Hot Yoga for Beginners DVD Review

Can You Really Do Hot Yoga at Home?

Gaiam Hot Yoga DVD

I will admit, the first time I heard about Gaiam's Hot Yoga for Beginners DVD, my thought was, "Who's going to do hot yoga at home - is that even possible?" I mean really, no one in their right mind will crank up their thermometer to 105 degrees for an hour-long home-based workout.

I posed my question to the company's rep, and her response was helpful, essentially stating that the DVD provides home users with sequences and poses commonly seen in hot yoga classes, enabling viewers to get a feel for the hot yoga experience, whether or not the practice is performed in a hot environment.

After receiving my hot yoga DVD, I was still skeptical. I'd attended a real-life Bikram Yoga class, and while I could have done without the overpowering sweat smell, the workout itself was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before. There was no way this DVD could measure up.

I was right.

And I was wrong.

Hot Yoga for Beginners Overview

The DVD is led by one of Gaiam's go-to instructors, The Yogi Matt, Matt Giordano. It offers three, 20 minute sequences, each of which can be done individually or can be paired together for a full, 60-minute workout. The first series is a steady warmup, the second is a dynamic flow including a variety of twists, and the third is a hip-opening cool down to leave you relaxed and energized.

The Pros

Truly, I fell in love with this practice. In fact, it only took the first, 20 minute sequence for me to become a die-hard fan. While the poses themselves are fairly standard (cat-cow, downward dog, upward dog, forward fold, warrior 1, and so forth), the slow and steady progression from one pose to the next completely transformed my life.

I know, I know, that sounds like a gross exaggeration, but it's not.

I'm a chronic low back pain sufferer, and I'm always looking for natural ways to help relieve my pain. Yoga does wonders for my back, but it's hard for me to make time for a regular, 60-minute practice.

That's what's so amazing about the sequencing of this DVD.

There was something about the first 20 minute section that loosened up my back and relieved my pain in a fraction of the time I'd usually have to take.

And while the other two sections are equally wonderful, I rarely even bother to move past the first section. Every morning, Monday through Friday, I take 20 minutes to do the warmup, knowing it'll leave me feeling limber and flexible, with a fraction of the pain I experience without it.

The Considerations

While I can't say enough good things about this DVD, it's still hard for me to justify calling it a "hot yoga" workout. A true hot yoga class is intense - you sweat buckets, your muscles get incredibly warm, enabling you to move in ways you didn't think possible, and you end up feeling like you're soaring at the end of class. Unless you're doing this DVD outside in the desert sun, there's no way it will ever deliver the same kind of experience. I'd feel more comfortable giving it a full five stars if it were called something like, Beginner's Yoga for Back Pain.

As it is, I can only give it 4.5 stars... given how much it's helped me, I can't possibly give it less.

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