Yoga instructor Barbara Benagh has practiced and taught yoga for nearly 35 years. She discovered yoga while living in England and began teaching there. She moved to Boston and opened The Yoga Studio on Beacon Hill in 1980.
In addition to her local classes Barbara teaches yoga seminars throughout the US and internationally. She is a regular contributor of articles to Yoga Journal magazine. She has several audio CDs of live classes available as well as DVDs, the latest being Yoga for Beginners released by Body + Soul magazine, and Yoga for Stress Relief that includes a discussion on meditation from the Dalai Lama.
Barbara was kind enough to answer some questions from Amazon.com about this unique line of yoga DVDs.
How are these DVDs different from other yoga DVDs?
I was drawn to working with Bodywisdommedia because they produce DVDs they are interactive. Rather than a “one size fits all” single routine that is typical of most products, these DVDs offer choice, allowing the user to customize and change their yoga practice to suit their needs. No two persons are the same so the ability to change your practice – easing shoulder tension one day and an invigorating morning wake up the next – come as close as possible to allowing you to address your individual needs at home. Not only do people have different physical needs, but they have different time constraints as well. If you have only 20 minutes, there is a practice for you but there are longer practices as well (some as long as 90 minutes) that address the total body/mind connection. The sheer number of yoga sequences offered on each of these DVDs is a first. They are incredibly comprehensive.
How were you able to get the Dalai Lama involved?
This project dovetailed perfectly with the Dalai Lama’s message that modern stress is one of the greatest obstacles to our mental happiness and physical wellbeing. Because we are long-time sincere practitioners, having a 30-minute lecture of the Dalai Lama teaching how to meditate on the Yoga for Stress Relief DVD was a perfect fit. Bodywisdommedia also has a broader relationship with the Office of Tibet and are releasing historic lectures with “A Path to Happiness” being the first one.
How will potential buyers of these DVDs know which one is right for them?
The titles are very indicative of what appears on the DVD and therefore a good guide. I really enjoyed making Yoga for Stress Relief because it is incredibly relevant. We strove to make the sequences accessible to as many people as possible, whether they are a beginner or long time practitioner. Yoga for Beginners is a great, non-threatening place to get started and includes lots of sound technique developed over my 30 years as a yoga teacher. Power Yoga for Every Body is a bit more challenging taking you from the beginning level and gradually progressing to much more demanding routines.
Reviews of Yoga For Beginners
Review 1: Perfect for Beginners
This was my first experience with yoga. I am mid 50’s and was feeling really inflexible because I run daily. I was hoping this would balance that out. It is so much more than that. I have been following the same routine now for over 8 years and it works just perfectly for me. Just enough that I feel wonderful and stretched out after following the beginner segments. I have not even ventured to the more advanced tracks, I am so happy with the beginner ones.
The instructions are very clear, and if you put a full length mirror in the room where you practice, you can easily see how your pose looks compared to the DVD and adjust accordingly. A lot of the beginner poses are still challenging for me, I know I can still improve. It’s that feeling of relaxation and contentment that I feel afterward that is impossible to put into words.
Review 2: Really really great
I am a little confused by the folks who say that there isn’t enough instruction and that there are not enough cautions at the beginning of the program. If you watch the first section, you get a clear overview of ways to focus, and the instructor says very clearly that as a beginner, a person should only challenge themselves as far as they feel a stretch, but that this should not be painful, and that beginners should not expect to be able to fully achieve the poses yet. Furthermore, as you watch, she continually suggests modifications for beginners, and gives instructions that are so clear and explicit that yesterday I found myself altering the position of my big toe. It is THAT clear.
I love the short workouts that isolate areas to strengthen as supplements to the longer workouts. As a beginner, having those short chunks has really helped me, and with several weeks of this program, and doing the backbend segment every other day, I have noticed that my lower back doesn’t hurt in the morning anymore. I can’t wait for the evening each day so that I can go home and do my yoga! I tried taking yoga classes at my gym, and disliked how fast and advanced the programs were. This really is perfect for beginners!
Review 3: but I want to tell you that this is a GOOD video. She has beginner routines and advanced routines
I’ve done yoga before, off and on for years, but decided I needed to fine-tune my moves, because I’d never really had any instruction. I admit that I am out of shape at the moment, but I want to tell you that this is a GOOD video. She has beginner routines and advanced routines. I decided to start at the beginning and do them in order. The first two routines were pretty much about stretching and relaxing.
I fell asleep after the first one because I was so relaxed. Then came the standing poses. I had to do it three times before I could do it all the way through – and then the next day I was sore. It’s really good. She talks you through each move, and it goes slowly, so that you know you’re doing it right. I feel like I made a really good choice for building a good yoga foundation. I haven’t had a chance the last few days to continue, but I feel myself looking forward to each routine. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to start off slow and really learn it.