I received a message from a few people over twitter asking me for advice in regards to yoga. Many of them want to start, but aren’t sure how or where to. I was asked what I feel are some good DVD’s to buy or books. I didn’t hesitate to share my opinion…do I ever?
I am not a fan of doing yoga from a DVD you buy @ Chapters, or some other fitness outlet. I realize the convenience of it. I also realize how intimidating it can be to walk into a yoga class, especially if you haven’t taken part in it before. I’ve been there! We’ve all been there at some point in our lives with something or other.
The reason I don’t recommend doing your first or even second yoga class in the comfort of your own home, by yourself…with a DVD is because of the numerous things that can go WRONG!
First, you haven’t done a yoga class before so how do you know what to do. Videos tend to move quickly through postures with little explanation as to HOW and WHY you’re doing the pose. These two things are VERY important to a registered…REAL yoga teacher AND dedicated student.
HOW: Postures come with different variations. Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced. The GREAT thing about yoga is that it allows you to move through these at any point throughout your practice on any given day. Once you’ve worked at an advance level, you may jump from advanced back to beginners depending on what you; your body and soul need on THAT specific day. Throughout each class you should be given the option and SHOWN HOW to move deeper into a posture if you feel it’s right for you at that time.
WHY: As a yoga teacher, we’re taught what each posture does for your mind; body and spirit (if you choose to be open to that part of yoga) we’re taught how to sequence the postures so we may align the mind body and soul. A sequence of yoga poses are meant to do different things. For example I would never start a class in Natarajasa (Dancers Pose) as there are a few things your body needs to do to get ready for that pose. You should be aware of your body and know what needs to be stretched and worked before moving deeper. Being aware throughout your practice will help deepen the connection to yourself as well.
Secondly, during a class the teacher will adjust you and help you (if that’s ok with you) into deeper postures. We’re trying to make sure you reap the utmost benefits from each pose. Other reasons for adjustments are for modifying the posture when we feel you may benefit from doing a slight variation. When you’re by yourself following a book/video you may end up pushing yourself too far, not far enough and could end up hurting yourself due to the fact you weren’t aware of WHAT the pose was designed to do. I also feel that when people are at home filled with distractions they may not be completely committed, aware and present to really gain what they need from yoga. Be honest, who will is going to push you to your limits? Yourself or someone dedicated to guiding you through your practice?
Thirdly, You’re missing out on a few of the BEST parts of yoga:
• Meeting the community and your yoga teacher…maybe even making a new friend.
• Feeling and being inspired by the energy a room full of yoga students gives off...
this is actually incredible and makes me smile EVERY time! Everyone should
• Learning something new about yourself, or someone else.
• Being a part of something.
Yoga books are wonderful. They have a lot of useful information for those who have already studied the practice or at least been to a few yoga classes. DVD’s are a great way to keep up with your practice when you’re away or don’t have time to attend a class, ONCE you’re familiar with your body, yoga and the practice that’s right for you. I don’t think people realize HOW many different styles of YOGA there are. What is right for you may not be right for others even though YOU came out feeling amazing. I personally enjoy Hatha yoga, where my brother enjoys a structured Moksha yoga. Both are amazing in their own separate ways, but we as individuals, require different effects and outcomes.
Take the time to explore different styles of yoga and LEARN what they do for you and your body.
Always ask questions and above anything, relax and HAVE FUN!