At this time, it is easy to find audio books, DVD’s, and various video formats made by world famous מורת יוגה teachers. The world of Yoga has changed from small classes, in a Yoga teacher’s home, to gymnasiums full of eager Yoga students.
This is a good thing – so who needs a private lesson when you can buy a Yoga video and learn from the masters? Learning Yoga should be a “piece of cake,” right? Wrong; as a matter of fact – Painfully wrong.
Yoga videos are great learning tools for “Yoga Teachers.” Sometimes, I use them at workshops for Yoga teacher interns, but we stop the film at certain points and cover intricate techniques. This gives a Yoga teacher, or an intern, a more complete understanding of the subject covered.
On more than one occasion, we have had a new Yoga student join because he or she was injured while practicing Hatha Yoga, with a video, at home. How is that possible? It is as simple as watching the television and cranking your neck to the side while practicing a Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana ) or Plow (Halasana).
Why would someone do that? Someone who is new to Hatha Yoga, and has had no formal guidance from a Yoga instructor, does not know better. Hatha Yoga is a safe practice, if you develop a foundation of knowledge by coming to Yoga classes and learning from a competent Yoga teacher.
If there is no Yoga teacher in your nearby area, use a Yoga DVD or video. Please watch the Yoga practice at least one time, completely, so that when you physically participate, you do not injure yourself. You should take notes and develop a safe practice, based on the easiest postures you see.
When you start to develop a Hatha Yoga home practice, never force your body to do anything. Always stay in the “comfort zone” and play it safe. In your spare time, read about contraindications for Yoga postures. This will help you expand your knowledge of Yoga and stay safe.
If you do have a Yoga teacher nearby, and get injured because you did not visit a class, or set up a private lesson – Shame on you. Whenever, you take a private lesson with a Yoga teacher, ask questions. That is what you are paying for.
If you are new to Yoga, and have a health condition, it would be wise to inform your teacher. It would also be in your best interest to take a private Yoga session. In the case of pregnancy, you should seek out a certified Prenatal Yoga instructor, if approved by your physician.