The focus of this absolute beginner yoga program is on classes that move through gentle poses while being careful and emphasizing alignment. Each class builds on the one before it, finishing with classes that which will challenge the student the most. Do your best to stay on the schedule, but if you don't it's ok to take more days in between or to do classes 2 days in a row. Make it fit your schedule when you need it to!
Week 1: Learn the Yoga Basics
Yoga for Absolute Beginners: Sukhasana and Dandasana
Props: Block, Bolster, Blankets
In this class, David shows you how to comfortably sit on the floor in two of yoga's more common seated positions, easy cross-legged (sukhasana) and staff pose (dandasana). He also helps you understand some of the basic yoga principles as you learn how to stretch your body effectively.
Yoga for Absolute Beginners: Virasana
Props: Strap, Block, Bolster, Balances
Thunderbolt pose (virasana) can be particularly hard on the knees and ankles, so David shows you how you can sit comfortably using blankets and pillows, while still getting the most from the pose and maintaining the ability to move into other stretches. He also shows you how to make a bolster if you don't have one.
Yoga for Absolute Beginners: Sun Salutations
Now that you know how to sit comfortably, David takes you through one of the most common movements in yoga, called a sun salutation. He shows you ways to adapt the sequence to your needs so you can join any class, anywhere, whether it's another class on this site or in a local yoga studio.
Week 2: Learn the Yoga Fundamentals: Core Stability
The 3-Part Breath and Ujjayi Breathing
Difficulty: Gentle Beginner
Our breathing is a natural place to begin when learning how to activate and strengthen the core. Our breath affects how much tension we hold in our bodies, how calm or active our nervous system is and how we use the power that is within us. In this class, the first of a series of three on core stability, David teaches you two breathing techniques that you may use in all of your future classes.
Integrating the Breath and the Bandhas
Difficulty: Gentle Beginner
This video, the second in a series of three on core stability, covers the breath and bandhas (deep core locks), which together create stability and strength that you can use in your life and in your yoga practice, no matter what you are doing. Learning how to engage and strengthen the bandhas will allow you to feel a sense of power and lightness in your body, length in your spine and will show you how to practice yoga safely.
Finding Stability In All Poses
Now that you have learned how to breathe deeply and engage and strengthen the deep core muscles (bandhas) from the first two videos in this series, David shows you how to use these principles to stabilize the lower back and pelvis while stretching and doing some of the most common yoga poses.
Week 3: Learn the Yoga Fundamentals: Strength and Stretch
Align, Stabilize and Stretch
Props: Strap, Block
This class shows you what a full-length class feels like when you put a lot of emphasis on core stability throughout. As we said in the earlier classes, the intention is to feel light as you do yoga, maintaining a slow, deep breath, while attempting to balance effort and release in everything that you do.
Establishing Core Strength I
After you have learned how to breathe and engage your core and stretch your body while your core is engaged, now David teaches you how to strengthen your core. Core strength will not only make you stronger and protect your spine, it will make you feel taller and lighter in your everyday life.
Establishing Core Strength II
Props: Block, Chair
In this class, part 2 of our core strength series, David shows you how to keep the core engaged while moving your arms and legs and stretching some of the key groups of muscles around the pelvis that can limit mobility, such as the hamstrings, hips flexors (psoas and quadriceps), hips and lower back.
Week 4: Pranayama, Stretch and Strength
Calming Pranayama Yoga
To begin week 4 we shift attention to a powerful practice called pranayama. Your breath has the ability to calm you, energize you, create mental clarity and motivation and potentially heal you. This is a great beginner introduction to a pranayama practice that you can use every day, or when you need to clear out some cob webs.
Yoga for Lower Back Pain: Strengthen, Stretch and Relax Your Back I
It may feel like this yoga class is in the wrong program, but it’s in fact a great way to learn how to integrate core strength into a yoga class that focuses on flexibility. David does both, with care, and with an attention to detail that is needed when working with lower back pain.
Morning Slow Hatha Yoga Flow
This lovely, gentle hatha yoga class is wonderful for so many reasons. This class will teach you how to move in and out of poses with care and grace, as well as relax, even when doing poses that are difficult or uncomfortable.
Week 5: Pranayama, Stretch and Strength (Again!)
Pranayama Yoga to Wake Up
Week 5 begins with another pranayama yoga class, one that is designed to increase your vitality, clear your mind and wake you up! Learning breathing techniques like kapalabhati are invaluable, particularly if you need to clear that fatigue from your system but don’t have a lot of time.
A Well-Rounded Challenging Beginner Flow
Difficulty: Challenging Beginner
This is a fantastic class once you are ready to take on something a little more challenging. Rachel’s clear guidance and attention to detail allow you to integrate the alignment principles that you learned earlier on, making sure you continue to do the poses correctly, getting the most from your yoga practice and minimizing the chance of injury.
Yoga for Lower Back Pain: Strengthen, Stretch and Relax Your Back II
Your final class this week is the 2nd class in David’s 2-part series on lower back pain. In this class, he takes what you learned in the first class and challenges you a little more with slightly more challenging core exercises and deeper stretches. It’s another fantastic class for learning the basics of alignment and stability and a great way to release the muscles of the pelvis, lower back and legs.
Week 6: Pranayama and Core Strength
Yoga Tutorial: Bhastrika Pranayama
We begin with week 6 with another pranayama class, this time a shorter tutorial. Feel free to continue with the breathing exercise after the tutorial is over, if you feel comfortable with it. Bhastrika is a powerful breathing exercise that can move the kundalini and raise your energy levels quickly!
Difficulty: Gentle Beginner
Core strength is a key part of everything you, not just yoga. A strong core will help protect your back, become a stronger athlete and allow you to maintain a healthy posture. This class is a great reminder of the core principles, threaded throughout a beginner hatha yoga class.
Mindfulness Meditation: A Guided Meditation on Focus
The last class of our Yoga for Absolute Beginners Program is an introduction to Mindfulness Meditation, an invaluable exercise that will enhance your yoga practice and your life as a whole. This is the 1st of a series of 3 videos with David. The next ones are Mindfulness Meditation: A Guided Meditation on Expanding the Mind and Mindfulness Meditation: A Guided Meditation on Impermanence.