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  • Question for yoga experts

    I've always wanted to learn some basic yoga, it seems like such an awesome addition to any fitness program. Nearest classes are 45 minutes away and even if I knew the instructor was good (and I haven't a clue) I'm simply not going to drive that far, especially in winter road conditions, not to mention gas prices lately.

    Can anyone recommend a good starter book or video? 'Yoga for Dummies' or something like that? Google and Amazon throw up too many options and I don't have a lot of money to waste on something that isn't good.

    TIA for any suggestions.

  • #2
    I record "Yoga for Life" on the Veria network - Veria: Yoga for Life

    I really like him.


    • #3
      I haven't done yoga yet, but I think planks would be a good precursor!


      • #4
        do not bother with vids you need an instructor for yoga it is not like weight lifting at all
        BioForge Pro Max Phase II


        • #5
          I partially agree that an instructor is key. Maybe you could arrange other errands in town with a yoga class occasionally? Twice a month? It's just really helpful until you gain some confidence and know what the poses are.

          Barring that, I say go for the video. I've never done any and can't recommend any, but hopefully someone can. I might suggest starting with Iyengar yoga to really understand the basics and alignment. Stay away from restorative if you're looking for a workout. Vinyasa, for me, is the best combination of movement and strength building.
          The Paleo Periodical
          It's not a Diet. It's a lifestyle.


          • #6
            There's plenty of excellent videos for yoga and you can get very good instruction from them - I have a large collection and just adore yoga.

            What you get depends on what kind of yoga you want to do - are you looking for something geared toward flexibility or relaxation, are you looking to gain strength, etc.

            Anything by Sara Ivanhoe is great for beginners, she's a wonderful instructor who gives excellent cueing and instructions. Her "Candlelight Yoga" is a very popular one. (She also DOES a couple videos called "Yoga for Dummies" but I haven't tried those)

            Eoin Finn and Rainbau Mars are also top notch, but don't give as much basic instruction as something more beginner level. Though, I tried them early on in my yoga practice and didn't find them too hard to pick up.

            Rodney Yee is very popular and often recommended for beginners, especially his AM Yoga For Your Week. (I wasn't a big fan, but I could never pin down why)

            Anything from the Yoga Zone series is well done and I know they have some geared specifically for beginners.

            Baron Baptiste has some beginner level yoga videos, too, and he's a good instructor

            Try seeing what your local library has if you'd like to try out a few before buying anything. You can also find some free video yoga practices on iTunes, but I don't have any to specifically recommend for beginners.

            Good luck and enjoy!
            Sassy: Revised - my primal log


            • #7
              I have a Rodney Yee Yoga For Beginners and it's fine. Just like beginner yoga classes irl.


              • #8
                Out in the sticks where I live the folks don't cotton no "Yo-gee stuff" There are studios in the city but they are 30+ miles away and reeaal expensive. So I do a little yoga here Really good choice if your isolated or broke.
                And the meek shall inherit the earth.
                What good is a used up world, and how could it be worth having?


                • #9
                  I like Rodney Yee

                  NO video will replace a real instructor who will correct your alignment. However only about 30% of yoga "instructors" take the time to do that. If you have any chronic injury problems I would not do yoga without an instructor to start. (back, hip, knee or shoulder especially). If you are otherwise healthy I would try a good beginning yoga video and get familiar with the basic poses and terms. It might be useful to watch the video and double check some of the pose details online. (Yoga journal has a good catalog with beginner tips and cautions)

                  Once you have a basic grasp, take the time to take a few classes. Get some instructor led, a good instructor will teach you something you didnt pick up from a video almost every time.
                  MTA: because it is rare I dont have more to say

                  "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - my daughter Age 7


                  • #10
                    Hi! I'm a 500 hour ERYT. I love the videos posted on and The instruction is really good.
                    For books I love the Sivananda guide to yoga, Moving Into Balance and Autobiography of a Yogi

                    If you want more technical or academic stuff let me know =)
                    Strict Vegetarian going primal as of 3/2011. This is a tough row to hoe!

                    So far I am down:
                    • 6lbs
                    • 1% BMI
                    • 1" in my waist
                    • 2.5" at my belly button
                    • 1" in my hips


                    • #11
                      Light on yoga is the yoga bible. It has the poses (pictures)and descriptions of how to breathe and what to do. I still think that nothing replaces a good instructor though.


                      • #12
                        You guys! Thank you so much for all the great info. I've taken notes and will check out all the suggestions before I order any books or videos.

                        I'm sure an instructor would be the ideal way to start, but right now attending class isn't an option - broke & isolated pretty much nails it . (This month's play money went for the new Primal Cookbook.) The isolated part is by choice, I love it here. The broke part is a PITA though - ended up owing the f***ing IRS an extra $2500 - whole 'nother rant.

                        Thanks again everybody!


                        • #13
                          I love yoga! I've never taken a class, but did greatly enjoy "Namaste Yoga" on FitTV when we had TV service. Now I just use YogaZone on hulu or one of the several DVD's I have.


                          • #14
                            your closest library will likely have a fairly large selection of dvds and books to check out. then you don't buy anything you don't really want.

                            now, when i moved to NZ, i had to leave most of my yoga library in the US. know which book i brought? Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar.

                            it is a bit of an intimidating text at first, because it is *so* dense. it takes work to get it to work for you, but it is the best yoga book bar-none.

                            Now, it's best to use this book with the videos, and here is how.

                            step 1: watch the video without doing the video. this is just to sense the pacing. and it actually introduces you to how the movement "connects" intto the body.

                            step 2: do the video. just do your best and don't worry too much about alignment.

                            step 2 a: even though you needn't worry about alignment too much, here are three things to pay attention to when you are practicing for the first time:

                            1. work every posture that has straight legs with bent or slightly bent knees. For example, a lot of people do forward bend (standing) and it's all mid-back pulling and a mess. instead, bend your knees and feel it in the hamstrings and NOTHING in your back.

                            2. don't pull. just dont' PULL yourself into a pose. ease in. remember, bending knees, making it soft and accessible is what yoga is about, so don't push a posture.

                            3. if you have any specific special need/concern, let me know, and i'll give you some general pointers about it with some common postures you might find in a dvd.

                            step 3: once you have done the video, pick up the book. flip through it until you find a picture that is kind-a familiar -- possibly a posture you did on your video. *read the text that accompanies the pictures*. then, read them again visualize yourself doing the steps. to get into the posture. Then, look at the picture carefully and go over the steps in your mind (you'll have aha moments). then, when you do the video again, you'll follow these steps, and it will make more sense and be safer and more effective.

                            now, the pictures are sometimes printed far away from their instructions (sometimes one or two pages!). thus, you need to look at the picture and look at the number beneath the picture. then, you need to go back a page or two, or forward a page or two, and look for the instruction that says "as in figure 385" which is the label for the picture. Then, you know which posture description goes with which postures.

                            why iyengar has not more effectively reorganized this book, i do not know, but i have to teach everyone how to use it. it's impossible to just read front to back and "get." LOL

                            What else?

                            right, taking a class whenever you can is a good idea, but you want to make sure that the teacher is in the krishnamacharya lineage if you use LIght on Yoga. There are two lineages (sivananda -- such as the other 500 ERYT mentioned) and krishnamacharya. they are not at odds (no fighting), just that they are two different styles and their alignments are different. so, if you are working iyengar (who is krishnamacharya) as part o your alignment, then going to a sivananda teacher will sorta work against you. All you have to do is ask the teacher if s/he is in the krishnamacharya lineage. and if s/he doesn't know, then they don't know about yoga to spend your money on.

                            if you can't get to a regular class, a workshop on occasion would be great, too. whatever you can manage to get some instruction.

                            and runnergal is right. there are teachers who give hands-on assists, but very few of those teachers are effective. using her numbers, if 30% of teachers who teach give assists, i would assert that probably only 1/3 of those know what they are doing at all, and only probably 1/3 of those are really good at what they do.

                            fact is, it takes a lot of instruction that many taechers do not get (even after their 500 hrs of training or during it or whatever), and then it takes a long time to really learn it which comes with practice (so probably a lot of teachers who do know the basics of how to assist are still learning to get good at it). so, try to find the most experienced teacher you can. that doesn't just mean "yoga alliance" (which i'm starting to think more and more is very problematic), but that the person has A. taken yoga with a teacher for numerous years; B. has had extensive training; and C. has been teaching yoga for a number of years. The more years of each of these, the better. just ask the person to give you the numbers.


                            • #15
                              Zoebird, thank you for taking the time to list all that detail, it's going to be tremendously helpful! I've got all these replies saved and it's going to make choosing my materials so much less confusing.

                              Our county is roughly the size of the state of Connecticut, has a population of 6,000 and one tiny library. I'd be surprised if there are more than two books on yoga but I will check next time I'm in town. I only get down there a couple of times a month, if that. The yoga teacher I mentioned in my OP teaches at the little gym in town, along with all the other classes so you can take that for what it's worth - I doubt there's anything world-class going on there.