The best yoga video has

  • A knowledgeable instructor with excellent form. The best yoga instructors will display a solid knowledge of placement and breathing patterns, and clearly demonstrate poses at a pace appropriate to the student's skill level.
  • Voice-over/cuing options. Reviewers appreciate the ability to turn off a voice-over and just listen to background music, which is especially nice when you're familiar with a video and have the instructions memorized.
  • Modifications for different skill levels. The instructor should thoroughly explain pose modifications and ideally have another student demonstrate those variations on camera -- this is particularly important in DVDs for beginners.
  • Engaging workouts. The best yoga videos should offer enough variety in movement and routines to ensure the program is still entertaining and effective after several uses.
  • Progressive programs. You'll get more use out of a yoga video if it offers you a more challenging workout as your skill level progresses.

Know before you go

What type of video do you want? If you want to reduce stress or recover from your normal workout routine, consider a restorative yoga program. If you want an intense session, power yoga may be for you. If increasing strength and flexibility is your goal, many of the yoga DVDs reviewed here can help.

What's your current fitness level? If you're already very fit, consider intermediate- to advanced-level videos so you get the most from your practice and don't get bored. Those who are just starting yoga will want a beginner's DVD that leads you through poses in more detail.

How much time do you have and how quickly do you bore? If you're short on time, look for a yoga video with a variety of short sessions. These titles can also keep you interested longer because you can mix and match them to create a customized routine. If you bore easily or are looking for lots of variety, consider a program with several different routines.

Do you like to work out in the morning or evening? Many yoga videos provide special morning workouts with an energizing focus and evening workouts that promote relaxation.

Do you want to learn about yoga's spiritual aspects? Yoga instructors vary widely in how much attention they give yoga's spiritual side. If chanting, meditation and the like appeal to you, look for a traditional instructor. Otherwise, stick to more modern practitioners who focus on yoga's physical benefits.

Does dated or poor production bother you? Some yoga videos are better than others when it comes to production value, and several of the most popular titles are showing their age. Look for a newer title if you think you'll be easily distracted.

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