Genevieve Fischer, Ester Hillebrand, and Carolina Vivas
This DVD, which is subtitled “Four Seasons of Renewal,” lead you through four segments of intermediate vinyasa flow yoga—Spring (10.5 minutes), Summer (16 minutes), Autumn (6.5 minutes), and Winter (15 minutes)—plus includes Lunar (25 minutes), a restorative flow. Each segment features one of three different instructors alone in a softly lit room with beautiful soothing music playing in the background; a single instructor (I’m not sure which one) provides voiceover cueing throughout the practice. The DVD includes a chapter menu which allows you to play the entire practice (all four seasons plus Lunar) or to select any of the five segments individually. Spring and Lunar in particular work well as stand-alone practices; the other three simply require the addition of your own warm-up/savasana.
The Spring segment begins with some simple seated stretches and then moves into a series of the traditional “B” sun salutation. This section moved a bit fast for my liking; I think a slightly gentler opening would have be more appropriate. Summer and Autumn, both of which focus on standing postures, were my favorite segments. These segments move at a slower, more measured pace, but be prepared to do many chatturanga-updog-down dog vinyasas in-between the standing poses. Summer includes basic standing postures such as warrior 1, warrior 2, right angle, and triangle plus twisting postures like revolved triangle and revolved half-moon. It ends with some more advanced postures, including tripod headstand, side crane (crow), and bird of paradise. The short Autumn sequence consists of challenging standing balances such as standing hand-to-foot, warrior 3, standing splits, and dancer’s pose; it ends with variations on standing forward bend. Winter is the backbending/inversions segment, with camel, bridge, a long hold of wheel (upward bow—5 breaths!), shoulderstand, plow, and fish pose. It finishes with happy baby pose, reclined twists, and a short savasana, so you can either end your practice here (approximately 50 minutes) or go on to the Lunar segment for a longer practice (75 minutes). This final segment is very relaxing series of gentle, flowing stretches to prepare you body for a more lengthy (5 minutes) savasana; postures here include cat, down dog, a lunge series, pigeon, double pigeon, seated forward bends, reclined leg stretch, modified shoulder stand, and reclined twist. During the savasana, images of the three instructors performing asanas from the video flash on screen; there is no further instruction at this point, but the music changes once the credits begin.
As an intermediate yogi, I consider this practice to be prefect for my level. There were some postures that I couldn’t do—tripod headstand is an impossibility for me, I can do crow but not side crow, and my version of bird of paradise is quite stooped and crooked—but I enjoyed attempting the more challenging postures and feel that I can grow with this practice. I especially liked the season breakdowns, as I know I will utilize these for shorter yoga practices when I have less time. Finally, the inspiring asana displays of the three instructors combined with the beautiful music serves to make this DVD totally captivating; highly recommended for yogis at an intermediate level and beyond.
I’m not sure which instructor was which, but each had a beautiful practice; also, I particularly enjoyed that all three women had "real" looking bodies which were strong, athletic, and curvaceous. The voiceover instruction was generally fine, although there were a few points where it was out of sync with the screen and/or the instructor failed to note exactly when to move on to the next posture. However, I managed to follow along with occasional peeks at the screen, so this was not a major issue for me.
Beth C (aka toaster)
July 12, 2006