I did do Pure and Simple Yoga for the first time last night and oh my god, it may be my most favorite yoga video ever. I like PY4H but it moves so fast like most power yoga that it is really hard for me to keep up, and I can never synch my breath and I don't see how anyone can when you move that fast sometimes it is like vinyassa/breath of fire!
This one is just an absolute gem. It has everything that I ever wanted in a yoga video. The production is top notch. Eoin is wonderful, gives the best form pointers, and keeps you happy. The video shows only Eoin with no backups. The scenery is beautiful, a beach in Mexico. The DVD has several unique qualities including giving you the choice to view Eoin performing the beginner or intermediate versions of the poses. The fact that you can do beginner, intermediate, or split screen is perfect for me. I like to be inspired sometimes and look at the harder poses but other days I will feel intimidated and want to watch exactly what he does. It is also really nice to have the harder versions to look at because it helps you get into the pose when you see where it is leading. He also provides two audio tracks, one with lots of instruction, and one with just the pose names. I love when people do this on tapes because after you have done them 1000 times you can really get annoyed by hearing the exact same thing. Music on or off option- always wonderful.
He moves though the poses a little more slowly than other power yoga, but this isn't slow yoga. One thing that I really liked was in Sun Salutation B he take three breaths during warrior 1, I so appreciated this. I have trouble pulling my leg through with my bad knees and I can usually never get into warrior before everyone else is in chutturanga. Everything else in the sun salutes was 1 breath, except Down Dog which was held for 6. The other poses in the tape usually had two breaths to get into the pose and then 3-6 once you were in it. There was a nice standing session, some hip work, 3 boat poses, and then everything else was lying on your back so you ended in utter relaxation. Nothing out of the ordinary in pose selection but it had a lovely flow.
The aspect I like about this video the most is the Tidal Breath feature. He set the whole practice originally to a metronome and what a great idea. This is something that I have pondered quite a bit. I thought about getting a CD of waves crashing and matching my breath to that, but it wouldn't work with tapes because they go fast through some parts and slow through others. I never realized how out of synch my breath was until I tried this DVD where you can play the breath track all the way through it. You mostly can just hear the exhale and it kind of sounds like waves crashing. I can see how this would bother some (it is optional), but for me it was a dream come true! I never felt such union with my practice! The yoga buzz was what I usually only get from Kundalini just excellent.
So in conclusion I am so glad that I preordered this (and think, I only did it because in a moment of weakness I saw that he was giving away trips to his yoga retreat in Costa Rica to those who ordered). It is my favorite ever (for now)
I will officially recommend this video to every one I see!
Eoin is comes off as having a fun and loving personality and being down to earth. His cues for alignment are very nice and he is a favorite at VF
Iím reviewing this workout after previewing and doing it three times.
General workout breakdown: See Stephanieís great description of the flow of this approximately 40-minute workout.
FYI, the asanas are sun salutations A (with chaturanga = triceps push-up, urdhva mukta svanasana = up dog, and adho mukta svanasana = down dog) & B (with utkatasana = chair and virabhadrasana I = warrior 1), two variations of uttanasana (standing forward fold: padangusthasana, where you grab your big toes, and padahastasana, where you put your hands under your feet), utthita trikonanasa (triangle) Ė parivitta trikonasana (reverse triangle), virabhadrasana II (warrior 2) Ė parsvakonasana (side angle), two hip flexor lunges Ė rajakapotasana (pigeon), paschimottanasana (seated forward bend), upavistha konasana (open angle / wide legs / straddle), paripurna navasana (boat) + cross-legged lift, half- or full backbend (bridge or urdhva dhanurasana = wheel), supine leg stretches (prep for supta upavista konasana = happy baby, supta upavista konasana = wide legs, supta uttanasana = straight legs together, supta rajakapotasana = pigeon), savasana (corpse), and thanks-giving / Namaste while in sukhasana (seated cross-legged).
Level: Iíd recommend this to a beginner with perhaps a little experience through intermediate yogi(ni). In other words, someone new to yoga with a couple of live classes and/or videos under their belt or with a good book or two in hand might find this a doable challenge. Someone both new to yoga and especially to exercise might be better served by some other video first, working up to this one once some strength and flexibility have been gained. More intermediate yogi(ni) might enjoy this on days when slowing down and getting back to the basics sounds appealing.
Class: Eoin alone, with instruction via voiceover.
Music: atmospheric-y music and/or breath Ė or nothing.
Set: on an outside patio at a beach-side resort in Baja, Mexico.
Production: high quality picture and sound, helpful camera angles usually focused on almost all of Eoin.
Equipment: sticky mat (or equivalent). Eoin is barefoot.
Space Requirements: enough room to perform a full sun salutation without bumping into things and to lie on the floor with limbs extended.
DVD Notes: The menu choices are Introduction, The Routines (w/ or w/o music, w/ or w/o tidal breath, w/ zen track Ė i.e. minimal cueing - or guided flow, and w/ beginner, intermediate, or dual screen), Deeper Knowledge (has a screen with almost all poses included in the disc. In each 1-4 min. segment, set in a Vancouver park, Eoin discusses the benefits of each pose and instructs on form as a student demonstrates. N.B. Eoin is very hands-on here.), and Extras (an approximately 8 min. Pranayama session, brief ads for Yogathon and YES Retreats, Eoinís Resume, and Web Links).
I am currently only able to play my DVD on my laptop; apparently some older Toshiba players like mine may be incompatible with the first batch of DVDs. I was not able to play the advanced computer features on my 1-year-old PC, either.
Comments: Long-time Eoin fans may be disappointed this isnít chock full of challenging poses, but for those who are new to Eoin and/or yoga this is a great offering. I would recommend this one, later Power Yoga for Happiness, and then Power Yoga with Eoin Finn, Vol. 1 (backwards in terms of their original release dates) to those without a ton of yoga experience. Someone like me (a low intermediate still working on flexibility and strength) can still get a lot of use out of this, too. This ďbeginnerísĒ program is adaptable to multiple levels or good for revisiting the basics, just like Erich Schiffmannís Backyard Series: Beginning Yoga. You could even practice Pure & Simple Yoga side-by-side with someone at a different level thanks to the dual screen! :-)
As a busy grad student, I know I will use this DVD not only for its shorter length but also for the simplicity of its flow. Itís nothing fancy in terms of its focus, but this could be a decent regular yoga practice.
The great audio and visual options should become standard! Like Stephanie Iím still working on keeping my breath going at a steady rate throughout a yoga practice, so I really enjoy the Tidal Breath option for now. The first time I felt the breath was a hair too fast, but the second time I had trouble lengthening my breath to match, so maybe itís not too long or short after all.
My one gripe: I miss having an opening, like in PY4H and the original PY. Going right into sun salutations is a bit fast for me, so I have to remember to be warm before popping this in.
N.B. Pure & Simple Yoga replaces the Yoga for Stiffies and Yoga to Go projects.
Eoin does a good job of cueing movement and breath, with some nice little tips just when you donít realize you need them. While there is a good amount of form and alignment instruction, there isnít a ton, especially during the workout itself, so beginners should watch the supplementary how-to sections beforehand. Eoin does not mirror cue. As Stephanie mentioned, you can choose just to have basic cueing (with a couple of other statements thrown in now and then for good measure), but when I played this zen track I missed Eoinís, well, Eoinness. Actually, in comparison to previous videos, Eoin is mellow, almost serious. But donít worry: heís still Eoin at heart, with all of his earnestness and love of yogic bliss!
November 1, 2006