9 Favorite Yoga DVD’s and Programs

By: Keith


I don’t care to spend stupid amounts of money at any of our many local Boulder yoga studios.  I’ve checked the prices, and I already know it isn’t worth it.  Besides, most of the adherents to the cult of Yoga here in the United States are more interested in designer yoga pants and equipment than in simply doing yoga.  They treat yoga as a religious experience, a replacement for independent thinking.  They swallow, hook, line and sinker every new-age, metaphysical hoo-ha that comes down the pike.  I’d rather not become a part of the silliness.  However, I do recognize the value of practicing yoga every day.  Not for spiritual enlightenment (I’m either enlightened or I’m not; yoga isn’t my vehicle of choice), but to achieve my fitness goals.  Doing yoga is like heating and stirring a pot of cold stew.  All the ingredients are already there, but the whole mixture needs a little stirring in order for it to taste good.  Our bodies can be stirred up like that too, and that’s what yoga does.  It works every part of your body so that by the end of it you’re feeling tingly and alert all over, and you can start the day fresh.  I don’t see yoga as a path to spiritual enlightenment.  Maybe it is for some very serious Yogis off in India; I accept that.  But, I doubt those yogis wear 200 dollar yoga pants, carry 100 dollar yoga mats, and drink from BPA free pink water bottles.  They don’t get their hair and nails done before they prance away to their patch of dirt under a tree.    


I’ve done many programs, and the following are the ones I’ve kept and use frequently.    


Power Yoga: It’s an old one, but it’s complete. In fact, if I could only buy one Yoga DVD, this would be the one. It includes three 50 minute workouts starting with “Energize” and moving to “Tone” and “Sweat”.  I would classify the three workouts as beginner, intermediate, and intermediate plus.    


Rodney Yee Intermediate Yoga: Rodney Yee has a number of popular Yoga DVDs. His whole Power Yoga series is quite good, too, but I like the Intermediate Yoga the most because it includes inversions (handstands and elbow stands).  It’s a single, one hour workout that starts with vinyasas, and goes to inversions, and finally backbends and hip openers.  It’s a solid intermediate workout.  But, if you’re a beginner you can still do it.  Simply modify the inversions and it becomes a nice beginner/intermediate routine.    


Yoga Shakti with Shiva Rea: This lady is totally annoying, but she’s pretty awesome at Yoga.  She’s one of those who uses Yoga for spiritual growth.  I don’t believe her though because she has a huge tramp stamp on her lower back which seems to contradict all the yoga blabber.  Anyway, of all the DVD’s, this might be the best conceived.  She has 4 workouts, two of which I would classify as beginner and two as advanced (even though she calls them intermediate).  In addition, there is a menu where you, the viewer, can mix and match sections of her workouts to create one of your own.  It’s very cool, even if she’s obnoxious.    


Baron Baptiste Live! - Soul of Strength: Baron Baptiste has produced several quality DVD’s out of live sessions at his yoga studio.  They’re filmed as if a camera crew randomly showed up for a class one day (Judging by the title, that seems to be exactly what happened).  Thus, the production value isn’t super awesome, but it works well for the video.  It’s a solid 60 minute beginner to intermediate program.  He also works more thoroughly on the core than either Power Yoga or Rodney Yee.  Sometimes I’m in the mood for that.    


P90X Yoga: Bear with me on this one.  Tony Horton is no Yogi, but the man put together a pretty great Yoga DVD anyway.  No, he doesn’t have a smooth, calming voice, and no, he isn’t great at any of the postures.  That’s what makes it good.  It’s yoga for people who don’t like to mess around.  Heck, he even looks goofy in his yoga outfit.  I find the whole thing down to earth and real.  It’s 90 minutes, and it doesn’t neglect any piece of the body.  You can’t buy it apart from the rest of P90X so that makes it pretty expensive, but if you’re going to do P90X anyway you won’t be disappointed by the DVD.    


Rodney Yee Advanced Yoga: Again, bear with me.  I’ll be honest, I can’t do 75% of the poses in this DVD.  I don’t care though because it’s motivational.  I do this DVD when I want to test my progress.  Also, there are two DVD’s in the box, and the other one contains a complete hip opening routine that’s top notch, and that almost anybody can do.  I hurt my leg a few weeks ago, but before that I was doing the hip opening routine every day (it’s only 25 minutes long) and got so I could do full lotus which I could never do before.    


Bryan Kest’s Long, Slow and Deep: Can you tell I like Bryan Kest?  This is not a DVD; it’s a book and a CD.  Still, this program is valuable.  It’s 90 minutes of easy yoga and stretching.  Every movement is slow, and he holds them for a long time.  Actually, one of the last moves in the book is simply touching your toes while sitting.  He holds it for 10 minutes!  All the poses get ample attention and none of them are difficult.  When you’re done with it, you’re limber.  That’s it.    


Bryan Kest: Spinal Strengthening: Bryan Kest had a car accident that prevented him from doing a lot of poses.  He developed this program to focus on the spinal cord and neck.  And that’s exactly what it does.  90 minutes long, the whole thing focuses on every muscle and tendon that has anything to do with the back or neck.  Highly recommended for those who have back issues.  Go slow, and just hang out with it.    


Yoga By Viaden for iPod touch and iPhone:  Seems weird, right?  But for $1.99 (or whatever it costs, I can’t remember) you will not find a better collection of poses and workouts.  You can make your own program or pick from 21, 21!, premade routines that range from beginner to guru (stopping at intermediate and expert along the way).  It plays a nice, sort of natural, voice, as it turns the pages to show you pictures of each pose.  Some programs are short 15 minute deals, and others are full on 90 minute workouts.  Really — for just a few bucks, you can’t screw it up.   


17 Responses to “9 Favorite Yoga DVD’s and Programs”
  1. Dennis P October 4, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

    I don’t know how people do this stuff. I’m not in very good shape, but even when I was, I’m not flexible enough to do yoga. Maybe it’s a reason why I should. I always have admired people who do yoga just for that reason. I think if I were to do one yoga class, I’d probably not walk for a week!

  2. Father Knows (Travis) Best October 4, 2010 at 10:37 pm #

    Interesting. I could probably use something like this; after years of lifting weights and rarely stretching, I’m not exactly a lithe creature.

  3. evohomeschool October 5, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    I like Rodney Lee and my family and I will occasionally do Tai Chi as well. I’ve found some of the best classes are at the community center. People go for the yoga and nothing else and the prices are very inexpensive. But for at home I tend to do more of Rodney Lee than any of my other videos.

    • Keith October 5, 2010 at 10:47 pm #

      EVO: Rodney Yee is definitely one of my favorites. He seems like a normal guy who can do awesome yoga stuff. Very peaceful yet also very regular. I like that. Here in Boulder the hippies have even taken over the community center. Arghhh! They’re everywhere! Nah, I love our hippies. :-)

  4. MileHighDad October 5, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    Great review!
    How about Fit Yoga on the Wii?

    Consider being at the next AtHomeDad Convention in Washington DC, an awesome time is sure to be had!
    I know of two other Boulder Dads who attended and will be there next year.

    • Keith October 5, 2010 at 10:45 pm #

      Milehighdad: I haven’t tried fit yoga on wii. Sounds interesting.

  5. John October 6, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    I had to quit weight lifting a couple years ago because of my second lung surgery. I have been doing a few free hand exercises here at home and some friends recommended I try yoga. Thanks for your reviews.

  6. evohomeschool October 6, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

    LOL sorry to hear about the take over of your community center. I guess they no longer enjoy living on compounds in the desert? Tough luck for the rest of us. ;-)

  7. John October 7, 2010 at 10:13 am #

    Keith, which program do you think would be best for me to start with. I’m 55, in pretty good shape. My major weakness is my breathing. I’ve had 2 lung surgeries, leaving me with about 30% of my lungs. Doctors said i can even lift weights if I want, it won’t hurt my lungs.

    • Keith October 7, 2010 at 10:26 am #

      John: The slowest of these routines, the one that really focuses on the basics is the Brian Kest Long, Slow and Deep routine. However, since it isn’t a DVD but a CD and Book, it might be hard to work out the transitions if you’ve never done yoga before. It’s really great though if you have someone who’s done yoga before and can show you how to make those transitions and achieve some “flow”. In the DVD category, I’d go with either Yoga Shakti with Shiva Rea or Brian Kest’s power yoga. Shiva Rea has a couple of extremely difficult routines on her CD, but she has two that are good beginner routine. My favorite though is Power Yoga with Brian Kest. The first routine is a beginner routine, but it isn’t so easy that you’ll get bored. The other two are incrementally a little more difficult but never get to a truly advanced crazy level. If you’re already in pretty good shape, but you haven’t done yoga before, you might like that one. If you’ve never done yoga and you think you want to start really slow, then maybe Yoga Shakti. The downside is that she has no intermediate level (even though she says she does). It goes from super beginner to impossible hard (at least for me). And if you want a longer routine that’s really awesome but not a DVD then you can go with the Long, Slow and Deep CD by Brian Kest. Anyway, I know I’m all over the map here, but I hope that helps.

  8. John October 7, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    Keith thanks for the advice. Based on your reviews I would have picked Bryan Kest’s Long, Slow and Deep. I’ll take this as a conformation.

  9. John Porcaro October 12, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    I never did yoga until I started P90X. Wow, what a workout! I thought I’d never finish the first 90 minute session, but by the time I finished the 90-day program, i found P90X Yoga to be one of my favorite workouts.

    Just for fun, I went to a Yoga class at the YMCA, and found that the moves taught in the DVD were pretty accurate, and the DVD was a LOT more advanced than the class. So once I was good at the DVD, I was getting way more than the class could offer.

    90 minutes is long. There are something like 35 vinyasas. Online, we started calling it L.A.Y., for Long A@@ Yoga. :)

    Good writeup. Motivates me to get off my butt and do something!

  10. Marne Strickland October 12, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    Hi Keith, Thanks for your article. Two things, that picture that you have, I have the exact same statue in my house. Weird! Second, I love most of of the teachers that you have listed here. Shiva Rea is a friend and one of my teachers, Rodney Yee always puts out quality stuff. Check out my site, I’ll be offering free yoga classes in the future. Right now there’s a few 2 minute free sequences. Let me know what you think! Namaste, marne

  11. Namo June 8, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    Why do you accuse others of superficiality and shallowness ? To take what is an inherently spiritual discipline in which Asana i.e your “stretchy poses” is only relatively minor component and then reduce it to nothing more than a way of getting a tight butt must surely be worse, culturally ignorant to boot. Why not take Pilates if you want a similar “workout” system without “the spiritual nonsense” ? Why do westerners feel you can hijack whatever you want bastardize into something without meaning or context and then claim that it’s just your *personal* take on the matter. It’s just offensive !

    • Keith June 8, 2011 at 11:05 am #

      Namo: I’m not culturally ignorant. I understand and acknowledge the things other people believe. I just happen to think it’s nonsense. Ignorance is the lack of understanding, not the refusal to believe it. I do what I do, and you do what you do. I can take whatever piece of whichever culture I like and mash it all together as much as I want. You do realize that that is how cultures develop, right? They are mashed up bits of customs and attitudes from migrating people who naturally interact with each other. Perhaps you should study an anthropology book yourself before you start calling others ignorant. And I think you should try some exercise or something to help you calm down a bit. Perhaps the spiritual nonsense is just the thing you need! :-)


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