokker has several quirky options which are great for motivating and establishing a regular routine in your exercise (yoga or otherwise). More details here below:
The Search Option
One great thing about Grokker is that you can search for yoga programs or classes to fit you. You can search by length of class, style, level and/or teacher.
This one feature is worth a lot to me because generally I like to include at least one lesson of 30 minutes or more and the rest can be shorter. And I also like to be able to choose a focus (core, strength, vinyasa etc). This search option isn’t available on other platforms such as DoYouYoga for example.
Leave Feedback on the Program or Class you’ve Done
After you complete a yoga class you can evaluate it using a star rating system, with a maximum of 5 stars as well as the option to leave a comment.
I love this system because it means that you can give feedback to the teacher as well as helpful comments for other students, and finally, you can leave a comment for yourself so that when you come back to that workout, you’ll be able to see what you thought of it in the first place.
The Calendar System
Grokker tracks what you do so that any workouts you’ve already done are marked as done. You don’t have to go through all that agony of wondering which videos you completed, which ones you hated and which ones you liked.
The only thing is, if you notice below, when I don’t do the final savasana the calander tells me how many minutes I completed, but if I complete the video to the end it just says ‘completed’.
I would like to see the total minutes completed so that I can see at a glance how much time I’ve dedicated to my yoga. But it’s a minor point (and not very yogi because it’s not about collecting minutes).
I love the calendar system for looking back over which programs I’ve done.
Grokker has a great motivational angle by rewarding you with ‘wellness minutes’ every time you complete a challenge.
So if you do 30 minutes of yoga, you gain some extra wellness minutes and every minute of activity is registered for you. And as you gain more minutes, you climb up the ladder in wellness levels, which adds a bit of fun.
Premium Membership Cost on Grokker
When you first join Grokker, you get 14 days free trial, which you can cancel at any time. You will need to give your credit card details when you enrol.
Once the 14 days are up, you’ll get charged $14.99 per month ($179.40 per year) until you cancel your subscription. Alternatively you can pay $119.98 up front for a year’s membership, which works out at 9.99$ per month.
Pretty good value for daily tuition and an online community I’d say.
Ease of Cancelling Your Free Trial
It’s completely transparent, simple and straightforward to cancel your membership at any time.
I cancelled my first month subscription with ease – but later decided to rejoin.
Comparing Other Yoga Platforms
I also joined Yoga International, expecting (and hoping) to be blown away by an endless supply of great yogis and yoga videos.
But I just can’t get motivated by the yoga on this platform and find it impossible to get into. I have one month’s free trial and have started several videos only to come to the conclusion that this platform isn’t for me.
Finding a Video to Follow
When you first visit Yoga International, you come to a page where you choose what you want to do (breath, meditate, move etc). I click on ‘move’ and it brings me to the next landing page below.
I already don’t like this entrance into the yoga practise. I have to choose between these options when maybe I want to feel strong and flexible? Or maybe I don’t mind but I want a particular type of voice to talk me through it (i.e. a teacher who resonates).
If, for example, I click on ‘flexible and mobile’, I then get brought to the following page where I have to choose again! Flexible or mobile? That just doesn’t sit right with me. Yoga is a whole being experience, and if you’re flexible, then surely you’re mobile?
Maybe this is just my own idiosyncrasy but . . . well anyway, it doesn’t impress me but let’s carry on. So I click through to the flexible option and am met with videos of all time lengths, all levels mixed together.
So I choose the filters and can choose between 15, 30 or 45 minutes. I choose 45. And I choose level 1&2.
And after all this, I get a result of just 3 videos.
I was looking forward to trying out Yoga International but I have to say that I’m disappointed. I have clicked on the videos and tried to do them, but even that hasn’t proved successful. They are in a classroom, telling a student what to do and not resonating with me at all.
So, sorry Yoga International, but for me, it’s a no.
I had so much use from my trial period at Grokker that I signed up for one month more. I then left Grokker and switched over to Yoga International but soon realised that I didn’t want to leave Grokker. So I returned and re-joined for my second month.
I’d recommend Grokker to you if you’re interested in doing daily, or at least regular, yoga. And if you’re also looking for the keep fit, meditation or cooking options, then you’ll be getting an even more complete experience.
My one doubt is that I don’t know if there’s enough yoga options to keep me busy for a whole year, as I have no idea how often they upload new videos. I hope so.
Time will tell!
Edit: Since writing this post I have changed some things about my yoga practice and written a post on how to progress in yoga and see real change.
If you have any comments, feel free to leave them below and I’ll get back to you.