A short list for jump-starting your home practice including: cable TV, DVDs, books & one website …
ROCK ON, You Go-Getters!
TIME WARNER DIGITAL CABLE subscribers already have access to one of the best resources right at their extended fingertips. FIT-TV (channel 220 in Austin, TX) runs a daily yoga show, Namaste Yoga. Not only is it highly touted, it’s offered 3 times a day, just in case you don’t have TiVo. DVD’s can be awesome, but the same sequence will ulitimately get boring. These 30-minute shows are well-instructed, relaxing and easy-to-follow. If you have access to this channel, I’d certainly start here first before buying a DVD.
In Austin, Namaste Yoga is shown at 7:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 5:00 p.m. daily (central). Be sure to note that the schedule of upcoming shows is posted for with Eastern Time. Also, the same episode runs in all 3 time slots on any given day, so if you can record, just set the timer for ONE of the times.
“FitTV’s new series, Namaste Yoga, introduces you to the graceful flow of sequenced Yoga phrases. And if you’re looking for an excellent exercise routine, Namaste is ideal. It introduces newcomers to the world of Yoga, and provides those more experienced with a structural regime to practice. The series is designed and narrated by Kate Potter, one of Canada’s leading Yoga teachers.”
On DVD (3 Titles)
There are many titles offered — some worthwhile and some just adequate. Let me preface MY recommendations with the caveat that I have not actually practiced along with any of these. However, all three have been highly recommended by other yoga practitioners & teachers who I respect.
FYI … A great place for very inexpensive exercise (yoga, pilates, etc.) DVD’s and videos in Austin, Texas is Half-price Books. No guarantee that you’ll find exactly what you want but the cost is substantially cheaper than at a retail store. When you can pick up a video for $4 you don’t feel too bad if it’s not exactly what you wanted.
Shiva Rea – Yoga Shakti (2004) Starring: Jean-Michel Jarre, Marc Caro
Editorial Reviews from Amazon.com
Comprehensive but user-friendly, reasonably challenging but accessible to a variety of levels, Yoga Shakti is inarguably one of the best yoga products on the market–no small achievement when one considers just how many of them there are. Instructor-creator Shiva Rea, a California-based yogi of considerable international renown, specializes in vinyasa yoga (a vinyasa is essentially a series of flowing, connected poses, incorporating breath and movement and cultivating heat, strength, flexibility, and balance). Four complete practices are presented, ranging in length from 42 to 85 minutes and including Basic Flow (for beginners), two more vigorous Solar Flow sequences, and a Lunar Flow sequence falling somewhere in the middle in terms of degree of difficulty; familiar poses like sun salutations, forward bends, lunges, twists, and inversions are featured, although Rea adds many of her own touches (such as the four “dancing warrior” sections, sun salutation variations designed for intermediate users and focusing on hips, backbends, and so on), and there are also sections devoted to pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation. It’s all good, but the principal innovation of Yoga Shakti is the “yoga matrix,” which allows users to customize and program their own workouts, drawing on portions of any or all of the four sequences to create series of various lengths and levels of intricacy (some guidelines are suggested for the less experienced) and thus keep their practices fresh and evolving. One can also do the various workouts with or without the instruction audio track on (the Indian-New Age-flavored music is quite good, and usually unobtrusive), and there’s even an entire second disc, containing interviews, additional instruction, travel footage (filming took place primarily in India and the Maldive Islands), and more. All in all, Yoga Shakti is most impressive. –Sam Graham
A.M. and P.M. Yoga for Beginners (2000) Starring: Rodney Yee, Patricia Walden Director: Steve Adams
This DVD is very popular with two instructors are who are highly-respected and trained. It contains (2) 20-minute sequences — one for morning, one for evening. Nice if you just want a little yoga to start and end your day but may not offer much of a challenge.
Editorial Reviews from Amazon.com
A.M. Yoga for Beginners: “The morning is a precious time,” says the narrator of A.M. Yoga for Beginners. “Just as the sun rises and falls, so do our natural rhythms. The morning is perfect time to open our bodies and center our minds.” This 20-minute yoga practice with supple instructor Rodney Yee is the perfect way to start your day by energizing your body and calming your mind. Filmed on the beach at Maui at sunrise, the video starts with a 4-minute Conscious Relaxation focusing on breathing, then glides into a 14-minute series of yoga poses that are simultaneously relaxing and energizing. It ends with a 2-minute seated Guided Meditation to center your body and mind. Yee’s instruction is detailed and gentle. The video is beautifully filmed: you watch the waves roll in as Yee demonstrates yoga poses on a sandy beach. The yoga practice awakens and stretches your muscles gently, leaving you balanced and focused. “Yoga is the foundation of my day,” says Yee. “A few minutes in the morning will help give meaning to your day.” –Joan Price
P.M. Yoga for Beginners: “The evening is the perfect time to calmly transition between being active and being quiet,” says Patricia Walden, instructor of P.M. Yoga for Beginners. “One of the greatest gifts yoga has to offer is deep relaxation.” This 20-minute program is designed to balance, calm, and revitalize you at the end of the day. It starts with centering poses: gentle stretches bringing awareness and quiet to your senses. Next are standing poses to release tension, increase circulation, expand the lungs, and help you breathe more deeply. Next, forward bends cool the body and bring quiet to the nervous system. The final restorative poses are so relaxing that you may fall asleep. Walden tells you not only how to do the poses, but what you should feel, and how to quiet your body and your mind. Instruction is soothing and explicit. Although this video is aimed at beginners, seldom are modifications given for the less flexible novice, so if any pose causes discomfort or seems impossible, don’t push beyond your personal comfort level. The video was filmed on the windswept sands of Death Valley. –Joan Price
Ali MacGraw – Yoga Mind & Body (1994) Starring: Ali MacGraw, Erich Schiffmann Director: Claudio Droguett
One of my first yoga instructors suggested this one to me. This one moves through the sun salutation sequence and offers both shorter and longer sequences!
Amazon.com Editorial Reviews:
Clean white sand and a cool predawn sky are the backdrops for this stunningly produced video, complete with an upbeat New Age soundtrack. Don’t be put off by the MTV-like camera work, as this video constitutes an excellent, well-balanced workout. Ali MacGraw and a supporting cast of something-for-everyone models work through this 50-minute routine, overseen by yoga master Erich Schiffman. The first minutes focus on ujjayi breathing, then MacGraw leads us through a complete practice of shoulder stretches, sun salutations, back bends and twists, and standing poses. No equipment is required, but a sticky mat is recommended. Unlike other videos targeted for beginners, Yoga Mind & Body does not offer modifications for difficult poses and so is best suited for practitioners with some previous experience. — Jhana Bach
Product Description: Explore a unique daily fitness regimen with actress Ali McGraw and yoga works, presenting a combination of short and long physical workouts and meditation periods to achieve well-being in body and mind. Year: 1994 Director: Claudio Droguett Starring: Ali MacGraw
BOOK Recommendations (Two Titles)
Yoga Your Way: Customizing Your Home Practice (Spiral-bound) by Cindy Dollar (Author), Susanna MacKenzie Euston (Author)
If you buy only one book for home practice, get this one. Very good, very easy to follow, useful information and a great price!
Editorial Reviews From Publishers Weekly
For yoga fans who’d like to test their prowess at home but are feeling unsure of where to begin and how to proceed, Dollar and Euston offer a handily designed guide to the whole process. Beginning with instructions on how to set up a yoga space at home—all you really need is a quiet spot with a hard floor—their book provides 31 possible routines (a.k.a., practices) that range from 10 minutes to 45 minutes each. The spiral bound book is designed with a split in the middle, so that readers can keep the practice list on one side while flipping through the pose instructions on the other. There are plenty of photos and clear advice to be found here. Novices are sure to find the book’s indices (by time, theme and body area) helpful, but advanced home yoga practitioners probably won’t need any help figuring out that a good restoring practice always ends in corpse pose.
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Book Description: A unique split-page format helps yoga lovers easily personalize their routines—and keep their home practice varied, fun, and highly individual. With the help of this unique and innovative manual, yoga practitioners can work to their optimum level and tailor their exercise to fit their individual needs. The secret lies in the split-page design that features 40 poses, or asanas, on one side and 30 practice routines on the other. Every yogi will be able to construct an ideal session, whether the desire is for a quick 10-minute routine to destress or a full 45-minute workout that strengthens back muscles. Color photos capture the intricacies of each movement; notes on details and variations accompany each pose; and there are observations, advice, and frequently asked questions for particular positions. Beginners will especially appreciate the valuable information on creating a pleasant practice environment, using the book in conjunction with other yoga instructions, and finding and working with props.
The Woman’s Book of Yoga and Health: A Lifelong Guide to Wellness (Paperback) by Linda Sparrowe (Author), Patricia Walden (Author), Judith Hanson Lasater (Foreword)
This book is great for practitioners who are interested in sequences for women’s issues — PMS, depression, anxiety, energizing, restorative, back issues, osteoperosis prevention, menopause, eating disorders/body image. Good clear descriptions and pictures, lots of modifications, & shows how to use a chair, wall, blankets, & straps to assist your practice. Good information on the benefits of each pose and also contains info on those who should avoid doing any particular pose or sequence.
Editorial Reviews From Booklist
Sparrowe, former editor of Yoga Journal, has teamed up with one of the most preeminent yoga instructors in the country, Walden, to put together a comprehensive guide to yoga for women. The book contains numerous yoga sequences and photos and is designed to be a lifelong reference guide for female practitioners. Basic sequences for women are covered as well as recommended sequences for pregnancy and menstruation. The chapters for later stages of life are particularly helpful, with sequences addressing such issues as erratic mood swings and hot flashes. Sparrowe and Walden are frank about their own experiences with aging and also draw on the experiences of other seasoned yoga practitioners to provide honest, practical advice. The book covers many other health issues, with relevance to both men and women, such as eating disorders, back problems, depression, and immune system disorders. Jane Tuma
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AND OH, SO MANY MORE … Tons of other books that I love with all different slants. If you are interested in any particular focus, I’d be happy to make some further recommendations: from yoga philosophy to yoga for particular health issues (bad backs, knees) to yoga for men to yoga for a particular sport.
Finally … Best General Yoga Website Resource: YOGA JOURNAL
Offering a VAST archive of articles from Yoga Journal. The search engine is awesome — you can look up every kind of pose, find sequences (say balancing) or search for info on “tight hips” or “wrist problems.” You can learn more about yoga philosophy, the meaning of namaste, why people chant “om” It is all encompassing! You can subscribe to 6 different newsletters — from a daily insight to a weekly eating wisely update. If you’re curious at all about anything yoga, you’re sure to find it here.