With the growing emergence and popularity of Eastern holistic practices, activities like yoga have been sharply on the rise. Yoga studios popped up increasingly over the past decade almost everywhere and yoga training sessions, including DVD’s grew in popularity.

With so many possibilities out there today, it can be tough to know how to choose which resources may best to meet your needs. Hence I would like to share with you a review of one such yoga resource – an instructional DVD by Tara Stiles called, Yoga Anywhere: The New York Sessions.

Tara Stiles’ Yoga Anywhere: The New York Sessions, is a new yoga DVD that came out the summer of 2010. I love yoga, so I was super excited at checking out this DVD and sharing with others who may benefit. However, after trying it several times, my feelings were very mixed as to what kind of a resource this is, and who would most benefit from it.

My personal experience with yoga, to give you a gauge of the perspective I hold when reviewing this DVD is having practiced it regularly for more than a year. Thus I am not a beginner, but no expert either. I would put myself somewhere in the intermediate or advanced category.

Tara Stiles – Yoga Anywhere DVD Content

Tara Stiles is a yoga teacher and expert who also has a yoga studio - Strala Yoga – in New York. The Tara Stiles Yoga Anywhere DVD features Tara in a 1 hour of yoga instruction and several segments of just doing yoga herself.

This DVD claims to offer “two hours of authentic yoga practice”, be “reinventing what it means to practice yoga” and that it features a “flawlessly carved out, intense calorie-burning workout”.

It features one 60 minute (1 hour) routine, where Tara tries to guide the user through the routine. It also features 4 bonus routines of about 10 minutes each, which feature Tara doing yoga in various places around New York like: yoga in the park, yoga on the rocks, central park yoga, and flat iron yoga.

The Pros

After watching this DVD several times and giving it a try myself, here is what I can share that I enjoyed about it. Tara Stiles is a beautiful girl and she definitely knows her yoga. She has attained a fabulous, fit and flexible body. She definitely puts an artistic spin on yoga, and makes it seem like a beautiful art.

The best use for this DVD however, is to see it for entertainment purposes more than anything else, about what is possible through yoga. It can serve as an inspirational DVD to motivate and inspire people of all yoga levels, to aim for, or reach the level Tara has reached. The alternative music choices in the video can be both a pro or a con, depending what you are into. The settings in the video are fun and do carry the message that yoga can truly be done anywhere.

The Cons

Unfortunately this yoga DVD carries with it more hype, than value. First off, there is no way this is a DVD for beginners, as Tara states that it can be at the start of the 1 hour video session. While she is highly talented herself, this DVD demonstrates more than anything what she can do, rather than anything you may be able to do.

The 1 hour session is fast paced, and not always easy to hear clearly and understand what to do personally. The 4 short routines, are beautiful artistic expressions of yoga art, but in no way routines for personal practice, as nothing is said or instructed, leaving one no choice but to watch Tara, instead of practicing themselves.

So when it comes to the instructional 1 hour part, what I did not enjoy the most, is that most poses are not referred to by their common English yoga name. This leaves one to guess which pose they are moving into, or alternatively makes you watch what she is doing. This makes it impossible to do the poses yourself properly. Tara moves through the poses quickly, without clear or full explanations, and very little focus on proper posture to avoid injury. This hinders and leaves few to fully benefit from this session, unless you are already an experienced yoga student.

The only way that I see one being able to benefit from Tara’s yoga routine, is to watch the DVD enough times to memorize her routine and then be able to move into it yourself, where her guidance is in the background, but you know what poses are expected of you. In the end, there is not 2 hours of authentic yoga practice in this DVD at all, as it claims on the cover. In fact, the DVD itself is exactly 88 minutes.

Tara is quoted as saying: “I wanted to make authentic yoga available to everyone without the pretension or intimidation factor that has surrounded modern yoga culture. Whether you’re working toward weight loss, want to reduce stress, or get an extra boost of creativity, Yoga Anywhere sheds obstacles, and gets you on the path to living your best life.” While this sounds fantastic and I applaud her for wanting to help people achieve their health and fitness goals, especially through yoga, I just don’t feel that this DVD helps them accomplish that.

Finally, the fact that yoga can be done anywhere, doesn’t mean you may want to. I think anyone who sees this DVD will understand, that getting half naked in the middle of New York, is not going to allow for a calm and centered yoga practice.

Conclusion

Therefore, if you would like to get to know Tara and her work more, or see a fun, hip, artistic inspirational DVD of where yoga can take you and your body, then I would say, definitely give this DVD a try.

However, if you actually want a DVD which can teach you yoga postures properly, or have something to support your regular personal yoga practice, then I don’t recommend this DVD at all.

Packaging

The DVD comes in a regular plastic DVD case.

Price (as of this posting)

Availability

  • In the US and Canada, at famous book stores and online book stores, possibly some yoga studios
  • Internationally – not aware of any outlets selling this DVD

The Good

  • Entertaining
  • Showcases artistic aspects of yoga
  • Hip and creative
  • Can serve as an inspirational resource
  • Can serve as a motivational resource

The Bad

  • Not suitable for beginners
  • Not very clear instruction
  • Not very easy to follow, without constantly watching