By Su Reid-St. John
There are a lot of good yoga DVDs out there, but most of them assume you already know what you're doing. So, what's a newbie to do? While finding a beginner class is always your best bet when first leaning yoga (you get that valuable hands-on attention), it's not always practical if you're time- or cash-strapped. So here's the next best thing: Yoga: Gentle Vinyasa Flow.
This DVD offers six routines of varying lengths. Series A has three beginner practicesâ€”the poses are basic but interesting, and the pace is slow enough that even though you flow from one to another (the hallmark of a Vinyasa practice), there's ample transition time. Series B, for more advanced yogis, offers three more challenging routines in which you move much more quickly from pose to pose. In each series, the longer practices build on the shorter ones.
But that's not what sets this DVD apart. Here's what does: the pose guide. This super-helpful section focuses on a single pose at a time, telling you exactly how to do it and why it's worthwhile. If you've never done yoga before, this is where you should go first. That way, when you do the routines, you'll be comfortable enough that you won't need to keep hitting the pause button in order to keep up.
I'll admit that this is the first I've heard of the instructor, Zyrka Landwijt. But she knows her stuff and communicates it clearly and simply. Though her delivery is sometimes a bit singsongy (I got the distinct impression at one point that she was trying to hypnotize me), her voice is both soothing and pleasantâ€”in other words, sufficiently yoga-ish.
Just don't ask me to pronounce her last name.
Product: Yoga: Gentle Vinyasa Flow
Pros: It offers solid routines in a range of lengths for both beginners and intermediates. There's also a terrific guide to help newbies learn how to properly do each pose.
Cons: Nothing major, although the instructor's delivery gets a little singsongy at times.
Cost: $17.49 at Amazon.com
Extra tip: The pose guide also contains a section on yogic breathingâ€”just the thing for stressed-out souls.