Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Yoga, My New Friend for Life

For some time now, I have been aware that I need to do more stretching. Zumba, cross trainer workouts and circuit training are all well and good, but my body also needs me to pay attention to its flexibility and the health of my joints, and to release the tensions that tend to build up in the neck, shoulders, back and calves. For this purpose, I decided to try yoga.

My first experiences with yoga came from the 25-minute yoga class in Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012. It was perfectly adequate for my purposes and not too difficult, but as there is only the one yoga class in the game, it wasn't long before I started to get bored with it. That's when I went to to get myself some yoga exercise DVDs. I browsed for hours, carefully reading through reviews for each product, and finally decided on the three DVDs / packs I wanted to get. Here are the three products I got, along with my experiences with them so far:

Great for total beginners. A slow pace and a lot of explaining. I used this DVD three times before I got the urge to move on to something with a little quicker pace and a little less explaining. I would recommend this for total beginners.

This is what I moved on to after I'd had enough of Yoga for Beginners. I started with Earth, did it three times a week for two weeks. Nothing too difficult there, I could do all the poses on first try, though of course not as deeply as the instructors. Afterwards, I felt very light, peaceful and tension-free. I could have easily stayed with the Earth class after the two weeks, working towards deepening the poses, but I was curious about the other classes in the series, so I moved on to Water. I did it today for the first time, and found it a lot more challenging than Earth, there were even two poses there that I couldn't do because my muscles lacked the required strength. I will keep at it, though, two more times this week and three times next week, before rotating on to another DVD after this two-week period with Water is up. After I get really familiar with these classes and more proficient with the poses, I might do three different classes a week, but for now, I find spending two weeks with one class is just right for me - it gives me time to familiarise myself with the class a little and practice the poses, but not enough time for me to get bored with the class.

So far, I really like this DVD set. The classes are well paced, not too fast but not too slow either, and I like that each class is of a different difficulty / intensity, making the set accessible for beginners as well as more advanced practitioners. The instruction is clear and concise, very easy to follow and not boring or annoying in any way. And the whole set only cost me £7,50!

I haven't done the class yet, but the Pose Study Guide is amazing! You can choose the pose you want to study, and there is a 3D image of the instructor in the pose that you can rotate with your mouse to view it from any angle you want to in order to study how to put your legs, arms, head and torso to do the pose right, and there is also a "live in class" video of each pose on which the instructor tells a student to do the pose, showing step by step how to do it right, and then uses the student to show common mistakes people make when doing the pose. This set of 2 DVDs cost me £4,99, and I'd say the pose study guide alone is worth that, it's so well made and totally indispensable for a beginner like me! I keep returning to it time and time again to check that I'm doing all the poses right.

Now that I look at this set on today, I see that they, too, have realised it may be worth more than £4,99, as they've increased the price to £18,69! I'm really glad I bought this set when I did, as its price has almost quadrupled since then! At £4,99, it was a total, complete, absolute bargain!

I think I've got to a solid start with my yoga with these DVDs, and, with the exception of Yoga for Beginners which already has a new home waiting for it with one of my friends, I will continue to use all of them in the future. I will also be adding to my collection of yoga DVDs over time so that I can keep discovering new things and vary my practice to keep enjoying it and avoid getting bored. Yoga and I are going to be friends for life, and I look forward to getting to know it better and discovering new sides of it. This friendship has already given me some tangible benefits, and it's only just beginning!