Many yoga videos assume that viewers have some background knowledge about yoga: Instructors may use complicated terminology or move quickly between poses without detailed, step-by-step instructions. However, you won't run into these problems with DVDs tailored to beginners. They include plenty of comprehensive instruction, plus the instructor will demonstrate modifications or easier variations of challenging poses.
While novice yoga practitioners may prefer a beginner-specific title, we found great reviews for the four-DVD set Tara Stiles: This is Yoga (*Est. $20) . The collection includes Daily Yoga, Beginner Yoga, AM/PM Yoga and the Complete Yoga Library for Everyone, which demonstrates single poses one by one. The set is slightly more expensive than a single DVD, but reviewers say it's an excellent modern introduction to yoga.
A model turned yoga instructor, Stiles gained notoriety when the New York Times deemed her the "rebel" of yoga. To that she famously replied, "Who made these rules?" The owner of New York yoga studio Strala, Stiles disregards many of the traditional, formal ideas surrounding yoga. She follows no particular school of yoga and eschews its classic philosophies. Instead, Stiles focuses on yoga's physical and health benefits. Reviewers say she provides excellent instruction, with a strong focus on placement and technique to get the most physical benefit. Users who prefer a more modern say Stiles is warm, approachable and less "cheesy" than traditional yogis. Plus, she provides enough demonstrated modifications to allow those of various fitness levels to customize their routines.
Beginner Yoga features straightforward, basic poses that are clearly explained and demonstrated. Those with minimal yoga knowledge should be able to follow along easily, and the Complete Yoga Library breaks down the most popular poses in detail. The benefit of the set is that beginners can work their way through the series when they're ready for a bigger challenge. The series is a top pick in recent video roundups from popular fitness and healthy-living websites FitSugar.com, FitBottomedGirls.com and O, The Oprah Magazine. Amazon.com customers give the set 4.5 stars out of 5, with more than 30 rating it a perfect 5 stars. We name This is Yoga the best-reviewed beginner's yoga video for its adaptability and Stiles' excellent, detailed instruction.
In addition to the positive feedback for its routines and instructor, This is Yoga receives excellent reviews for its modern sets that range from a balcony at LA's luxurious Standard Hotel to an urban rooftop. Some viewers find the obtuse camera angles distracting, but overall, this top-rated DVD is the go-to choice for those who want a modern introduction to yoga.
If you're looking for a true beginner's yoga DVD, we found good reviews for Kimberly Fowler's The No Om Zone (*Est. $14) . It's designed specifically for those new to yoga and includes three 15-minute workouts for upper body, lower body and core. Fowler, a triathlete and founder of YAS Fitness Centers, takes a straightforward approach to yoga and promises "no chanting" and "no granola." The video is filmed in a simple brick studio with no background music except for the intro and cool-down periods.
User reviews at Amazon.com, where The No Om Zone gets an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5, say Fowler provides encouraging, no-nonsense instruction. Kristen Seymour at ThatsFit.com agrees, saying The No Om Zone is "definitely one of the better options out there for yoga newbies." Viewers like that they can do a quick 15-minute workout or combine all three for a longer session. However, some say Fowler moves too quickly between poses, and those with previous yoga experience may find the workouts too simple. "If you have ever done yoga before, you will find this DVD immensely unchallenging. I didn't break a sweat, nor did I even get out of breath," one owner writes. Others wish the sessions were longer.