Yoga for Beginners

Should I learn yoga from a class or a DVD?

shutterstock_154233890Nomi Pernicone

23 June 2016

Your eyes slowly close as you sink back into the living room sofa. First moment sitting down today. All of the exhaustion and pressure from the day comes flooding in at once.  Suddenly, with a start, you remember that you had planned to start a yoga class later tonight. I could really use some calming music and relaxing movement after the day I’ve had. Yoga could also help you become healthier, stronger, and reduce your stress levels, you muse to yourself. But I’m so tired…I wish I could just learn yoga at home!


From the inception of yoga in ancient India until today, yoga has provided countless physical, mental, and spiritual health benefits to those who practice this art.  In our fast-paced modern world, however, incorporating yoga into our busy schedule can be a challenge. Often after a hectic day at work, school, or home, the last thing we want to do is exercise – even if that exercise is a soothing and relaxing style such as yoga. Summoning the motivation to commit to a yoga class and attend the class regularly can be daunting to many of us. However, in our world today, learning has become much more accessible than it once was. Gone are the days when commuting to an actual classroom was the only option for expanding our knowledge base. Now almost every topic can be learned via media such as the Internet, podcasts, audio recordings, or DVDs – including yoga. However, the decision to learn yoga in a class or via DVD should be made after carefully considering the various advantages and disadvantages of both options.  Although both a yoga class and a recorded DVD session offer many unique benefits, there are also several disadvantages to consider in each learning method before making a decision. Either way, the choice to learn yoga provides a healthy outlet and exercise regimen that can rejuvenate mind, body, and soul.


Yoga classes are generally comprised of individuals who share a common enthusiasm for health and smart living choices. Maintaining the motivation to attend a yoga class regularly requires a personal commitment to health and wellness, each person on their specific level. Therefore, attending a yoga class provides the opportunity to be inspired by your fellow classmates in your quest for a healthier state of living. Seeing other people striving towards worthwhile goals in yoga class gives a sense of teamwork, which can help carry you through periods of lacking motivation, discouragement, etc.  The strength of a peer group can bolster your passion for yoga and sharpen your focus on this lifestyle goal. In addition, participants in a yoga class are accountable, to a certain extent, to their yoga teacher. A teacher can also provide invaluable inspiration for students to succeed in a yoga class and persevere towards difficult goals for the sake of growth and learning. Often, students will be motivated to come to yoga class despite challenges or difficulties, to avoid disappointing the teacher. Being accountable to a yoga instructor can also help in maintaining a commitment to the yoga class.


A yoga DVD, however, does not offer these advantage of a team or a teacher. When learning yoga from a DVD, you have to summon your own inspiration and motivation to carry you over the rough spots. This often proves to be quite a challenge, since the power of a peer group can be an essential component of many learning situations. In addition, no concept of accountability to a teacher exists in the context of a DVD yoga class. The motivation and commitment to learning yoga must come primarily from you, if you choose to learn yoga from a DVD. This is not impossible to achieve by any means, but be aware that this need to generate individual motivation can be a significant challenge to learning yoga from a DVD. One way to solve this issue might be to gather a group of friends who also want to learn yoga, and commit to watching the yoga DVD together. This arrangement might offer some of the advantages of both the yoga class and the yoga DVD at home. For example, the motivation to continue learning yoga diligently could come from your friends who are also invested in learning yoga with you.


Furthermore, yoga classes provide a set schedule of learning that is determined independent of the students. This external framework of a learning schedule can make long-term commitment to learning yoga much more feasible. If you are left to schedule your own yoga practice times, such as when learning yoga from a DVD, procrastinating or neglecting to practice become very likely.  Within the context of a yoga class, however, the times for practice are already set and require no special scheduling by the individual student.


On the other hand, since we all lead very busy lives, finding the time to practice yoga can be a huge obstacle to learning this beautiful art. Whether your schedule involves work, school, children, errands (or all of the above!), finding an available time slot for a yoga class can pose a big problem. Learning yoga via DVD provides an option for those people who simply do not have the time required to attend an existing yoga class. Perhaps the scheduled time is impossible to fit into your work schedule, or maybe it conflicts with your daughter’s piano lesson. Whatever the reason, yoga classes on DVD allow even the busiest schedules to include a time for yoga. Since you can choose the time, duration, and difficulty of the class when watching a yoga DVD, learning yoga on DVD is a possibility for everyone.


In addition, the travel time involved in attending a yoga class can preclude many people from learning yoga. In some more rural locations, the nearest yoga class might be quite a distance away. By watching a yoga DVD at home where no travel time is involved, this issue could be solved and provide many more people with the option to study yoga.


The study of yoga allows us to connect to our inner peace and offers an island of calm in a very busy world. The benefits of yoga to a person’s physical, mental, and spiritual health are well documented, and are very worth the effort required to learn this beautiful exercise style.

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