Friday, July 10, 2009


Last winter, as I was beginning my yoga streak, I seriously considered joining one of those websites that provide video yoga classes. Ultimately, I nixed the idea because of bandwidth issues (I have the bargain basement internet plan and it suits me just fine). I remember thinking that I would vastly prefer a good audio recording with clear directions - I don't need the visuals.

I love my favourite Beryl DVD, but I never look at what's going down on the screen - I just listen. There are a few websites out there that offer purely audio classes. I perused the offerings over at (and eventually bought a recording of Beryl Bender Birch teaching the Primary Series in the Bahamas, a.k.a. 'Beach Beryl') and I looked at

Fast forward to a month ago, I entered an online contest for a one-year membership (unlimited downloads) to Happily, I won the membership and my account was set up this past week. I'm pretty excited about it! For a yogini on a 'yoga streak', this is quite a boon. I can try every single class on the site if I want to (and I may!). Many thanks to Beth for giving me this opportunity!

The primary difference between and seems to be the context of the recording and the prominence of the teachers. records live classes in the studio, and tends to favour prominent teachers like BBB, Ana Forrest and David Life. These classes have the feel of being a real yoga class - complete with all the sounds, inconsistency in holds and side comments to individual students. I kind of like this - it makes me feel like I'm in a class with people. offers a wider variety of classes in different durations (20, 30, 45, 60, 90 minutes) taught by teachers I've never heard of. The recordings are not done in situ, so they sound smoother and a bit more 'canned'. The holds are very consistent thoughout the recordings and there's no distraction (you can even opt out of the background music in some classes).

Today, I was in a time crunch and decided to download a class on my new membership. The only category listed under the 'Astanga' designation is 'Power Yoga 2' with Natalie Maisel. It's billed as a 'Level 3 - Intermediate' class (the levels offered range from 1 to 4). There are six classes listed under the category, ranging from 20 - 75 minutes. I decided to give the 60 minute class a try.

It was fun. It had a smooth flow and the instruction was good. Variations were offered to increase the intensity of the practice for more advanced students (optional pushups in Vinyasa, etc). Most of the postures were a beginner/intermediate level with a few advanced thrown in (Galavasana took me a bit by surprise, as did the transition from Bakasana to Tittibhasana A). The Savasana is not led - it's merely a suggestion. I worked up a nice sweat in this class and enjoyed it overall.

I like the fact that there are a variety of time formats to choose from on this website. I was curious to know whether the 30 minute class was merely a shortened version of the longer classes - it wasn't. The longer classes included different poses throughout the sequence (rather than tacking on some extra stuff at the end).

This means that there really are 6 different classes - or at least variations on this theme. The site has a lot of variety - there are many more 'flow' yoga classes I haven't yet explored, as well as Hatha, restorative, Forrest, fusion, Hot Yoga, etc. There are even Guided Rituals (for the Pagans in the audience). This will be a fun way to try out some different styles.


Michelle said...

Oh wow. That was great that you won that membership. I don't need the visuals either, but then again, I don't do Ashtanga yoga. My problem is that I have a lot of videos on VHS and in my new yoga room I only have a portable DVD. So, off to ebay to get some DVDs.

Kaivalya said...

@Michelle: Ooooo! New DVDs sound like a whole lot of fun! I can't wait to see what you get.