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The Best Ashtanga Yoga DVDs

author image Henry Halse
Henry Halse is a Philadelphia-based personal trainer, speaker, and writer. He's trained a wide variety of people, from couch potatoes to professional athletes, and helped them realize their own strength, determination and self-confidence. Henry has also written for various fitness and lifestyle publications, including Women’s Health, AskMen and Prevention.
The Best Ashtanga Yoga DVDs
Practicing Ashtanga Yoga is difficult, so make sure you choose the appropriate DVD. Photo Credit fizkes/iStock/Getty Images

If you're sick of going to yoga classes and struggling in front of a group of people, or you're an introvert who focuses more when you're alone, buying a yoga DVD can make your life much easier. With a DVD, you can practice yoga whenever you want in the comfort of your own home. Finding the appropriate Ashtanga yoga DVD depends on how advanced you are as a yogi.

About 100 years ago, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois of India created and perfected his system of yoga in Mysore, India. Over his lifetime, this system of yoga grew in popularity and became what is now known as Ashtanga yoga. His grandson, R. Sharath Jois, taught his grandfather's style of yoga at the Ashtanga Yoga Institute in India.

Read More: Ashtanga Yoga & Weight Loss

There are six different series in Ashtanga Yoga. You're supposed to practice one series a day for six days of the week from Sunday to Friday, with a rest day on Saturday. The series have many different poses, breaths and gazes that are incorporated into each series. Students should master each series before moving onto the next one, as they are progressively more challenging. The first series has 10 sun salutations, standing poses, inversions, and seated poses. In other words, it's not for beginners.

Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice with David Swenson

Although prior experience with yoga is recommended before trying this video, it's very highly rated. The DVD covers the first series of Ashtanga Yoga and includes a 30-minute introduction to the practice and explains its foundations. After the introduction, you flow through the first series, then end the session with deep relaxation. The instructor, David Swenson, is a yoga veteran. He started practicing at the age of 13 and has been doing Ashtanga yoga since 1973. He learned the full system of Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore, India, meaning that he will give you an authentic Ashtanga experience.

Many of the DVDs include breathing and meditation instructions.
Many of the DVDs include breathing and meditation instructions. Photo Credit Hvoenok/iStock/Getty Images

Ashtanga Yoga: The Primary Series

With more than 70 poses, this two-hour long yoga DVD will challenge you and teach you about Ashtanga Yoga. Two instructors perform poses in the video, with one instructor showing modified versions of some of the poses, making it more beginner-friendly. The primary instructor, Richard Freeman, was taught by one of the creators of Ashtanga Yoga, K. Pattabhi Jois, in Mysore, India. He takes you through most of the primary series in Ashtanga Yoga, which is just the first of the six Ashtanga Series.

Yoga for Beginners with Kino MacGregor: Ashtanga Yoga

Also designed for beginners, this DVD has a tutorial and five different practices. The tutorial takes you through basic yoga postures before you get into the more advanced Ashtanga Yoga work. As you go through the five practices, you'll learn how to do sun salutations, go over more advanced poses, learn how to breathe and set your gaze, build core strength and endurance, and learn how to meditate. The instructor, Kino MacGregor, studied in Mysore, India, under K. Pattabhi Jois, making her a credible source of Ashtanga Yoga knowledge.

Read More: Hatha Yoga vs. Ashtanga Yoga

John Scott's Ashtanga Yoga

With this DVD, you can either start with the 15-minute yoga basics section or go straight into the 90-minute primary series video. This DVD spends less time on beginner aspects of yoga, meaning that its geared more toward someone with experience. You can also choose whether you want to focus on standing or sitting postures, giving you some say over what poses you practice.

Thirumoolar's Ashtanga Yoga DVD

Overall, this DVD takes you through 35 different poses and 10 different breathing techniques. It has options for a 30-, 60- or 90-minute workout, depending on how much time you have. The traditional style of Ashtanga Yoga is taught, and it also gives an introduction to a new version called Thirumoolar's Ashtanga Yoga. It also comes with a three-month practice guide for beginners to help you steadily improve.

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