Over the years I have bought several yoga dvd's and tried them all for a couple of months at a time, to make sure I was giving them a proper chance.
Barbara Curry's Power Packed Yoga is by far my favourite and the one I go back to time and time again.
Barbara is an excellent instructor, giving clear directions and information about the benefits of each movement (although some of these can drag a bit when you just want to get on with the next movement). There is also a good micture of kneeling, standing, sitting and laying postures.
But the best things about this dvd are:
1) It is very easy to work at your own level. It is not just Barbara on the screen...she stands in the middle and does the average movement, but behind her are two other yoga devotees, one doing the easy version of the same movement and one doing the most advanced version of it, so you can follow whichever one you feel most comfortable with.
2) It's broken down into sections so you can do as much or as little as you like. The four sections focus on Energy, Flexibility, Balance and Relaxation, so depending on what mood you're in, or what aspect of your workout you want to focus on, it can be easily adapted. Or you can do all four sections one after the other and get a real workout!
This DVD was my first introduction to yoga and I believe it stood me in good stead for going on to further practice and really helped me make the most of it. The first thing you notice when watching this DVD is how amazing Barbara Currie looks for her age, I decided then and there that I would make it my aim to be that fit and healthy and in that great shape when I was older, and if yoga was the way to do that, then that's what I'd do!
The DVD is divided into four twenty minute sections which is great for if you don't have a lot of time or if you want to focus on a particular area or posture. The sections are 'Energy', which as the name suggests is a more energetic sequence which raises the heart rate slightly and leaves you feeling refreshed and raring to go. 'Flexibility' which concentrates on less tiring but often more challenging poses, 'Balance' which is the one I found the hardest and involves a lot of standing on one leg and 'Relaxation' which is a great way to round off the other three sections or you can do it on your own before bed if you have trouble sleeping. I always feel chilled out enough to have a nap after doing this section!
Each section features Barbara and two other women (whose names I can't seem to remember, sorry) performing the sequences in a plain yoga studio with nice soft lighting. Barbara performs the most advanced version of each posture with one of the other women demonstrating the beginner version and the other a version in between. This is great because it means the DVD is suitable for complete yoga novices but you can still use it as you develop and improve. Barbara also goes through each sequence and posture twice so that you can really get the hang of them.
I've found this DVD to be really effective, it focuses more on the physical aspects of yoga rather than the spiritual which suits me as this is what I am more interested in. I enjoy the relaxed feeling you get from yoga but I'm not huge fan of lying on the floor for 20 minutes practicing breathing and visualising! After a few weeks of using this DVD I noticed a real difference to my flexibility and general fitness. It even improves your strength as a lot of the poses (including the one on the DVD cover) require a surprising amount of it!
I highly recommend this DVD for anyone looking to start practicing yoga or who has trouble getting to a class regularly due to time or cost. I paid around £10 for my copy but its available for about £5 on Amazon at the moment, I say snap it up, calmly of course!