Can You Really Learn Yoga from a DVD?

I just received this question from a surfer
who’s been following the free yoga surf stretches:

Can you really learn yoga from a DVD? Don’t you need to have a yoga instructor spotting you to make sure that you’re doing the pose correctly? Fitness trainers at my gym said that you can get injured if you’re not doing the pose 100% correctly. Also, don’t you have to study for years before becoming a yoga instructor?”

My answer:

Thanks so much for writing! I understand where the fitness trainers are coming from, which is why in the full-length DVD programs, I go into quite a bit of detail about avoiding injuries and working in a way that supports, strengthens and heals your body.

Many of the YFS customers use the DVDs to complement their yoga practice. In other words, they do go to classes for personal instruction but use the DVDs when they travel or can’t make it to their regular yoga classes.

Also, my style of yoga is relatively “risk-free” — I’m not teaching headstands or shoulder stands, which DEFINITELY should be done with supervision from a trained instructor, especially when you’re new to yoga.

In fact, I always teach students to do yoga on their own — a few minutes daily can be much more beneficial than one 90-minute class a week.

Now, about training to become a yoga teacher: certainly, to truly MASTER anything takes about 10 years, but you can learn the basics and become quite proficient at teaching others in a relatively short amount of time, and then continue to build on that.

Personally, I’ve been practicing yoga for over 15 years and teaching for over 10. I always encourage students to try a variety of teachers and styles of yoga before they find a good fit. Yoga is like food — it comes in many different flavors and traditions. You need to find what suits your needs at whatever stage you are in during your life at the moment.

Some people rely on yoga as their main “workout” while others use it more for relaxation and stress reduction. Different teachers have different styles, and my approach is very unique.

In fact, here’s an email I got recently from YFS customer who is an experienced yogini:

First and foremost I want to say thank you. I have been in yoga for a long time and am a surfer. I have encountered many teachers who have lacked the skill of teaching and style of your videos. I go to many different schools and I find that you still are a better teacher and I enjoy the flow (From position to position and skill levels) that you’ve created for your dvd’s.

I live in San Diego and am looking to get my teaching certification. I don’t know if you teach at a studio or have any direction that you can give to a school that has your talent. If you have any suggestions or do teach I would love to go to a few of your classes. If nothing else I just wanted to send you an email saying you’re a great talent in yoga and I appreciate what you’ve added to the practice. Thank you for your time.

Rebekah Wright

(By the way, I am putting together a Yoga for Surfers Teacher Training program based on Rebekah’s interest and that of dozens of other teachers and teachers-in-training. Please respond to this email if you’d like more information about that.)

And as always, please send your questions my way! The way I look at it, the more surfers doing yoga, the better the vibe in the line-up!

P.S. Every yoga instructor I know ALWAYS encourages students to practice at home as well. Yoga is NOT about executing poses in a classroom or studio — yoga is a way of living. It’s an entire WAY of “being”. And you need no one “spotting” you on that, if you get what I mean!

P.P.S. If YOU want to experience feeling better and surfing better by incorporating yoga into your lifestyle, get the complete Yoga for Surfers program here, with bonus gifts and free shipping (including international orders!). Free shipping ends midnight January 31, 2010, so place your order today!

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2 Comments

Filed under surfing, yoga

2 responses to “Can You Really Learn Yoga from a DVD?

  1. DVDs are a great complement to training in the studio and can help the student remember the postures, etc. when they are at home. I totally agree that yoga is a way of life, to be done daily at home, NOT just a “workout” you do once a week in the studio… As for teacher certification: I was very surprised to learn that a person can become a Certified Yoga Instructor by taking a 200-hour course, consisting of 10 weekends (a little less than 3 months) which requires no prior yoga training! I have been doing yoga since 1976, have studied with some masters, and have taught informally off and on, and recently opened my own yoga studio, Yoga at Lothlorien. I could not afford to take time off work and the expense of traveling to obtain the 200-hour certification. For insurance purposes, I obtained my certification online from Expert Rating in India (not recommended unless you already know what you are doing – this is a difficult test, designed for people who are already trained and just need the piece of paper to certify that), and I have joined Independent Yoga Educators of America. What’s amazing to me is that people with little or no prior experience in yoga can now be “Certified” to teach in 3 months, while those of us who have been doing this for many, many years may not be eliigible to be “Certified” unless we take the course. So when looking for an instructor, don’t just ask “Are you certified?” but rather, “How long have you been doing this? Who have you studied with?” etc.

  2. P.S. Great work, Rebekah! I would definitely like to learn more about your Yoga for Surfers Teacher Training program, especially if it will be available on DVD.

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