Read these 20 Yoga Books, DVDs & More Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Yoga tips and hundreds of other topics.
If you're traveling or just looking for some casual reading, pick up a copy of Yoga Journal, arguably the definitive yoga magazine. You can find articles about health and nutrition, as well as all aspects of yoga, including breathing, meditation, and spirituality as well as articles about how to get the most out of yoga poses.
Yoga Journal includes regular columns about meditation and overall health as well hints for improving your asanas. In addition, you'll find listings of yoga conferences and workshops, as well as information for teachers. Check out their website, too, at yogajournal.com, where many articles are available without a subscription. If you want a free weekly dose of yoga information, you can even subscribe to a weekly e-newsletter.
Even in the age of the Internet, don't underestimate the value of looking at photos and reading descriptions in a book. For one thing, you can keep the book open on the floor while honing your asanas at home. Browse your bookstore or book website such as amazon.com and search for “yoga” and whatever other terms interest you, such as “bikram yoga DVDs,” “ashtanga yoga books,” “yoga for kids,” or any yoga type you want.
If you want some basic background to help you begin or rejuvenate a yoga practice, try these:
Yoga For Dummies: Typical of the “for Dummies” series, this book is comprehensive and includes tips for improving your form in specific poses.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Yoga, Illustrated. This book is in its 4th edition and is oriented towards beginners with explanations of the differences among poses without being intimidating.
If you are a more advanced yoga practitioner and you feel that you are getting tired of the same yoga videos and DVDs, try this: Play the video or DVD with the sound off and play your own choice of motivational music as an accompaniment. If you are familiar enough with the sequence of poses on the DVD or yoga video, you shouldn't really need to watch it carefully, simply glance at the screen periodically if you can't remember the sequence.
If you are practicing yoga at home by following a yoga video or yoga DVD, make sure that you have enough space to spread your yoga mat and that you have enough room to turn 360 degrees without hitting any furniture, plants, or other household items. Ideally, move as much daily household clutter away from your field of vision as you can so you can focus on your practice.
Whenever you try a new yoga video, remember to watch it all the way through, at least once, before using it for practice.
You'll be able to see the postures and pace of the program, which will make it easier to follow. You could also avoid injuries, which might occur from doing unfamiliar moves too quickly.
There are many audiotapes and CDs for sale that provide background music and instruction on postures. These are helpful tools to use at home.
One caution is that they are better suited to someone who is already familiar with yoga. These audio programs don't provide visual instruction and can be difficult for beginners.
Beginners should always consider a live instructor/class as the best source for learning.
One of the best ways to learn about different forms of yoga is to watch a yoga video. Viewing videos is a wonderful way to do research and discover which form is best for you. You may wish to rent different yoga style videos and try them at home first. Once you find a style -- or styles -- that suit you, purchase the videos so that you can continue your practice on your own..
As it is with finding a good yoga class, it's important to comparison shop when looking for yoga instruction videos. Keep in mind that some of the videos are not full-length classes. There are videos that focus on one specific technique. For example, some videos offer techniques in breathing alone, so that you can be better prepared in your full practice. Shop carefully, and you'll be sure to get the video you need.
Like almost every other form of exercise, yoga videos are very common. You'll find them for rent or sale at most video stores. This is especially true since yoga is becoming more popular, particularly for an aging population.
Videos are great tools for home practice. They provide visual and audio instruction, and help students learn timing (e.g. how long to hold a pose). They can also provide a complete program of postures done in sequence.
Practicing to some type of background music is extremely enjoyable. It can help you relax and focus.
There are tapes and CDs marketed specifically for yoga. But I find that “new age” music in general is usually the right tone and pace for my practice.
Try a variety of different styles and artists. Your preference may vary by your mood and what you're practicing.
What is the best yoga video available? Luckily, there is no real answer to that question. With the popularity of yoga in the west, more and more videos are being produced by reputable practitioners and instructors. The choices may seem daunting, but in reality choice is a positive thing. Everyone has different needs and the wide selection allows you to find the video that is right for you.
Are you on the road a lot? Looking toward a vacation that will take you away from your yoga class routine? One of the best ways to continue practicing when you are away from home is a yoga DVD. Lightweight, easy to pack, a DVD is a convenient way to have a class without actually being in one. If your hotel or wherever you're staying doesn't have a DVD player, consider bringing your laptop along or a portable DVD player.
Books and tapes are good sources of information about yoga philosophy and postures. But the best way to keep informed about new thoughts and innovations in yoga (yes! there are new ideas in yoga) is through magazines.
Magazines also give advice on technique, classes and conferences, as well as interesting and informative articles on related subjects.
It's already known that yoga and Pilates have a lot in common. The yoga asanas are very similar to the stretches in Pilates. One of the best ways to get the benefits of both is to buy a yoga and Pilates video. Many of these instructional tools are geared to incorporate breathing and stretching exercises to improve your strength and general health. Also, as you perform these exercises, you're able to develop the meditational aspect of yoga in the privacy of your own home.
If you have cable television, you might be able to find music you like through a new series of cable music stations some systems are offering. These are not like MTV or VH-1. They are channels where you can select a type of music and listen to it while a static screen shows the song name, artist's name and album. Often there's also a picture of the album cover too – a big advantage over radio where you may not even be able to get the title or artist of a song you like.
On my cable system, a station called “Soundscapes” plays music that I find is suited to yoga or relaxation. I think that this is a great way to discover new artists or albums before buying anything.
The most important thing to remember about videos is that you should know the teacher's qualifications. Just as in live instructors, each video instructor is unique.
If possible, view a video before you buy it. There are many good, inexpensive videos available. You should be able to find one that suits your style and ability.
My personal preference is to use videos to supplement a live practice. But many are also suitable for a beginner who cannot find a local class.
Essentially, all yoga styles point you toward self-development and reconnection to the universe. It would be ideal to be able to take many different classes and become well-versed in different styles of yoga. This can become expensive, however -- not to mention inconvenient. Perhaps yoga classes are not available where you live. In this case, purchasing different yoga DVD or videos may be your best option. This way, you can practice differing yoga styles at your own pace and on your own time.
Some videos are marketed for specific proficiency levels (beginner, advanced, etc.), but these levels are not always appropriate.
Do NOT get discouraged if a "beginner" video is too difficult for you. It may not be right for anyone at that level. Get a recommendation or rent a video whenever possible, before you buy it.
You can walk into almost any bookstore and find a variety of books about yoga. These are helpful tools, particularly those that include photos and text. They offer the opportunity to see someone posed in proper alignment, and the ability to read a thorough description of the pose.
Keep in mind that there are different styles of yoga. You may find slight variations in descriptions and posture names depending on the style the author is presenting.
In my opinion, books are not a substitute for live instruction. Although you can learn a lot from a book, it should be used to supplement your live instruction not replace it.
Even in the age of the Internet, don't underestimate the value of yoga books. Yoga books provide a background for beginners and more information for advanced yoga students and instructors. Whether you practice yoga at home or attend a class, or both, looking at photos and reading descriptions in a book can help improve your understanding of a pose when your instructor explains it. And you can keep the book open on the floor while honing your at-home practice. You can find a wide selection of yoga books that cover general yoga basics or specific types of yoga, such as yoga for pregnancy or yoga for kids.
There are also yoga videos or yoga DVDs to match any medical issue or special interest.
You can find an instructional yoga book, yoga video, or yoga DVD that focuses on specific health or medical issues, including yoga for asthma, yoga for arthritis, yoga for back pain, and even yoga for fertility.
Of course, you can find many choices for yoga videos yoga DVDs for a basic yoga practice to suit any ability level, too. Check out Gaiam's featured instructors, such as Seane Corn, whose Vinyasa Flow Yoga 2-DVD set includes both beginner and advanced moves. Review the choices, try a few, and you'll find the ones that work for you.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|