Yoga classes can unlock all of those healthy benefits that yoga offers. But do people really need to drive across town and make all their beginner's mistakes in front of a room full of strangers?
Of course, there are hundreds of DVDs and online classes, but beginner courses are often thrown into these packages almost as an afterthought. I wanted to be able to recommend a good beginner's yoga program for those of us who work out at home.
My 3 Week Yoga Retreat review will show you what makes it a good option for people like us: Beginners who don't want anything to do with a yoga studio.
- What Should You Consider Before Starting A Beginner's Yoga Program?
- What Is 3 Week Yoga Retreat?
- Here's what you get with the program:
- And here's what's recommended, but not included:
- What I like:
- What I would change:
- 3 Week Yoga Retreat Review
- The Instructors
- What To Expect From The Program
- Week One: Foundation
- Phase Two: Expansion
- Phase Three: Progression
- Day One: Core
- Day Two: Stretch
- Day Three: Balance
- Day Four: Flow
- Day Five: Flow On The Go
- Day Six: Relax
- Day Seven: Take 10
- Nutrition Is Important
- The 3 Week Yoga Retreat Calendar
- 3 WEEK YOGA RETREAT RESULTS
- Alternate Yoga Programs
- 3 Week Yoga Retreat in a nutshell
- Where to Get 3 Week Yoga Retreat?
Note: There are almost always free trials for beachbody on demand. In fact, beachbody.com is the only way you can access this workout series. I cover the details in this article.
What Should You Consider Before Starting A Beginner's Yoga Program?
Yoga is generally safe for people of all ages and fitness levels. But it does involve a lot of bending, stretching and balancing.
If you have joint problems, you may want to ask your doctor if your body can handle it. The same goes if you have osteoporosis or any other condition that weakens your bones. I did fall a couple times when I first tried yoga.
How's your balance? Vertigo or inner ear disorders can be aggravated by some yoga poses.
If you're healthy enough for yoga, and most people are, think about whether you are too fit for a beginner's program. If you're used to vigorous exercise that requires balance and you're pretty flexible now. Perhaps a more advanced yoga program may be a better fit for you.
I'm an avid mointain-biker, so I've built up some endurance and balance. Beginner's yoga was almost too easy for me. Sometimes easy is a good thing, though.
Being overweight isn't a disqualifier. I mention that because I'm surprised by how many people think it is. Yoga doesn't help much with weight loss, but it does build endurance, and it makes you more flexible. That will really help if you start a weight-loss program.
What Is 3 Week Yoga Retreat?
It's Beachbody on Demand's 21-day program for yoga newbs.
Four trainers lead you through 27 classes that promise to familiarize you with basic and intermediate poses, improve your balance, strengthen and tone your core, enhance your coordination and relax your body and mind. That's a lot of promises. Does 3 Week Yoga Retreat results live up to them? You'll have to read on to find out.
3 Week Yoga Retreat is available as a DVD set, and I think it's the best one around, but I'd highly recommend joining Beachbody on Demand for access to the streaming classes. Check out our review of Beachbody on Demand to see all the benefits of membership.
Here's what you get with the program:
- A three-week course consisting of 27 classes
- The 3 Week Yoga Retreat Calendar
- Progress Tracker: You take before and after photos so you can see for yourself how well you've mastered the poses
- Clean Eats nutritional guide
- Quick Start Guide
And here's what's recommended, but not included:
- Yoga mat
- Yoga blocks
- Yoga strap
Yoga blocks are small foam pillow-type things that can help support your body during difficult poses when you first start out. You can use a couple rolled-up towels instead. A yoga bolster, which is like a very firm body pillow, is another good option.
Yoga straps come in different styles. The most basic ones look like long canvas belts with a D-ring on one end. They help with some stretches and poses. The 3 Week Yoga Retreat instructors will show you how to use one.
Since you like my bullet lists so much, here's the pros and cons at a glance:
What I like:
- Easy for the beginner
- Professional instructors
- Includes nutritional guide, progress tracker and workout calendar
- With a Beachbody on Demand membership, you get access to over 40 HIIT, strength training and weight-loss programs for people of all fitness levels at no extra charge
What I would change:
- There are modifiers that make the poses easier, which is great, but there should be modifiers that make them more challenging too
- I'd make the program a week longer. But to be fair, you can repeat the program as many times as you want to.
3 Week Yoga Retreat Review
I've really scrutinized this program to see what it's all about. Let's dive into the details so you can decide if you want to give it a go.
You need to learn how to do yoga from an experienced teacher. That's how you learn proper form. You don't want to end up pulling a muscle.
So I looked into the instructors who developed the program and lead the 3 Week Yoga Retreat exercises.
Vytas Baskauskas has been a yoga instructor since 2001. His experience has made him one of the most recognizable names in his field. He'll get you started in phase one.
Faith Hunter has been studying various types of yoga since 1990. She's a long-time meditation expert as well. She'll help you relax on the weekend classes.
When Tour de France competitors need yoga instruction, they go to Ted McDonald. He's an expert on how to use yoga to build strength and prevent injury. Ted gets phase three.
Elise Joan is a former ballet dancer, and she integrates her graceful skills into her yoga instructions in phase two.
With instructors like these, I couldn't wait to see what the classes would be like.
What To Expect From The Program
There's something to do every day during this three weeks. If you do decide to try it, I'd recommend sticking to the schedule. It's just like any other workout program; you have to be consistent.
It's divided into three phases, each being a week long.
Each day focuses on one core yoga principle.
You may be used to strength training or HIIT workouts where each week or phase features progressively longer and more intense workouts. While these yoga workouts do get more difficult as the program progresses, their durations stay pretty much the same.
Don't think this means there'll be any less benefit to the sessions. This is yoga. The idea is to strengthen, tone and stretch your body by getting into and holding poses. There's no need to go all out with long, extreme exercise.
Let's break it down.
Week One: Foundation
I've seen other online 3 Week Yoga Retreat reviews that say this week is the instructional week, where you learn yoga form. This is wrong.
The whole program is about learning form. The following two phases do build on this one, but it's not really a prep week.
Vytas teaches you the basic yoga poses, on which all the others are built, and he teaches you what their benefits are.
Pay close attention here. Everything you do in the next two weeks builds on the core principles that Vytas is teaching you.
Take care and go slow. Every day's workout has a modifier. That's the guy or gal in the back who's using a slightly different form than the trainer. Do what the modifier is doing if what Vytas is doing makes you feel like your going to pull something.
Phase Two: Expansion
Elise leads this week. She demonstrates more advanced poses.
Again, I've seen other 3 Week Yoga Retreat reviews that are misleading in respect to what's going on during this phase. One review said that the goal here is the “expansion” of your muscles. No, the idea is to expand your repertoire of poses and advance your flexibility.
Although you'll probably notice that you've started to limber up by the end of phase one, this is the week where you'll see a change in your flexibility and balance. You may notice that your core feels a bit tighter as well.
Depending on what kind of shape you were in when you started, you may notice a bit of tightness in your arms, legs and back too. This tightness isn't from overexertion. That's just the way your musculature feels when it's using protein to build itself up. Faith will help you relax your muscles during her classes.
Phase Three: Progression
Ted McDonald takes the wheel this week to take things to the next level. There are some new poses. You'll use your newly enhanced balance, strength and flexibility to hold the poses longer and more accurately.
By the end of this week, you'll likely be on the same level as someone who has been taking yoga lessons at a studio for months. That's because you've been taking daily lessons and working every day to accomplish what others try to with just a couple classes per week.
That's how the three phases are set up. Every day of each week focuses on one aspect.
Now for a look at each day.
Day One: Core
All yoga poses require strength and control of your core. You'll notice that right away.
During the first week, you'll gain “awareness” of this muscle group, according to Vytas. Elisa incorporates breathing exercises into her core day, and Ted focuses on strengthening and toning when it's his turn.
Day Two: Stretch
Stretching releases tension from the body and stress from the mind. Regular stretching also enhances flexibility.
Vytas will show you the proper and safe way to stretch. After his stretch day, you'll know which poses are good for stretching your body's various muscle groups.
Elise builds on Vytas' basic instructions by combining her breathing exercises with the poses and by explaining how deep, regular breaths feed your muscles to further the effectiveness of the stretching.
Ted's stretch day is something you'll want to revisit over and over again if you workout regularly. Remember, he teaches yoga to Tour de France cyclists. He understands how to stretch hard working muscles.
Day Three: Balance
Balancing poses are tougher than you may think. But you'll amaze yourself with the positions you can hold after you master this three-week course.
Vytas makes it look easy, even though it isn't. But he explains everything so well that you hardly even have to look at the screen.
Elise goes into how learning to balance the body helps to balance the mind. Ted shows how important balance is for most any strength training exercise.
Day Four: Flow
One pose flows into the next, incorporated with timed and controlled breathing.
You'll be surprised at how relaxing this is. It's almost as if the world pauses while you're engaged in this vinyasa yoga.
All three trainers do a great job with the coaching. It's a pretty easy concept to catch on to.
Day Five: Flow On The Go
This day also focuses on flow, but the class is shorter and the flow is quicker.
You may return to this day's lesson often. If it turns out that you like yoga, you'll love a quick yoga session like this. This is one case where a Beachbody on Demand membership is really convenient. You can stream this, or any other workout, whenever and wherever you want to. That's a great option to have during a stressful day at work! A little yoga can go a long way.
Day Six: Relax
Vytas, Elise and Ted have five days during their respective weeks, but Faith takes over on the sixth and seventh days of each week. You'll be glad to see her too. She's laid back. Her job is to help you relax.
You're not going to be relaxing on the couch. These are gentler poses that de-stress the mind and body.
Day Seven: Take 10
Instead of being one 30-minute class, day seven consists of three 10-minute ones.
The ab session is about strengthening the core. It's not intense, but it is effective.
There are morning and evening routines as well. As would be expected, the morning one is energizing, and the bedtime one is relaxing.
There are also 12 mini-classes that offer extra help to those who have trouble with the 3 Week Yoga Retreat exercises. They're easy to understand and cover all the basic poses.
Nutrition Is Important
All the best exercise and wellness programs incorporate some kind of nutritional guide, and this one is no different.
You may be used to the low-carb, high-protein diets that go along with weight-loss and strength training programs. That's not what this is. The 3 Week Yoga Retreat meal plan isn't really designed to help you lose weight. It's meant to cleanse your body and help get you healthy.
It's more like paleo than anything else. You're guided to minimally processed, wholesome and low-fat foods.
I'd recommend sticking with the diet, not just for three weeks, but for the long term. I can tell you from experience that paleo-like diets increase your energy level and make you feel better in general.
The 3 Week Yoga Retreat meal plan features some tasty and easy-to-make recipes, but there's no food list like many other Beachbody on Demand programs have. You don't actually need one though. This isn't a strict diet. Oh, and there's no need for those infamous Beachbody on Demand color-coded portion control containers.
The 3 Week Yoga Retreat Calendar
I don't know about you, but I can stick with an exercise program better if I have its schedule laid out in front of me where I can see it. Stick it to your fridge. It shows you which exercises to do on what days.
Seeing how far you've come is more useful with a HIIT or weight-loss program, but it can give you some encouragement here too.
3 WEEK YOGA RETREAT RESULTS
I ran through countless tweets and posts to see what actual 3 Week Yoga Retreat participants were feeling about it. I didn't see any complaints. There could be some out there, but disputing the benefits of yoga is a hard find for anyone.
Beachbody on Demand posts results of the coaches as students quite frequently. Here are a couple people who have shared their success.
Nathan L, made a hybrid workout using Beachbody on Demand programs, The Asylum and P90x along with the 3 week Yoga retreat. He reported improved strength and balance along with weight loss.
I think the 4.5 pounds lost is an understatement. The Asylum and P90 program burn a ton of calories.
Alyssa M. reported success with improved strength and flexibility. She also lost over 7 lbs and improved her reach by 4 inches.
She is an independent Beachbody Coach who has followed the program and provided results to BeachBody on Demand.
From my view, adding yoga to my regular schedule wasn't something I considered worthwhile until I took the time to learn. I always felt that if I wasn't jumping around like a mad man during a high intensity interval workout or lifting weights, then it must not be a workout.
I can't make personal claims of weight loss because I am already on a pretty active workout schedule. However, after giving the workouts some time, I have much better balance, strength and mobility than I would have without.
Alternate Yoga Programs
There are countless other yoga DVD sets and online programs out there, and more are released all the time. Check some of these out.
YogaVibes offers a bunch of online Yoga classes taught by well-known instructors, including Faith Hunter. The site is searchable. You can filter by difficulty level, length, anatomical focus and other factors. The bad thing is the price. A yearly subscription is double that of Beachbody on Demand's.
Here's some key points where these two programs differ:
- Trainers: YogaVibes has many more
- Number of classes: More of them too
- Price: Wow, that's expensive!
Take a look if you feel like you need a bazillion different routines and don't mind paying double.
Yogis Anonymous live streams from their studio in Santa Monica. Their archive features over 1,000 classes from their many guest instructors. Most classes are in the 30 to 90-minute range. Again, the price is about double. And it's just Yoga, you don't get access to any HIIT, strength training or weight-loss programs.
Where Yogis Anonymous is different:
- Double price
- More classes
- Longer classes
- Access to live streams
Beginners aren't usually into long classes, but check this one out if you are.
Yoga Download offers unlimited streaming of its classes, or you can purchase and download individual classes. The cost of downloading them one at a time can really add up over time, but a yearly streaming membership costs about $40 more than Beachbody on Demand.
They also have audio-only versions of some of their classes. Beginners need a visual aid, but you may prefer the audio classes once you gain some experience.
- Higher price
- Downloadable classes
- Audio-only options
Beachbody on Demand doesn't allow downloads. If that's important to you, check Yoga Download out.
3 Week Yoga Retreat in a nutshell
Yoga can change your life. At the very least, it can get you into better shape. And you don't have to step foot into a studio to reap all the benefits.
But are 3 Week Yoga Retreat results worth the investment of money and time? I think so. It's made for beginners by professionals.
Here's the main things that sold me on it:
- It's the best deal I've found as far as price and value go
- The program's structure is easy to follow
- All classes have a modifier, so even out-of-shape beginners can do it
- It isn't just a bunch of videos – You get extras, like the nutritional guide, progress tracker and calendar
Where to Get 3 Week Yoga Retreat?
So, do you think you can get into yoga? I think you can. Click here to check it out!