Yesterday, I reviewed Trudie Styler’s Warrior Yoga and said that it was not appropriate for beginners. It occurred me that I knew exactly where to refer novices interested in good beginner videos, and it’s at Gaia Yoga. About a year ago, I was asked to use the service for a month and comment. I wrote one entry and then my knee injury blew up my practice and diverted my energies. My trial pass ran out, and I forgot all about it.
But thinking about what makes a good beginner-focused video, I remembered the weekly videos of Rodney Yee and Coleen Saidman and realized that the online service offered nine hours of video, plus audiocasts, handouts and other assistance so it fits practically all the needs of a novice. Saidman and Yee demo all the poses, showing modifications and adjustments, progressing from simple to more complex. They fully describe all the “invisible” details that you need to know but will not see in a video. They keep up a steady banter, letting their joy in yoga shine through, while moving through sequences and stopping to emphasize details. You never got a sense that they’re talking down to you. The filming was confined to a studio so the videos are not as spectacular as the garden vistas in Styler’s DVD, but they are still quality productions.
Although Gaiam Yoga Club is charging $5 a week, which works out to about the price of a video per month or $65 for the full 12 week cycle, it really fills a gap in the instructional area. There is a free trial period and discounts. The videos can’t be downloaded, but you can save all the other material for later reference. Saidman and Yee also have a Gaiam DVD, The Practical Power of Yoga, which was broadcast on PBS last year as part of bonus gift in a pledge campaign. I didn’t see it so I don’t know if it’s similar to their Gaiam Yoga Club videos. I assume so.
Yee may not be the most highly esteemed yoga master instructor because he’s been at the forefront of commercializing yoga in books, videos, conferences, and workshops, as well as some flawed personal conduct that has offended the sensibilities of some, but is common, though not acceptable behavior outside the yoga scene. Yee and Saidman make an exceptional team in explaining yoga’s innards to novices.