If you're completely new to yoga and want a gentle, unintimidating introduction to the practice, reviewers say it's hard to beat Yoga for Beginners (Est. $9) , produced by Bodywisdom Media. Instructor Barbara Benagh is "meticulous" at explaining poses and breathing, and her encouraging attitude helps spur on newbies, reviewers say. They also like the program's variety, which focuses on strength, flexibility and relaxation. It features solid production values and a large range of pose modifications. But students with even a little bit of previous yoga experience may be bored with the slow pace, and a few reviewers wish the program was better edited to help the workout flow more smoothly.
"Yoga for Beginners" is filmed on a California beach that reviewers say is beautiful and relaxing. Music is kept to a minimum, so Benagh can focus on instruction. Among its many workouts are an energizing morning workout and a quieter evening workout to relax before bed.
Those who have a bit of experience but still consider themselves beginners may want to check out Rodney Yee's Yoga for Beginners (Est. $10) . Yee, one of the most well-known yogis in the business, gets uniformly high marks for his calming, almost "hypnotic" presence. The program includes a detailed pose training session and discusses common mistakes for beginners to avoid. Yee puts an emphasis on breathing and mental clarity, which are hallmarks of a traditional yoga experience.
Reviewers love the Hawaiian beach setting in Yee's video and its subdued music. The voice-overs can also be turned off to further cut down distractions. But some say the program moves too fast for true yoga beginners, and others complain there are too many ads to wade through before they can start their workout.
If you want to learn yoga poses but have little interest in its more spiritual aspects, reviewers say Tara Stiles: This is Yoga (Est. $20) will be a perfect introduction. Stiles, christened a "yoga rebel" for paying little attention to anything but yoga's physical benefits, specifically strength, flexibility and flow. She prefers to skip meditation and discussions about mental clarity. Reviewers say her workouts are thorough and effective, and she offers a greater variety of routines than many other programs. Some reviewers say Stiles is a bit too speedy and can be hard to follow, however. Others complain that she is "detached" and pays too little attention to breathing. There are four videos in this series.