Video Fitness

SACRED YOGA PRACTICE: VINYASA FLOW SERIES

Rainbeau Mars

It is very difficult for me to spend quality time practicing yoga or meditating by myself. I am afraid that the silence will draw me to haunting thoughts that make me imagine it would be impossible for me practice yoga alone. I have practiced yoga only in a class setting in a recent 90-day commitment at Bryan Kest’s studio in Santa Monica that I loved. (When I was sick and tired of being with myself at BK’s studio there was always someone else’s butt to look at!) I purchased this set of yoga tapes in my fitness quest to begin practicing yoga alone. Although less vigorous than Ashtanga and shorter than the almost two hour, daily, drenching power yoga marathons to which I had grown accustomed and looked forward, I felt that starting the day with a one-half hour Vinyasa practice alone in my home would be a milestone in my life.

First, I should mention that the 4 DVD Sacred Yoga Practice Vinyasa Flow with Rainbeau Mars is co-produced by Natualjourneys, the same powerhouse that brought us The Lotte Berk Method, the recently released The Bar Method Body, and the soon to be released Romana’s Pilates created by Romana Kryzanowska, the 80 y.o. last living disciple of Joseph Pilates, whom NJ describes as the “Madonna of Pilates”. So when I received the Sacred Yoga Practice gift box yesterday, the priceless value I attach to a Natural journeys production made me feel as if I were holding a handful of jewels, and my initial experience surrounding these tapes possessed the same anticipation of their other productions: Something wonderful and exciting is about to happen to me!

I lit a stick of Fred Soll Frankincense, which I reserve for very special occasions, and slipped on my Coolmax kaleidoscope Boogie Tights from Carashka which I never thought I would wear, intending to do the first of the four titles: Beginners, Pure Tranquility, Pure Power & Pure Sweat, but ended up doing all four before the day passed. My only concern about these tapes -- that the absence of the nonstop, strenuous and vigorous practice I associate with Power Yoga would leave me with too much thinking time and space to distract me from slipping into the meditative and blissful state that I have come to expect from yoga -- was unfounded. Au contraire.

These tapes are a guided yoga meditation focusing on breath and core work rather than an athletic workout. These are tapes you use to be instead of to achieve. If I could hold on to and carry off the mat and into the world who I am and what I know in the presence of Ms. Mars’ instruction, I would be one evolved yogi. Rainbeau Mars’ language is often exquisite, guided imagery and metaphor more often associated with the practice of Pilates. I have tremendous respect for her as it is obvious that she prepared for this production. She was conscious of who her audience would be, that we would be using these tapes time and time again, and she did not step in front of the cameras unprepared, as if she were teaching a live class as most video instructors do. These are yoga sessions imbued with depth and meaning leaving us with more instead of less as we familiarize ourselves with them. Oh, the production and outdoor ocean, I believe a Hawaiian setting, are exquisite, but I wasn’t really interested in looking.

NAMASTE - "The divine in me bows to the divine in you."
Rainbeau Mars

MJW
melaniejwolf@aol.com
December 10, 2003

I've only gotten into yoga in the past six months, and I feel like I've done these yoga workouts now enough times to give a review of them.

There are 4 workouts by Rainbeau Mars:

1. Beginners Yoga
2. Pure Tranquility
3. Pure Sweat
4. Pure Power

I originally thought I would end up selling one or two (each one is a separate DVD) but I honestly can't bear to part with any of them!

Each workout is approximately 30 minutes each (I would say the beginners one is more like 40 minutes, however).

Beginners Yoga is wonderful to do when you're not feeling up to doing too much (especially at TTOM).

Pure Tranquility is more meditative and stretchy. Very relaxing.

Pure Sweat might be incorrectly named (though I can't really think of what a "correct" title would be!). I like the slowness of the poses and even though Rainbeau Mars' language is a bit "woo-woo", she does lead you through a nice practice.

Pure Power is honestly my favorite. I really feel it in my upper body, the moves are at a nice gentle pace yet tough at the same time. My favorite thing to do is to do the Pure Power followed by the Tranquility one. Total bliss by the end...

Bottomline: The 30-minute length of these yoga workouts are perfect to tack on to the end of other workouts you're doing that day (whether it be cardio or strength).

A definite thumbs-up for me!

Instructor comments: Rainbeau Mars' language is about as flowery as her name is. Yet, it's not enough "woo-woo" factor for me to get rid of these workouts. Her cuing is fairly poor....there were plenty of times I would look up at the screen and what she was saying was NOT what she was doing. A little disconcerting, but you can learn to work around it.

I'm not sure I would recommend these workouts to absolute beginners. I believe there are other better workouts for that. On the other hand, one needs to know that there are no inversions in these workouts so they definitely are "do-able".

Terri
Tania777@fortresslimo.com
February 25, 2004

The four videos in this set provide a nice variety of yoga practices which are applicable to a wide range of yoga practitioners, from experienced beginners to more advanced yoga students. All four videos are filmed in Hawaii against beautiful backdrops.

The most basic practice in this series is Pure Tranquility, which is designed to prepare the body and mind for meditation. The entire practice is performed in a seated position, and Rainbeau guides you through gentle stretches to open the body and relax the muscles. The Beginners video actually offers a bit of a challenge and requires some pre-existing strength. In this practice, Rainbeau begins slowly with breathing exercises and warm-up stretches. She continues with several vinyasa flow series, still moving slowly but holding some poses (such as downward dog) for an extended period of time.

The remaining two videos in this set are significantly more challenging than the first two. In Pure Power, Rainbeau builds on a series of sun salutations by adding rigorous poses such as side plank, crescent lunges, chair, and 3-legged down dog. Pure Sweat further picks up the pace by adding additional lunges and twists as well as plenty of yogi push-ups (chatturangas). Although these two practices are definitely at an intermediate/advanced level, Rainbeau performs them at a leisurely pace and does not include inversions, thus making the practices extremely accessible.

One of the things I like best about this series is that each video is only 30 minutes long, which is especially rare for intermediate/advanced practices. However, the videos could be easily combined to form an hour long workout if desired: Beginners would make a perfect warm-up for Pure Sweat, and Pure Tranquility would work well for winding down after Pure Power.

As an intermediate yogi who has been practicing yoga for several years now, I would not recommend this set for those totally new to yoga: while Rainbeau's cueing is excellent, her instruction is not overly detailed, and she does not offer modifications for the poses. However, beginners who have had some prior experience with yoga can start with the first two videos and build up to the remaining two over time. Finally, this series is not for someone who is looking for a fast-paced, power yoga or ashtanga-type practice, as everything about Rainbeau is laid back and relaxed. Rather, this set is perfect for intermediates looking for softly flowing practices which will provide a gentle challenge to their home practice.

Instructor comments: The videos are led by Rainbeau Mars, who offers voiceover instruction in a calm soothing voice. Her mirrored cueing is excellent (although sometimes slightly out-of-sync with her movements on screen), and she is obviously very knowledgeable about yogic principles and traditions as well as anatomical issues.

Beth C (aka toaster)

August 24, 2004



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