Friday, September 3, 2010

Review: The Yoga Learning Center

Image from the Yoga Learning Center

Last week I was contacted through my blog by the Yoga Learning Center, a website that offers video and audio yoga classes.  They offered me a free membership to check out the site and post a review on my blog.

Given that I live overseas and don't have regular access to a yoga teacher or studio, I have often wondered if such websites could be good learning options for people like me.  So over the next few weeks I'll be trying out some of their classes and reviewing them, as well as the site in general.  Exciting! 

Site Overview

My first impression is that the website is nicely designed and it's easy to navigate, which is great.  Upon browsing around I found I liked how easy it is to search for a class that suits your purposes.  The site lets you easily browse classes by media type (video or audio), instructor, experience level or class length, or a combination of the above.  You can also save a class to your 'favourites' so that you can easily go back to a practice you particularly enjoyed.

The site presents a variety of audio and video classes including asana - physical postures - pilates and meditation practices, varying in length from about 10 minutes to 90 minutes.  At first glance there seem to be a wide variety of levels, from active to restorative, and styles including prenatal yoga, and "yoga for the young at heart" (awesome! Senior yogis rock!).  The site also provides a guide to the main asanas or postures (with photos and descriptions), a blog-style section with articles on various aspects of yoga, and a forum where members can discuss yoga with each other or post questions for the site's instructors.

One thing that I like so far is that the overall language of the site, particularly the asana descriptions, emphasise listening to your "inner wisdom" and respecting your body.  Another thing, pertinent to this week's raging debate in the yoga blogsphere, is that their asana photographs feature "normal people" (although all women) as their models.  It's a small library so there are only 3 or 4 models, but it's refreshing to see a variety of ethnicities, ages and body types demonstrating the poses.

I'm going to start testing the classes with a beginner's mind, so stay tuned for a review of some of the level 1 and 2 practices next week.

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