“Yoga Teacher, what Yoga video do you recommend?”
I hear this a lot. (less formally, of course) and I love that people trust me to tell them what I might suggest.
I usually start off by asking if they have ever done any yoga, and if so, what kind? What are their goals? What are they hoping for in “doing” a yoga video?
This will by no means be an all-inclusive list of what is in my personal library or of what else I might recommend that I have tried, but might have slipped my mind…but these are the ones on the forefront! So, without further adieu, let’s get to it—the sooner we know, the sooner we get to our mats!
I will divide this up into Beginner, Advanced, and Specialty…
Note: Most yoga videos on the market use certain alignment principles that are more in tune with the Ashtanga or Power Yoga style of physical yoga, as opposed to the alignment principles of Anusara and some Iyengar. Most of you reading this note have no idea what that means, and it is TOTALLY OK!!! I just wanted to share that in case, as you are doing the videos and have been a student of mine, or Yahweh Yoga, and you know that I have encouraged you to keep your feet hip width apart in mountain pose for example, or in Warrior I, but the video you are watching may suggest feet together or one behind another, it is ok. Do what feels best in YOUR BODY. It is YOUR YOGA. You can only grow stronger from where YOU ARE, not from where someone else is. Meet yourself where you are, just like God does. =-)
Remember: feeling “weird” is good. Pain is bad.
So, yoga experts. You name them; I have probably heard of them…I may or may not have done any of their videos. Here are a few that I would recommend to beginners (not all, mind you, I know of more and have more):
Gentle Journey by Yahweh Yoga (where I trained). I love this video. It has been my go-to recommendation for a long time! It is about an hour long, and wonderful…and if you want to get a strong core, you certainly will here! (which is a foundation in getting healthier and stronger for sure!)
Yahweh Yoga is where I trained, and they have SEVERAL videos available, ranging in length from 1/2 hour to 1 hour, and ranging in type anywhere from Restorative, to Gentle, to Power, and all in between! Look for reviews on Amazon from “happy girl”.) I believe Gentle Journey is a must-have for the yoga video library.
(By the way, Deanna Smothers is THE quintessential warm, earth mamma. To know her is to love her. Let her voice wash over you like the hug that it is.)
1-Hour Gentle Journey Level Two with DeAnna Smothers–it’s Round 2 of Gentle Journey!
1/2 Hour Gentle Journey by Yahweh Yoga—have less time? This half hour version of the Gentle Journey class is lovely and will either get you going for the day, break up the day, or finish it off just right! De-stress, stretch, detoxify, and sweat.
Yoga for Christians with Susan Bordenkircher—this one comes with a book called Yoga for Christians. Very cool. My first experience before I found Yahweh yoga. Simple video, easy to follow.
The Baron Baptiste Power Vinyasa yoga for beginners and all levels LIVE! Series... there are a few titles in this series, and I got each one for less than a buck. They are a little harder to find now. “Core Power” (mostly core workout- 30 minutes), “Unlocking Athletic Power” (all-over workout- 30 minutes), and “Soul of Strength“ (all-over workout- 60 minutes) Baron also has another 60 minute Power yoga video for beginners that I love—Journey into Power-Baptiste-Power Vinyasa Yoga Level 1 Beginners. These are secular videos, though he does give spiritual quotes from various faiths. Talks like Pauly Shore. Great instruction.
**Also, if you have Netflix, I know that they have his “long and lean yoga” in their streaming library…
Pure and Simple Yoga from Blissology/Eoin Finn---aka, my newest favorite! Eion's infectious enthusiam for yoga and for joy, and a combo of both with a love of nature is soooo good. And the yoga itself is stellar---this video is exactly what it says. Also, feel free to check out his free youtube videos: "At Least Try This" and "Joy Flow Yoga" (though Joy Flow will be more advanced).
LivingArts A.M. yoga for beginners and P.M. yoga for beginners with Rodney Yee and Patricia Walden…
a 2 video set. Very simple and not very long, but a good start. (secular, not Christian…no actual faith promoted that I can remember) I will admit, I prefer the a.m. video with Rodney over the other, but that is just me.
Sara Ivanhoe’s Yoga Target Zone (Body Makeover series) …a 2 disc set exclusive to Target (or so it says)… Five 20-minute yoga routines to be mixed and matched by you, according to what you are after that day—wanna do a little or a lot? Detox, weight loss? —plus a bonus routine using a big exercise ball that is about an hour long. She is very personable and instructs well, kinda quirky and funny, too. I love this when I don’t have a lot of time but know I need to do SOMETHING. Also, secular, though she does give you some yogic hand gestures to use at the end, should you choose, but these videos are pretty much the physical part of yoga, less of the spiritual.
Just My Size: Yoga with Megan Garcia or MegaYoga …These videos were designed specifically with plus-size viewers in mind, but I found the first to be a great instructional video that is not intimidating in the least. The actual “workout” portion did not seem to focus on anything particular to the video’s intended demographic, but there is a special feature with tips that might help. Truly, it is just a very basic pose “dip your toe in the water” kind of a thing, so for the absolutely new-to-yoga, not a bad idea to try…MegaYoga is a newer release that I have not yet tried…however, being newer, it seems easier to find, and possibly cheaper!
Some of these videos will include at the end, the salutation, Namaste.
Think of it as Shalom. It means the Divine with me acknowledges/is grateful to the Divine within you.
(We call that the Holy Spirit, and hallelujah, Amen!)
Faithful Flow by Yawheh Yoga—the first intermediate/advanced video they produced. A great mix of balance poses, strength challenges, and dynamic flow! And it seems like no matter what is going on with me, the Scripture used is RIGHT ON TARGET. The music may be quiet, but this is not a “just sit and stretch” class, for sure!
(note: if you ever do get to go to a live flow class with Courtney Chalfant, there will be some soft music, but you will also rock out! I highly recommend BOTH experiences…I know my classes are very similar to hers…either because she is such a great role model for me, or because we are so alike! It helps that she is now one of my best friends and my soul sister.)
1-hour Power by Yahweh Yoga–“combines breath and movement to take you to both your mental and physical edge”. Variations in poses for both intermediate and advanced students. Arm balances included.
1/2 hour Faithful Flow–another great one for those days when your time is short! How much can you get done in 30 minutes? PLENTY. And you will still have time for relaxation. AND FEEL AMAZING AFTERWARDS.
Yoga X–if you have either P90x or P90x 2, both of the Yoga day videos are EXCELLENT.
(I would not buy the whole program just for those videos, but I would buy the program for other reasons! They are amazing! I have not done the P90x 2 program in entirety though, only the Yoga day, which I loved. We bought the program for my hubby, who wants to repeat P90x–which we both did two years ago and loved–before he starts #2.)
I love, love, love any yoga that Tony Horton does. I was skeptical at first, when my husband and I were doing P90x, expecting to find what I like to call “gym yoga”. Nope! Pleasantly surprised! It is very clear that Tony has had some great teachers, and he says things on the video regarding alignment, etc, that I have been saying to my students for a long time.
Fountain of Youth Yoga with Tony Horton–part of the Beachbody One-on-One Series. I love this video. It is about 45 to 50 minutes of just good yoga. Enough said.
Patience Hummingbird Yoga with Tony Horton–another from the One-on-One series. I have not tried it yet, but it is on my wish list! may even order it this week as the Yoga Challenge is coming up! I know that I love Tony’s yoga, so I am sure to love this.
If you are interested in checking those out, you can find them by going HERE and clicking on the "shop" button...do a search under Trainers for Tony Horton and find the yoga...
APY 60 by American Power Yoga, with Kurt Johnsen. –a 60 day series that includes a kitchen guide, tips for in the kitchen, reminder bracelets, a workout calendar, and more. There are modifications for the less advanced. Very fun and challenging. The only thing I might wish were different is that while there is a new “Morning Blend” video for each day (about 15 minutes long), the actual yoga class only changes weekly, so theoretically you might be doing the same yoga video every day for 6 days while doing this program. When I did it, I only did the video about 3 to 4 times a week, but then again, I was also teaching elsewhere and subbed in a few of my other videos. I love his mix with martial arts training as well.
The Blissology Project with Eoin Finn (and just about any of his other videos!)
I have only discovered Eoin recently, and boy, I am glad that I did! See my notes regarding his practice in the "beginner" sections...but also know this: as of THIS version of this post, July 2017, his videos are habitually 70% off on his website at www.blissology.com. SO INEXPENSIVE, AND SO WORTH IT.
Power Yoga with Bryan Kest–There are 3 DVDs in this set. This is from a few year’s back, and I will tell you, you might think, “this is the stereotypical yoga dude”, as he had a massive and beautiful mane of curly black hair, was shirtless and calm, etc…don’t let that stuff throw you. This is some great yoga, and you will not suddenly become “typical yoga dude” yourself…unless you want to.
(Let’s face it. When I started doing yoga, my life changed. Not because yoga itself is mystical, I mean, in a sense it IS “just stretching”, “just breathing”, “just strengthening” in poses…but for me, that quiet connection with myself and requirement to just be where I was in a difficult moment is what leaned me out and calmed me down like no other exercise had before. Scripture says, “Be still and know that He is God.” Psalm 46:10 I do that a lot more often when I do yoga. And everything seems to get better and balanced. )
Aim True Yoga with Kathryn Budig–2 great workouts to improve, or START, your arm balance practice! And Kathryn Budig is just kinda cool. I dig her.
-Restorative, Prenatal, and Seniors or other Limited Mobility-
1-hour Relax, Rest, and Restore with Courtney Chalfant–another of the newest videos from Yahweh Yoga. A totally de-stressing and relaxing experience with most postures on the floor, using props like bolsters and blankets to aid in your relaxation. This is the kind of class most people think yoga is, as opposed to the sweat-inducing, muscle-producing flow yoga that a lot of us do…and what is hilarious is, in our Western Society, THIS is the type of yoga we need to make an effort to add in to our lives! We are so busy go-go-going, that we don’t stop flowing long enough to be and release. And THAT is where Restoration happens. So be sure to choose something like this at least once a week to balance out that “type A” mentality our entire culture has these days! *This is also appropriate for PRE-NATAL.
1/2 hour Stretch, Relax and Restore with Courtney Chalfant–when you are short on time but you know you need to re-focus and re-center before the world “seems” to come crashing down…=-)
1/2 Hour Healing and Recovery with DeAnna Smothers–perfect when you are going through some emotional and physical healing or just need to be reminded that it is the Lord who heals you and heals all of your heartaches and diseases…quiet your mind and re-center yourself in Christ. Almost all postures are on the floor.
*Great for PRENATAL and beginners, too!
*(the term “limited mobility” can mean anything from those limited by advanced years and/or arthritis, or those coping with inflammatory disease such as Chronic Fatique Syndrome or Fibromalgia–which the above restorative videos are also VERY good for!–, OR the very latter stages of Pregnancy. )
Yoga for your pregnancy–from Yoga Journal and Lamaze, with Kristen Eykel. This has 2 yoga practices. One 30 minute for energy and strength, and the other a 15 minute for relaxation and refreshing. Various stages of pregnancy represented. There are also bonus technique features.
Shiva Rea Prenatal Yoga–Poses for each trimester featured, emphasis on proper technique and deep breathing.
Yoga for the Rest of Us, with Peggy Cappy–A well rounded practice for people with various stages of mobility. Modifications given and demonstrated for those who need the use of a chair or not, etc. There is a “sequel” to this video called “MORE Yoga for the Rest of us“, and there are other themed videos such as Yoga for Arthritis, Back bare basics, and others.
Lillias! A.M. and P.M. Yoga–Lillias may be someone you or your parent recognizes as “that yoga lady” from years ago…she has been on TV doing yoga for some time. This is a great set of a 2 practices: a morning and an evening practice which incorporate things like pillows and chairs for a gentle class.
Ho’Ala ke Kino “Awaken the Body”, with Tony Horton–this is a 30 minute video that incorporates some yoga with some other stretching and strengthening moves to get the blood pumping and get your day going. I am just including it in my list as again, I like Tony’s yoga, and this is a pretty well-rounded and easy routine. Also, it is filmed live on a beach in Hawaii…what could be more yogic than THAT? =-)
Feel free to message me with questions either on Facebook or at support@RobynHurst.com.
Have a blessed day, and to God be the Glory in all that you do!
Ps…As I mentioned Susan Bordenkircher’s book, Yoga for Christians, I would be remiss if I did not also mention a few others that I LOVE.
Christian Yoga: Restoration for Body and Soul, from Yahweh Yoga
An Invitation to Christian Yoga, by Nancy Roth
Prayer of Heart and Body: Meditation and Yoga as Christian Spiritual Practice, by Father Thomas Ryan
Mega Yoga: the first yoga program for curvy women, by Megan Garcia
Again, this is not a “comprehensive” list by any means of my own full library, or all the videos I might ever recommend…in fact, even as I write this, I have discovered new videos that I want to try myself! My advice, research them…where did they come from, what kind of yoga are they doing, before you invest…and then don’t be afraid to try new things! You just might stretch and breathe yourself into exactly who God purposed for you to be! And all to His Glory!
New International Version (NIV)
A Living Sacrifice
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
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