Best Yoga DVDs for Different Kinds of Students

It's a tough job to name "the best" yoga DVDs because each person's yoga needs and tastes vary so wildly. What works best for you might be completely inappropriate, irritating, or boring to your co-worker, neighbor, or gym buddy. However, some videos are definitely superior by virtue of the quality of the instruction even though they might not be quite your style. Each of the recommended DVDs below suits a particular niche in the yoga student population. 

Do keep in mind that DVDs are no longer the only option for people who want to do yoga with a video at home. There are many options for online yoga video sites that allow you to vary your routine with a constant stream of new uploads. These may offer the best experience and value for you.


Many yoga DVDs that claim to be for beginners or all levels actually assume quite a bit of familiarity with yoga poses, making them inappropriate for true beginners. If you have never done yoga before, this DVD will help you build a safe practice from the ground up. The pose encyclopedia is also an invaluable resource. 


Yoga hybrids are really popular when it comes to home workouts. Celebrity trainer Mandy Ingber (Jennifer Aniston is her best-known client) incorporates dynamic toning exercises ​​​into traditional yoga poses for a workout that emphasizes strength training and raises your heart rate. Some familiarity with basic yoga poses is assumed.


Power yoga is an intense, flowing yoga workout. If you enjoy doing this kind of practice at home, The Ultimate Yogi offers a collection of 12 great Vinyasa sequences. You don't have to follow the lifestyle makeover they prescribe in order to enjoy this top-notch yoga instruction.


Jivamukti yoga founders and perennial downtowners David Life and Sharon Gannon lead this introduction to their popular yoga style. Like a true Jivamukti class, it's a challenging, creative flow of poses that will take you right back to your days in the East Village. Most appropriate for intermediate students and beyond who are comfortable with vinyasa flow.


Shiva Rea's fluid dancey style seems right at home in its beachside setting as this California girl leads a gentle introduction to flow yoga. Although it says "no yoga experience necessary" right on the cover, this is really more of an advanced beginning/intermediate level sequence that assumes familiarity with basic yoga poses. If you like her teaching, Rea has numerous other DVDs for you to explore.


Ali MacGraw's "Yoga Mind and Body" with instruction from Erich Shiffmann is a popular option for students nostalgic for the yoga of the mid-1990s. Many folks fondly remember this video as their first introduction to yoga and the teaching still holds up.


How can you pick just one from Rodney Yee's voluminous body of work? There really is something for everyone in Yee's canon, but "Power Yoga Total Body Workout " is a good introduction to his teaching style for intermediate students. It requires stamina and previous knowledge of the poses. If you are a real Yee fan, you can get access many of his videos with a subscription to Gaia (formerly Gaiam TV).


This is a contentious issue since Ashtanga students tend to be very loyal to their individual teachers. In fact, most agree that building a relationship with a certified teacher is integral to the Ashtanga tradition. However, if you already know the basics and are looking for a video to lead you in the primary series at home, you can't go wrong with respected teacher Richard Freeman's version.


Yoga With a LapTop Nearby
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This is a crowded marketplace that is changing all the time but has distinguished themselves with their excellent roster of teachers, a variety of styles, and constant updates. Their videos feel like real yoga classes (thanks to a camera angle they tried, unsuccessfully, to patent). The breadth of choices this website offers is a real asset to a yoga home practice.