When I've talked to beginner yogis, they often state they're hesitant to go to a yoga studio because they're worried they won't be able to keep up or they'll otherwise embarrass themselves.
Regardless of what sport you participate in, you started as a beginner, and I think these feelings are common and quite valid when you're new at anything. If you've been going to yoga classes for a while, though, you now know that you never pay attention to anyone while you're practicing.
Try telling a beginner this, and they'll probably roll their eyes and ask how they can get started with yoga at home.
With this request comes the necessity of yoga DVDs. These are a fantastic way to get started with yoga in the comfort (and privacy) of your own home.
You can learn the basic poses without worrying about other students are watching and judging you because of your inexperience.
As a judgement-free yogi, I have to tell you that you'll never face scrutiny of any kind in a yoga studio, so when you're ready to take your practice public, you shouldn't have to feel like you're in a competition.
In this mini guide, you'll find what are, in my opinion, the five best beginner yoga DVDs out there. I tried to pick programs that are accessible for everyone but allow you to grow as your practice progresses, as well as DVDs that fit specific fitness-related goals.
**Below, you'll find our hand-tested reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
How to Choose the Best Yoga DVD for Beginners
Have you sat down at your computer and searched for a yoga DVD? There are hundreds of DVDs out there! Are you feeling overwhelmed? Understandable, so take a minute and let me guide you through making your first purchase.
Pick a Style of Yoga
There are so many styles of yoga out there, but picking the one that's right for you is difficult when you aren't sure what the difference among the styles is. The following isn't an exhaustive list, but these styles are the types you'll most likely find on DVDs for your home practice.
- Hatha: This is one of the most popular types of yoga found in studios. Some would say it's "gentle" because there isn't a lot of cardio involved, but there's plenty of strength building when you're holding poses for five to 10 breaths.
It's definitely the best way to get started with yoga because the pace is slower and the teachers are very alignment focused.
- Vinyasa: If you're looking for a cardio workout, give vinyasa a try. Unlike Hatha where the poses are held, vinyasa classes have you hold a pose for one breath before moving on to the next asana. It's a perfect mix of sweat, strength, and stretching.
- Power yoga: This is, by far, the most athletic form of yoga. Power yoga is designed to get you stronger and more fit. It builds a ton of upper body strength and improves your flexibility and balance. It is typically a flow sequence, so expect some cardio, too.
- Yin/restorative: Yin and restorative classes are very relaxing and have little to no strength work involved. You'll hold seated or supine poses for extended periods of time (five minutes, minimum) to open your muscles and joints.
These classes improve your flexibility, sleep, and digestion with almost no effort.
Identify your Goals
You'll want to define your goals before you can pin down a type of yoga. Everyone comes to yoga for a different reason, and that's okay! That's why there are so many styles of yoga now because yoga is for everyone and every body.
It doesn't matter if you're starting out overweight, coming off an injury, or you're a distance runner. You can benefit from all types of yoga, but I understand buying a DVD with every style isn't going to help you make a decision!
Your Goals + Style of Yoga:
Weight loss/toning/fitness: Vinyasa, power, Hatha
Flexibility: Hatha, yin, power
Relaxation: Yin, restorative
Complementing a sport/activity: Yin, vinyasa, power
There certainly isn't a limit to how many goals you can have for your practice. Many people start out with a physical or mental (spiritual or emotional) goal in mind and they end up changing it completely.
There's no wrong reason to start your yoga practice. Just pick a goal to start with and let it evolve with your practice!
My Beginner Yoga DVD Picks
Now that you've got an idea of what kind of yoga you want to do or what goals you've got in mind, you can wade through the hundreds of DVDs on the market.
I break my list down into one DVD of each style of yoga I listed above, and the fifth is the DVD that is the most versatile in terms of combining a few styles of yoga.
The main workouts are:
- 70-minutes: Basics
- 70-minutes: Strength
- 40-minutes: Energy
- 30-minutes: Rejuvenation/relaxation
- 55-minutes: Quieting
Hatha Yoga: "Yoga for Beginners" with Barbara Benagh
This dvd is definitely my top pick for true beginners!
- If you don't know a warrior from a tree pose, then Benagh's program will gently ease you in with moderately paced flows and plenty of alignment tips.
- With over 240 minutes of content, you get eight practices total. The DVD begins with the flow broken down pose by pose so you get a basic idea of the names of the poses you'll be doing.
- All of the practices are at least 30-minutes in length, so you're really getting your money's worth.
- Benagh sometimes moves a bit too quickly through poses, especially if you're looking down at your feet or knees to align yourself.
- If you're in exceptional shape or pretty familiar with yoga, this DVD is going to be too slow for you.
- The editing isn't that great, and sometimes it felt like it was pieced together by an amateur.
Power Yoga: Bryan Kest's "Power Yoga"
- Even if you're a beginning student, there are three workouts that get progressively more difficult so yogis of all levels can benefit from the DVD.
- Each workout, even the "easy" one, is going to help you get stronger and fitter.
- You get enough of a challenge with each practice that it's difficult to get bored despite there only being one practice per skill level.
- This is a very fluff-free type of practice, so if you like the internal aspect of yoga, you'll miss it in these workouts.
- The "easiest" practice is going to be pretty difficult if you are in poor shape. I definitely recommend having adequate fitness prior to starting this program.
- Expect to gain both strength and cardio from this video, but if you want flexibility and relaxation, you'd better look elsewhere.
Seane Corn's "Vinyasa Flow Yoga: Uniting Movement And Breath"
It doesn't matter if you attend an advanced or beginner vinyasa class, the basis of a vinyasa practice is the two sun salutations (A and B).
- Different teachers will spice your salutations up or keep them traditional, but Seane Corn teaches you how to combine your breath with your movement for an effective and cleansing practice.
- Seane Corn is one of the leading teachers in vinyasa yoga, and she gives you a variety of techniques, modifications, and options to use props.
- This is an awesome DVD for beginners and advanced yogis alike because of her flawless alignment tips. The first DVD is slow and detailed and the second lets you put the poses together for a faster, challenging flow.
- Unless you master the first practice, the second one is going to move too quickly for you because there are no verbal cues.
- The practice is mostly sun salutations, and they're pretty basic, so you might get bored fairly quickly if you do this DVD a few times per week.
Yin/Restorative Yoga: Yin Yoga: The Foundations of a Quiet Practice
This is a two-disc set that totals 5.5 hours of content! Even if you consider yourself an athlete, yin yoga is going to greatly benefit your sport.
- You get massive amounts of content, including 2 60-minute yin sequences, a 60-minute yin and yang practice, and 3 yang (more upbeat) practices.
- Enjoy customizable sequencing of the yin-yang practice for multiple new sequences.
- The 2 hours of lecture on yin-yang yoga practices gives you great information on anatomy and how a yin practice benefits everyone.
- Sometimes the lecture gets a bit redundant or long winded.
- The yang sequences make the DVD worth the price, but it isn't hard to find a yang practice elsewhere.
- If you aren't accustomed to yin, the five minute holds might be unbearable (mentally).
Most Versatile: Tara Stiles' "This Is Yoga"
This package has four DVDs, so it's easy to find a practice that meets whatever your current goal is. In total, the DVDs have 12 practices to choose from, all of them in varying lengths. A few of the practices available:
- Beginners Flow: 30 minutes of flow that teaches you how to move with your breath while evenly building your strength and flexibility.
- Strong Flow: 60 minutes of flow focusing on strength, balance, and work towards inversions.
- Relaxed Easygoing Flow: 15 minutes of flow to open your hips, lengthen your hamstrings, and help you feel like there's more space in your body.
- You won't be loaded with the sounds of the beach or gently tinkling chimes. Tara put modern, upbeat music with her flows.
- There are AM/PM flows that you can do in bed. Find that in any other DVD!
- The backdrops are unique and interesting (the Los Angeles skyline, for example) and not your typical beach or yoga studio background.
- Tara does talk fairly quickly, so absolute beginners might get frustrated to begin with.
- Because of the speed of her flows, I recommend this for yogis with lots of patience or intermediate-beginners.
- This isn't "traditional" yoga at all, so if you're into the other limbs of the practice, skip it.
I can honestly say choosing one DVD in every style of yoga isn't something you'll regret, but until you know if you're going to stick with yoga, you should just narrow down your goals and start simply.
If you can't pick a certain style of yoga, that's okay! Choose whatever DVD seems the most interesting to you. As your practice advances, your tastes will change, too, and you can reevaluate.
Of the DVDs on this list, I recommend the "Yoga for Beginners" DVD. It has a significant amount of content, it's slow enough to accommodate a beginner's practice, and there are five full-length practices.
It's hard to find a DVD that isn't just two or three short practices, and that gets boring really quickly for anyone.
What DVDs did you start practicing with at the start of your yoga journey? Leave us a comment if you have any additional suggestions on what you think is the bet yoga DVD for beginners!