3.15.2008

Stretching out

During my senior year of college, my wonderful roommate introduced me to yoga. Now, I'll admit, when she first whipped it out, I thought it was some crazy thing they did in California but with her prodding "You HAVE to try it!", soon enough, we were Warrior-II-ing side by side, and it was a blast.

Well, when we were no longer roommates, I couldn't get my yoga fix. I did buy one DVD, but wasn't impressed with it for a number of reasons. It was just OK. I joined a class at church which presented yoga as purely exercise, sans spirituality, and I appreciated that. I knew it was good for me, and I felt good after I worked out, but the middle-of-the-day class was just too hard to get to while also working a full time job. So, I kinda gave up. But I didn't want to.

And then! An opportunity to review a yoga dvd? This is just what I need! I was definitely excited. Then it came in the mail!

I'm always skeptical of yoga DVDs. There are a few ways they can go wrong, in my mind (this is just my preference, not hard and fast rules for everyone):
  • I want a workout, not a Hindu or New-Age spiritual lesson. I won't tolerate workout leaders that insist I must buy into the spiritual origins of the very valid exercises to participate, because I don't.
  • If the video is all instructional, it is good for beginners, but for someone who knows the basic poses, it breaks up the "flow" of the practice, and, frankly, is kind of annoying.
  • On the other hand, I'm no expert, so, during the practice, if the leader changes positions without letting me know audibly what they're doing, I have to be constantly watching the screen, which is a really hard thing to do in Downward-Facing Dog. Voice cues of the next pose and when to move on allow me to focus on my body and stretching rather than the screen.
I was sent Real Body Work's Yoga: Gentle Vinyasa Flow to try out. So what did I think of this yoga dvd? I was delighted. From the one practice I've done so far, it meets all my criteria for "good" yoga instruction: it treated the positions and practice as exercise with no spiritual aspect to it; the "practices" truly flowed well, with no instruction to break it up during the exercise; the instructor was clear and let the viewer/listener know what to do next rather than relying on just watching the screen to follow along. It's the last one that really made the yoga experience the best for me.

I was also impressed at the amount of features on this disc. This is Real Body Work's' "intermediate" DVD- there are instructional videos for each pose on it, but they are separate from the practice, and are conveniently categorized and separated into chapters, so I can "scroll" to the specific position I'm looking for a brush-up explanation for, rather than having to watch the whole video to get to the one I have a question about. the explanation not only showed and told how to properly do the pose, but explained ways to modify it if you are pregnant, have tight hamstrings, have a bad back, etc. This "quick reference" pose guide was very nice and well-designed. I'm also impressed by the number and variety of practices the disc holds- 2 half-hour practices, 2 forty-five minute practices, and 2 practices that last over an hour. I'll have to work up to those! The variety would certainly allow someone to make yoga a part of their routine without getting bored by the exact same sequences over and over.

All in all, this is a very good Beginner/Intermediate yoga DVD for home practice. For a first-timer, there may not be enough explanation of each position, and things may move a little fast. For me, I was able to get explanations of what I needed quickly and easily, and to enjoy the practice without distraction. I'm a fan.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Yeah, I'll definitely have to try this one out!

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