Video Fitness

Yoga Zone: Introduction to Yoga

Alan Finger

Since I'm not someone that has great flexibility in my hamstrings I find a number of yoga positions/stretches very difficult. And as I would like to get more flexibility there I have been searching for a "beginner" level yoga tape that modifies all the moves to the point where I can begin. Intro to Yoga is a great beginner yoga tape. Alan Finger is a great instructor. His calming voice, humor and precise description allows you to do the movements without having to keep your eyes glued to the screen. Also two people modify the whole time. And the modification is integrated into the flow of moving through each position as opposed to an after shot which is common in other videos.

The video has sitting and standing positions. They are: potted palm series (stretches from a cross-legged position), cat pose, cobra pose, childís pose, downward dog, mountain pose, sun breathes, cows head pose (need a strap or towel), blown palm series, stork pose (balance on one foot), triangle pose, spinal twist, lying leg extension (stretch hamstrings with towel or strap for assistance).

The video ends with a relaxation period. Finger talks you through the relaxation, itís more like a meditation to meld mind-body awareness, which you can follow or just relax there. I highly recommend this video to anyone who is beginning yoga or wants an alternative to a regular stretch video. The whole video is about 60 minutes.

Instructor comments: This is my idea of the perfect yoga instructor. He's got a knack for describing each pose in detail so that is seems effortless to the novice to understand. He has a good sense of humor and warmth.

Lisa Kucharski
1/9/99

If you are looking for a basic beginner yoga tape that includes many of the basic poses, GET THIS TAPE! This is the best of the basic beginner tapes that I have used, and I have about 15 yoga tapes. I would consider myself an intermediate in yoga, as I am pretty flexible and do some power yoga (I've been doing yoga for about 2 1/2 years) but I still have a lot to learn. This tape is appropriate for beginners, but intermediates in yoga can use it for a light yoga workout or to perfect their form on the poses. The length is about 55 minutes. The set is a basic studio (wood floors and yoga mats) but pleasant. The music is relaxing, appropriate for yoga but not too new-agey.

Alan starts out by instructing the proper breathing technique. He then instructs a series of poses as his instructors demonstrate different modifications. He explains the benefits of each pose, and describes in detail where your body should be. You will start out seated doing a potted palm series (cross-legged seated forward bends, spinal twists, and side leans). You will then go into cat pose, lunges, down dog, rag doll (standing, legs slightly bent, head and arms dangling). Mountain pose is next (standing). You will then do a series of several sun salutations. Next is dandasana (seated with your legs straight out in front of you). You will then do one-legged forward bends. Then comes shavasana (corpse/relaxation pose). Alan takes you through a thorough conscious relaxation. Very nice!

This video also comes with an insert that has photographs and descriptions of the different poses used in the video. Overall, I think this is an excellent choice for a basic yoga tape. You can take the poses as far as you are comfortable taking them. Alan stresses that yoga is noncompetitive. I highly recommend this one!

Instructor comments: Alan Finger is the founder of the Yoga Zone studios in New York City. He has been studying yoga for over 30 years. In this video, his cuing is very precise. His South African accent is very pleasant to listen to, and his voice is very relaxing. His tone is non-mystical, but he definitely emphasizes the meditative quality of yoga. He presents yoga in such a way that it is accessible to everyone. Alan does not actually perform the poses--he sits in lotus position in the middle of his classroom, and others demonstrate. One of his instructors demonstrates the beginner versions of the poses, and the other demonstrates the advanced beginner variations. There are two other participants whom he terms "yoga enthusiasts": his wife Greta, who has been practicing yoga for many years (15?) and a friend who has been practicing yoga for two years. The form of the instructors is very good.

Kristin Aziz
1/18/99

This has already been described in detail, so I'll just add my comments.

This is an *excellent* video! I'd been contemplating buying this for weeks, and I'm glad I finally did. In fact, it came in handy just days after I bought it, when I used too much weight or didn't use proper form - I developed a "crick" between my neck & my shoulder. I popped in this tape the day after this "crick" developed, & it lessened the strain.

This would be a great tape to do after a cardio or strength workout as well as on its own. In fact, with the insert you can just select the poses you want to do without having to do the entire the tape.

This tape is very soothing, it'll calm your nerves. I'm only a beginner with this type of yoga (I've done hatha yoga on & off - more off than on - for a few years), yet I felt I've increased my flexibility a bit & have strengthened my abs a bit just from the few times I've used this video.

If you're a beginner when it comes to yoga, but aren't sure you want all that mind-body stuff in a yoga tape (Alan Finger does stress proper breathing though), this video is for you!

What a GREAT tape & a GREAT instructor!

Instructor comments: Soothing, relaxing voice. Tells you at the beginning that yoga is non competitive & throughout the video that you should only go as far as your body tells you to. Excellent instructor, you can actually do most of the poses just by listening to his voice.

NanB
nbeck@c-sgroup.com
2/17/99

Since this video has already been broken down really well, I'm just going to go on to my opinion of it.

The main problem I usually find with yoga videos is that the instructors don't describe the asanas very well and they expect you to watch the screen all the time, especially when the pose least allows you to. The solution? This video!

I am a beginner at Yoga and, without this video, I don't think I could have enjoyed it as much as I do. I have noticed a vast increase in my flexibily and it's fun to do!

I like the fact that there are the two senior instructors who do the postures, showing both the beginner and the more advanced version of each pose. It makes me feel as though this video will be one that I can grow with.

I would highly recommend this tape to anyone who is wanting to learn yoga by video. It's the best there is!

Instructor comments: Alan Finger is the most amazing yoga instructor on earth (IMHO). Alan knows exactly how to pput into words what you should be doing and feeling. If this video were to be put into a cd format for travelling, you would still be able to do the workout.

Cori Hudson

July 17, 2002

I don't have a lot of yoga experience, so my review will be brief. I think "Introduction to Yoga" is an unfortunate title for this video, since it implies that this program is primarily for absolute beginners. I disagree. While Alan Finger's instruction is precise enough for a beginner, I think those with a bit of yoga experience might enjoy and benefit from Introduction to Yoga. It's not power yoga, but as someone who needs to work on flexibility, I find it challenging, and thorough.

Instructor comments: Offers very careful instruction, without interrupting the progress of the workout.

Lynnee

June 2003

I just loved this DVD. I am a beginner to yoga, whose only other previous experience has been through yoga stretches in aerobics tapes.

What I really enjoyed about the tape -

1. Alan Finger is a great instructor who does an excellent job of describing the different exercises and what your body is striving for with each pose. His descriptions also continue through the transitions from one pose to another, which I found very useful.

2. There are two people modifying poses to make the different exercises more attainable for those with less flexibility. (i.e me.)

3. This w/o is about you and improving your own flexibility, balance, and strength and not feeling inadequate because you aren't doing everything perfectly. Alan emphasizes this in his narrative. Also during the stork sequence, one of the background exercisers loses his balance and doesn't get flustered, he just regathers himself and moves on. To me that really brought home that this workout is about what I can do and trying to improve my flexibility and balance. I shouldn't feel frustrated because I lose my balance, I should just regather, try again, and with practice I might just make it through the whole sequence without falling over.

4. I love the meditative quality of the workout. When I was done I felt calm and centered. This isn't something I feel too often as a part time working mother of a 1 and 3 year old. LOL I think it is also important to note that he is meditative, but without getting into a more spiritual/mystical vein. It is more along the lines of just letting your body let go of tension.

If I have one complaint it is that the workout is too long. At an hour in length I can't see myself being able to do this more than once a week.

Instructor comments: Alan Finger has a wonderful calming voice and a great ability to descibe yoga moves in such a way as to make you understand exactly what you are supposed to be doing with your body. He has a meditative quality to his voice that I love.

Talie

9/7/05



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