Activity is an important part of the Weight Watchers Plan.
It’s an important part of living a healthy life.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t born loving to exercise. Enjoying exercise is something I’ve had to work to cultivate.
With practice and determination, I’ve learned to look forward to my daily walks and time on the yoga mat. They’ve become an integral part of my life.
Heck, I enjoyed the benefits of yoga so much, I even became certified to teach it. (Who ever would have thought? )
As a yoga teacher, I get asked quite often for yoga DVD recommendations. This can be tricky, since there are so many different styles of yoga and yoga DVDs for a wide range of purposes and audiences.
There are all kinds of beginning yoga DVDs out there. Some are perfect for the young and athletic, while others are better suited for more mature audiences!
As a 49-year-old yoga teacher, who came to yoga late in life as a way of coping with severe back pain and sciatica, and who specializes in providing private and small group yoga to mature women, I prefer my yoga on the gentle, slow and safe side. (At this point in my life, I don’t feel the need to try to twist myself into a pretzel or risk injuring my neck doing headstands.)
I want my yoga to help keep me strong, flexible, balanced, energized, and relaxed so I’m ready to get the most out of life.
If you’re an older beginning yoga student looking for a yoga DVD to help get you started, here are 5 of my favorites:
1) Larry Payne’s Prime of Life Yoga- Immune Booster and General Conditioning – Level One DVD by Larry Payne, PhD, provides safe, user-friendly yoga routines, perfect for older beginners, those not currently exercising, or anyone recovering from illness and/or injury. Based on the book, Yoga Rx: A step-by-step program to promote health, wellness, and healing from common ailments, these yoga routines can help increase strength, flexibility, and vitality while reducing stress.
The Yoga Rx: Immune Booster and General Conditioning Level One DVD, was filmed on the grounds of the beautiful Rancho La Puerta Spa in Baja, California. Yoga expert, Larry Payne, instructs you through the routines, which are taught in the TKV Desikachar style of yoga, a safe, user-friendly style of yoga commonly associated with yoga therapy.
Level One is an excellent gentle yoga practice that can slowly build strength and flexibility. It includes 20-minute and 40 minute options that are demonstrated by a fit 40-year-old female yoga student. It is accessible for inexperienced beginners, providing detailed instructions for breathing and moving. The 20-minute routine is a series of standing poses that ends with relaxation. You can choose to stop or continue with the second 20-minute routine that includes a variety of poses performed lying on your back and your stomach and concludes with more relaxation and a breathing exercise.
I get excited when I discover yoga DVDs that are accessible and user-friendly for people in their 40s and beyond. After suggesting several yoga DVDs to my 39-year-old brother who wanted to try yoga and was intimidated with the idea of going to class, this is the DVD that resonated with him. He found it challenging without being overwhelming to somebody with no previous yoga experience.
The DVD moves at a slow controlled pace, with expert instruction and soothing background music. Poses are performed in a flowing manner encouraging you to coordinate your movement and your breath into a relaxing rhythm, which is very soothing for your nervous system. Periods of rest are sprinkled throughout the routine and counter poses are provided to compensate for challenging poses as appropriate.
If you are looking for accessible, user-friendly yoga routines for your 40s and beyond you may want to give this DVD a spin.
Baxter Bell, M.D., is a California-based physician, yoga teacher, and medical acupuncturist with more than 15 years of family medical practice. He teaches, writes, and lectures internationally on stress because it addresses the underlying causes, not just the symptoms of many of our healthy conditions.
In order to manage stress through mindfulness, Dr. Baxter Bell presents two yoga practices in this DVD. The first focuses on energizing poses to help prevent stress and the second focuses on calming the nervous system to relieve stress.
The DVD also includes:
- An in-depth interview with Dr. Bell about the physiology of stress
- An alternate practice mode which allows you to practice with less verbal instruction once you’ve learned the yoga sequences
- A built in timer that lets you practice at your own pace
- A bonus DVD-ROM feature that links you to Yoga Journal articles about stress.
I recommend this to beginners and intermediates who are seeking a stress reduction program.
3) Sitting Fit Anytime: Easy & Effective Chair Yoga by Susan Winter Ward
It’s possible to get the benefits of yoga without ever leaving your chair!
In Sitting Fit Anytime, Certified Anusara Yoga Teacher, Susan Winter Ward, guides you through simple effective seated exercises that are perfect if you have limited mobility or want to do a little yoga at your desk. All the yoga stretches, which are done from the comfort of your chair, will help relieve stress and tension and improve circulation while building strength and flexibility.
The DVD includes nine 3 to 5 minute segments that focus on:
- Head, Neck & Shoulders
- Hands & Wrists
- Arms & Upper Back
- Hips & Lower Back
- Hamstrings & Forward Bends
There is nothing particularly exciting or sexy about this DVD. The set is simple – just Susan seated in an over-sized ladder back chair demonstrating each pose while she provides detailed verbal instruction in a calm and soothing manner. The set backdrop suggests blue sky and clouds, while subtle flute/guitar music plays quietly in the background. This DVD is also available in a CD-Rom with screen saver format designed to prompt you to take intermittent yoga at your desk breaks.
This chair yoga DVD is a great way to get introduced to the benefits of yoga from the comfort of your chair or desk. Don’t be put off by the introduction where Susan is shown doing more advanced yoga poses with the chair as a prop. Nothing closely resembling these moves is included in the instructional portion of the DVD.
Highly recommended, especially for those with limited mobility who want to experience the benefits of yoga.
If you liked this post on My 5 favorite yoga DVDs for beginners over 40, check out these links:
- My review of the yoga DVD, Yoga for People with Curves by Larry Payne
- My favorite yoga DVDs and Books on Yoga for Back Pain
- My post on Staying Young with Yoga
- An article on The Benefits of Yoga (Mayo Clinic)