Customer Reviews: Ashtanga Yoga Beginner's Workout
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on October 15, 2010
Ashtanga is generally not considered 'for beginners', but this DVD presumably means it is suitable for intermediate yoga practitioners who are new to Ashtanga. Some might find the title misleading. However, since it only contains around half of the first series (most, though not all, standing postures), it is not all that different from the what you may end up doing in the first half of many vinyasa / power yoga style classes. Some beginners may be OK with this DVD. If you have been to some vinyasa yoga classes before and are able to do them, you should be able to do this.

However, if you want something to cue you for an Ashtanga home practice, you presumably want something which contains the whole first series (and if you find something like that, you should only do it if you're relatively experienced and have preferably been taught Ashtanga before). I was very surprised to find that this did not contain the whole series. (It goes up to Parsvottanasana). I think it's a great loss to leave out the later postures, which works various other parts of the body and also leaves you far more stretched, relaxed and peaceful (although they're still very demanding and can still make your heart pound) - it's the floor postures that really do that.

However, to encourage beginners or relative beginners: it's not all that different from my first vinyasa / hatha yoga classes, which generally tend to contain sun salutations plus some other standing poses at first, and those classes were surprisingly hard (and I was only 29), so I sympathize with other reviewers. However, I would encourage you not to be hard on yourself and not to expect to be able to do it the way the instructor does (or other students, if you're in a class), and to know that you will get stronger in small increments. A friend of mine told me it gets easier with every practice. I'm not sure if that is always true, but it will certainly get easier overall with time. I've certainly seen many stories of huge improvement from various people, many much older than I am.
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on August 16, 2011
Ashtanga yoga is a physically challenging yoga. If you are in relatively good health this is a great video and I highly recommend it. This is called a beginner video but I would not recommend it to someone who is elderly or who has pain related to the hands, wrists, or shoulders because you are required to support your own weight in some of the asanas. If you have any pain while you bend over to touch your toes then this will not be a good video because you do that move frequently. However, if you have no pain issues then definitely try this video. It is not just stretching but actual strength building and toning. I love it!

If you want to see what the video consists of you can look up the asanas on google by searching for 'ashtanga yoga'. This is not the complete ashtanga series but it is a respectful and challenging practice. It includes Sun Salutations A & B and some standing poses. On a personal level, this yoga video transforms my day and helps me feel well-balanced. It brings me good energy, flexibility, mobility, and even peace. It's a great investment in yourself if you are ready for this level.
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on January 23, 2014
These is a great movie for those who already have a solid yoga practice. Like other's have said before, it's beginner Ashtanga, not beginner yoga. In a beginner's yoga class, teachers would guide you how to do the postures (asana), with focus on alignment so you don't injure yourself. They also tend to be slower paced so you can understand what you should feel while in the asana. This video assumes you understand alignment and can follow verbal cues as Nicki takes you through a set of postures that follow the Ashtanga tradition. The pace is not any quicker than any led flow class.

The scenery is beautiful, and there's a real emphasis on Nicki as she goes through the sequence. The camera angles give a clear shot of the posture so you can gain understanding of what you're doing in case you lose track/don't understand the sanskrit. Being able to watch her also reminds you of your alignment since the camera pivots around the teacher to find the best yoga shot for an asana.

The only downfall of this video is that it's not longer. It's not the complete primary series, but it IS a complete practice, with everything from opening meditation to Savasana. If you go into it understanding that, you won't feel that there's anything 'missing'. For what it is, this practice is amazing, but if you want the complete primary series you should look for another video.
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on June 17, 2016
Great for learning the basic primary series as a beginner when it comes to pace, and proficiency, but as you get more familiar you'll want to pick up the pace, and your practice with instruction in a class. Hard to listen to on a repetitive basis as her voice is very monotone.
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I've been practicing Hatha and other types of yoga for years, and consider myself an intermediate. And this Ashtanga session was still challenging!!! I found myself breathing hard and working up a sweat.

Although the pace is faster than other types of yoga, it isn't crazy-fast like some of the DVDs I've tried. You at least hold the poses long enough to get some benefit. There is a lot of focus on coordinating the inhale/exhale with the movements--which was very helpful to me. I thought the cue-ing was very good; her calm, slightly monotone voice just kind of faded into the background. She didn't talk too much, as some of the instructors do in videos.

The location in Maui where this is filmed is spectacular. The only negative I have for this video is the image quality. When streaming on my laptop, it is pretty lo-res and blurry. It looks much better on the Kindle Fire (8.9"), which is how I plan to use it when I travel for work.

Overall, this is a great Ashtanga session, that will give you a great workout when you can't make it to the yoga studio.
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on September 19, 2008
Being an inflexible 56 year old, I was looking for something to introduce me to Ashtanga Yoga as a BEGINNER to start my home practice. This video does not do that. While the asanas may be easy for an intermediate practitioner, there are no compromises in achieving the posture for someone just starting out. For example the first movement has the person touching the floor with flat hands and then putting their head on their knees. This is rather hard for someone starting out who barely touches their toes.

On the PRO side, the workout is well explained (once you achieve the flexibility), well photographed and captivating. I look forward to using this workout ONCE I gain the flexibility to perform the movements.
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on October 22, 2015
Poses are well done and the scenery is beautiful. Definitely a good beginner's yoga. I did yoga for many years and got away from it, I'm on the road back and going through beginner videos...this one was very good.
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on June 9, 2016
This is a good solid beginners class in Ashtanga yoga but don't expect to do anything but sun salutations A & B for most of the routine. I do like the chanting at the beginning and the instructors emphasis on correct breathing--since it is key to an Ashtanga practice.
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on November 4, 2014
This is one of my favorite yoga videos and I have tried several. She goes slow and really focuses on the standing series half. Yes it is not the full series and yes it is hard. If it was easy, then it would';t be worth doing! The pace and repetition is great. As the beginning series the goal is to build strength and stamina for the later poses. Her suggestions are direct and there is not a lot of chatter which I appreciate. She knows the points at which students forget to breathe or lose focus in the poses, her experience was a teacher is very evident. I highly recommend this video to anyone seriously interested in learning Ashtanga.
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on December 22, 2012
This video is less for a beginner to yoga and more specifically for a beginner to astanga yoga. If you have a good background and are fairly in shape, it would be awesome.

For me, it was a really awesome video, but beyond me. Easy to follow but I couldn't keep up. I'll probably return to this one when I have worked up to it.
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