Video Fitness

Yoga for Beauty with Rainbeau Mars: Dawn and Dusk

Rainbeau Mars

Yogini Rainbeau Mars, best known for her “Sacred Yoga Practice” series, has released a new yoga series titled “Yoga for Beauty.” This series offers two practices, Dawn, or the sunrise practice, and Dusk, or the sunset practice. In both, Rainbeau instructs a class of four participants, this time in an indoor studio (although it is decorated with many plants to suggest the outdoors). Two of the assistants show modifications, one for limited flexibility and one for limited strength. While chant-like music plays in the background, Rainbeau offers both live and voiceover instruction: she speaks live while setting up poses and moving through vinyasas for the first time, but she switches to voiceover while poses are being held. Her left-right cueing is inconsistent; sometimes she mirror cues, sometimes she does not. At the beginning and end of both practices, Rainbeau is shown performing a beautiful flow of poses a la Ana Forrest in Strength and Spirit.

The first practice, Dusk, is 44 minutes long and is designed to awaken and energize in the a.m. It begins in a seated, cross-legged position for a short series of forward bend, side stretch with neck release, and side twist. Next comes a transition to hands and knees for cat/dog stretches, adding in a lion breath. From here, you move into down dog and then come into a standing forward bend position to practice what Rainbeau calls “belly cleansing,” which is a sort of nauli prep and which is repeated once. Then you move to the front of the mat for sun salutations: three half sun salutations, one round of sun salutation A with crescent lunge and an easy twist, then two rounds of sun salutation B, repeating crescent lunge and adding warrior one plus a crescent twist (cobras are subbed for upward dog in all versions). A final sun salutation B adds an airplane balance plus a fun transition to a simple seat twist before; you then move to lying to lie face down on the floor for some gentle backbends, including full cobra, spinx with a quad stretch, bow pose, and then child’s pose to release the back. Coming seated, you perform a forward bend and cobbler’s pose before double-folding your blanket under your back like a bolster for a supported final relaxation which includes a meditation on colors. The practice ends back in a seated position, with Rainbeau encouraging you to honor your work and touch your mind’s eye before coming into namaste.

The second practice, Dusk, is 45 minutes long and is designed for relaxation and release at the end of the day, mainly through hip opening and core work. The practice starts in savasana; you begin to focus on your core via both breathing and simple movement. After rolling into a seated position, you stretch in child’s pose, move into downward dog, and transition into 3-legged downward dog for a hip stretch. Returning to core work, you move into a face-down lying position and raise alternate arm and leg; you then do the same thing from a hands and knees position, adding a knee to nose stretch and then finally performing the same knee to nose stretch in down dog. Next comes two round of sun salutation B, the first with warrior one and the second pyramid pose plus several lunge variations to stretch the hips. Transitioning to seated position for more hip work, you perform seated pigeon, rock the cradle, boat, and then thread the needle in a reclined position; there are also a few additional core-strengthening moves. You then grab your blanket for shoulderstand: starting in plow, you raise into shoulderstand, hold for an extended period, lower back into plow, and then roll back down. A brief lying twist to release the back precedes a nice savasana, and then it’s back to seated to finish with namaste.

I really enjoyed both of these practices and look forward to doing them often. I probably preferred the Dawn practice a bit more; although I loved the hip opening work in Dusk, the tough core work was a bit more challenging than I'd ideally want from a relaxing evening practice. Overall, however, these are well thought out, well executed, and well produced yoga practices, and I would highly recommend the set.

Instructor comments: Rainbeau Mars emanates a happy, hippy vibe similar to Eoin Finn. Throughout the practices, she makes statements such as "enjoy your breath," and she frequently encourages you to connect with the beauty inside. Her cueing is a bit inadequate at times, and some short portions of these practices flow with little or no instruction. Overall, however, I find Rainbeau to be pleasant and soothing, and I enjoy doing yoga with her.

Beth C (aka toaster)

April 17, 2005

Dawn
I’m reviewing this workout after previewing it once and doing it almost half a dozen times.

N.B. Rainbeau Mars also calls this Yoga for Beauty: Sunrise.

General workout breakdown: This vinyasa-based yoga video focusing on vinyasa flows, backbends, and twists, has two programs: the main one (about 45 min.) and a shortened version (about 10 min.).
*Main program: Begin seated on blankets in cross-legged position, focusing on the breath; bend forward & to side, w/ a neck stretch, moving to a sweated twist before switching legs & repeating. Move to hands & knees for cat & cow, adding in lion’s breath, then into downward dog. Walk back into standing w/ back flat & extended forward while pumping belly w/ breath held. Back to down dog, then walk forward back to standing w/ flat back for twisting belly cleanser (hold breath & pull in stomach). Come up to tadasana or “truth pose.” Next several rounds of half sun salutations, then full sun salutation A variation (w/ hands clasped behind back in half locust & later twisting kneeling lunge), sun salutation B (i.e. w/ chair pose; 1st round w/ warrior 3 prep, 2nd w/ twisting lunge), then vinyasa w/ twisting half moon into seated twist (sage’s) into “airplane” (warrior 3). Rest in prone position on floor, then lift up into full cobra; after a quick rest, into sphinx w/ quad stretch, then bow. Extend back into child’s pose. Grab blankets & sit in staff, then extend into seated forward bend. Come back to cobbler’s / bound angle / butterfly w/ forward bend, w several suggestions for hand position. Refold blankets & stack vertically for supported reclined cobbler’s / bound angle, then extend legs briefly. Bring knees to chest & roll up to seated. Finish seated in crossed legs pose, w/ hands in prayer to give thanks, then seal w/ a few mudras & a Namaste.
*Bonus workout: Begin seated in cross-legged pose w/ sun salutation arms. Extend arms overhead, then fold forward. Switch legs & extend arms to side, then fold forward. Onto hands & knees for cat & cow with lion’s breath, then twist with arm underneath. Come into down dog, then walk up to hands, bringing back flat for twisting belly cleanser. Half sun salutes, then vinyasa w/ twisting kneeling lunge, full sun salutation A, & sun salutation B w/ twisting lunge. Return to cross-legged pose w/ gentle seated twist before reclining cobbler’s / bound angle. Roll over to side to come back up into simple seated pose w/ hands at heart.
Rainbeau moves deliberately through poses. She pauses in some longer than others, which may be a good thing for some people but disappointing for others. She also pauses for instruction sometimes, which gives this more of a feel of a live class or demonstration than a smooth yoga video.

Level: I’d recommend this to regular exercisers with previous yoga experience. This is best suited for those practicing at an experienced beginner through maybe low intermediate level (i.e. comfortable with sun salutations, yogic breathwork, etc., but not quite ready for headstand, arm balances, etc.).

Class: 2 women & 2 men join Rainbeau. 1 man shows some modifications for limited flexibility; 1 woman shows some modifications for limited strength. (I really like this idea and wish more instructors would do this. Let’s face it: some of us has strength and/or flexibility limitations in one area but may be perfectly strong and/or flexible in another. Few instructors seem willing to acknowledge that a lack of both flexibility and/or strength can hinder full appreciation of practices like yoga and that some people may face need more help in one area rather than the other.)

Music: great vocal / instrumental music by Jai Uttal (from the “Music for Yoga and Other Joys” and “Kirtan!” albums, songs from which are also found on Tilak Pyle’s Altar of the Heart and Shiva Rea’s Yoga Shakti).

Set: indoor studio with wooden floors, colored backlit backdrop, and various paraphernalia like a fireplace, a fountain, steps, and furniture that make the space one of those confused “indoors but it’s supposed to look like it could be outdoors” sets.

Production: clear, crisp picture and sound. The music is very audible, which is good because it is good and because sometimes I just don’t feel that into Rainbeau’s sayings. I didn’t find the camerawork that distracting, although sometimes it cuts off one of the modifiers or focuses too closely on someone.

Equipment: sticky mat (or equivalent), 2 blankets (you’ll want something fairly stiff, like wool or coarser cotton, rather than something squishy, like a down comforter or fluffy quilt), and possibly also a strap. All participants are barefoot.

Space Requirements: enough room to perform a full sun salutation and to lie down with arms and legs extended

DVD Notes: The main menu allows you to choose play feature, chapter selections (introduction, warm up, belly cleansing, strengthening, inversion, cool down, and solo performance, where Rainbeau nearly effortlessly moves through series of challenging and advanced photos, a performance not unlike Ana Forrest’s Embodying Spirit), special features (bonus workout, workout to music w/o narration, photo gallery, and trailers for Rainbeau’s Yoga for Beauty: Dusk, Sacred Yoga Vinyasa Flow for Beginners, Sacred Yoga Vinyasa Flow Pure Tranquility, Sacred Yoga Vinyasa Flow Pure Power, Sacred Yoga Vinyasa Flow Pure Sweat, and Zen Mama Prenatal Yoga; Yoga for Wimps; Complete Yoga Fitness for Beginners, Yoga 101 Workout for Beginners Props to Poses, and Am & PM Yoga for Seniors, all by Lilias.), audio features (dolby digital 2.0 or 5.1), or credits. When you start both the main program and the bonus, you have the choice of regular (4:3) or widescreen (16:9) format.
My DVD also came with a booklet entitled, “Rainbeau’s 40 Disciplines for Beauty.” Since it doesn’t deal much with exercise, I’ll let you hunt it down and see what’s included.

Comments: This program is definitely different than the accompanying Yoga for Beauty: Dusk, which focuses primarily on corework and hip openers for a more relaxing practice. I was surprised that I found myself reaching for Dawn more than Dusk, since I’m a hip opener junkie. Part of it seems to be that I just don’t love yoga abs workouts, part of it that Dawn, although it has many poses commonly found in other yoga practices, somehow feels different enough from other videos in my collection.
From Rainbeau’s other series, Sacred Yoga Vinyasa Flow, I’ve only tried Pure Tranquility and Pure Power, which also focuses more on upper body, although it has more corework than Dawn. Yoga for Beauty: Dawn is different from those, too, although you’ll recognize a few poses and flows here and there, especially from Pure Tranquility. This is definitely a big step in intensity from Pure Tranquility, but I wouldn’t say it’s as vigorous as Pure Power.
Rainbeau has designed this for the morning, and I’d recommend doing it earlier rather than later in the day because of the number of backbends. If you do it later, you may want to counterbalance all of the backbending with additional forward bending before you go to bed if you’re anything like me, who finds that backbends affect me like caffeine: neither perks me up, but indulging in both too close to bedtime keeps me from falling asleep.
As with any vinyasa-focused video, those with wrist issues should approach it with some caution.
Rainbeau stresses the detoxing effects of this practice, and I’ve experienced some of those effects just about every time I’ve done this twist-filled program. (What I’m trying to say is this would not be a good program to do if you know you won’t have access to a bathroom facility for the next few hours afterwards.) I know there’s a lower back Yoga Zone that gives perhaps even stronger, ahem, results; I’ve personally found Barbara Benagh’s Yoga for Stress Relief’s digestion practices quite effective. If you’re looking for a detox that works more than just your digestive tract, you might want to check out some of Ravi Singh & Ana Brett’s videos, particularly Fat Free Yoga: Lighten Up & Purify.
It’s nice to see an emphasis on exploring beauty, particularly inner beauty and radiance, even if it is kind of corny. (I’ll take a practice for beauty over yet another “fat blasting sexy bikini body toning boot camp” any day…) In addition to the “beautify your body” talk, there’s also some brief mentions of things like chakras. Also, Jai sings in Sanskrit (I think), although there is no chanting and just a brief “Namaste.”

Instructor comments: Rainbeau alternates between instructing live and via voiceover. For the most part the transitions are done smoothly, without too much noticeable difference in volume, tone, etc., but sometimes the class has to pause for one to catch up to the other. Rainbeau tends to be more straightforward in the live instruction, where she spends more time explaining how to get into or out of the pose, breath, etc. The voiceover is more about the pose’s benefits, how to bring or find beauty in the pose, and exhortations like “enjoy your breath.”
Rainbeau is Rainbeau – young (“that’s totally OK”), flowery in her language and metaphors, and happily hippy. She seems a little unpolished here, which is surprising given her experience in making videos, in that she sometimes pauses to let the production catch up or to fiddle with props or to instruct and she’s regularly messing with her hair (it’s long and left down, and not surprisingly it gets in her way). Her mirror cueing is sometimes inconsistent.

KathAL79

September 18, 2007

Dusk
I’m reviewing this workout after previewing it and doing it a handful of times.

General workout breakdown: This vinyasa-based yoga video focusing on core work and hip openers has two programs: the main one (about 45 min.) and a shortened version (about 10 min.)
*Main program: Begin on back in savasana, or corpse / deep rest. Bend knees & bring feet to floor, focusing on breath. Extend legs straight in front while giving self neck massage, then do slight crunch. Knees to chest, while rocking. Come up to active child’s pose (i.e. w/ arms extended in front), then into down dog. Walk forward into standing forward bend. Back down into one-legged down dog, then back into standing forward fold, this time w/ hands clasped behind back. Come up into mountain, then vinyasa into half locust (opposite arm & leg), up into table w/ opposite arm & leg extended (then into nose & back out again). Back into one-legged dog dog, then plank w/ knee to nose; from down dog, rise up through vinyasa. Sun salutation B (w/ chair and w/ warrior 3 prep). Next vinyasa to full cobra or upward-facing dog. Sun salute B to pyramid pose. Come down to kneeling lunge, w/ quad stretch by grabbing back foot; then kneeling pigeon (lunge w/ both hands inside groins). Float or walk through to sitting w/ legs extended in front for hip stretch (ankle over opposite knee), w/ option of rock the baby (hug foot in one elbow & knee in other). Boat pose, then roll down to resting pigeon (while on back, ankle over opposite knee), then bring head to knee. Next come yoga core strengtheners, w/ one knee to chest & opposite extending out. Knees to chest, roll to side, & set up blankets for shoulderstand, coming through plow to get into the full posture & back into plow to release. Reclining twist w/ knees bent, then roll up to rearrange blankets for supported savasana. Rest on side before coming up to simple cross-legged pose for a final Namaste.
*Bonus workout: Begin in child’s pose, then move into one-legged down dog, & then into plank w/ knee to nose. Walk back to squat. Back to down dog, then walk forward into standing forward bend. Come up to standing, then begin sun salutations, adding in one-legged down dog – plank w/ knee to nose sequence. Sun salutation B into boat, then try to lift seat off floor with legs hovering in cross-legged pose. Then do yoga core strengtheners (on back, alternate knee to nose while other extends) before resting pigeon. Bend knees for supine twist. Next bridge w/ hands clasped underneath & one leg at a time extended overhead. Back onto back for supine lunge &/or pigeon. Finish in quick savasana before coming back to seated pose w/ simple mudras (mostly anjuli, or hands in prayer).
Rainbeau moves deliberately through poses. She pauses in some longer than others, which may be a good thing for some people but disappointing for others. She also pauses for instructions a couple of times, which gives this more of a feel of a live class or demonstration than a smooth yoga video.

Level: I’d recommend this to regular exercisers with previous yoga experience. This is best suited for those practicing at an experienced beginner through beginner / intermediate, maybe low intermediate, level (i.e. comfortable with sun salutations, shoulderstands, yogic breathwork, etc., but not quite ready for headstand, arm balances, etc.).

Class: 2 women & 2 men join Rainbeau. 1 man shows some modifications for limited flexibility; 1 woman shows some modifications for limited strength. (I really like this idea and wish more instructors would do this. Let’s face it: some of us has strength and/or flexibility limitations in one area but may be perfectly strong and/or flexible in another. Few instructors seem willing to acknowledge that a lack of both flexibility and/or strength can hinder full appreciation of practices like yoga and that some people may face need more help in one area rather than the other.)

Music: great vocal / instrumental music by Jai Uttal (from the “Music for Yoga and Other Joys” and “Kirtan!” albums, songs from which are also found on Tilak Pyle’s Altar of the Heart and Shiva Rea’s Yoga Shakti).

Set: indoor studio with wooden floors, colored backlit backdrop, and various paraphernalia like a fireplace, a fountain, steps, and furniture that make the space one of those confused “indoors but it’s supposed to look like it could be outdoors” sets.

Production: clear, crisp picture and sound. The music is very audible, which is good because it is good and because sometimes I just don’t feel that into Rainbeau’s sayings. I didn’t find the camerawork that distracting, although sometimes it cuts off one of the modifiers or focuses too closely on someone.

Equipment: sticky mat (or equivalent), 2 blankets (you’ll want something fairly stiff, like wool or coarser cotton, rather than something squishy, like a down comforter or fluffy quilt), and possibly also two blocks. All participants are barefoot.

Space Requirements: enough room to perform a full sun salutation and to lie down with arms and legs extended

DVD Notes: The main menu allows you to choose play feature, chapter selections (introduction, warm up, core work, hips work, inversion, cool down, and solo performance, where Rainbeau nearly effortlessly moves through series of challenging and advanced photos, a performance not unlike Ana Forrest’s Embodying Spirit), special features (bonus workout, workout to music w/o narration, photo gallery, and trailers for Rainbeau’s Yoga for Beauty: Dawn, Sacred Yoga Vinyasa Flow for Beginners, Sacred Yoga Vinyasa Flow Pure Tranquility, Sacred Yoga Vinyasa Flow Pure Power, Sacred Yoga Vinyasa Flow Pure Sweat, and Zen Mama Prenatal Yoga; Yoga for Wimps; Complete Yoga Fitness for Beginners, Yoga 101 Workout for Beginners Props to Poses, and Am & PM Yoga for Seniors, all by Lilias.), audio features (dolby digital 2.0 or 5.1), or credits. When you start both the main program and the bonus, you have the choice of regular (4:3) or widescreen (16:9) format.

Comments: This program is definitely different than the accompanying Yoga for Beauty: Dawn, which focuses primarily on twists, vinyasas, and backbends for a more energizing and detoxifying practice. One complaint I’ve read about this video is a lack of twists, but let me tell you they’re all in Dawn. I was surprised that I found myself reaching for Dawn more than Dusk, since I’m a hip opener junkie. Part of it seems to be that I just don’t love yoga abs workouts, part of it that may be that Dawn, although it has many poses commonly found in other yoga practices, somehow feels different enough from other videos in my collection.
From Rainbeau’s other series, Sacred Yoga Vinyasa Flow, I’ve only tried Pure Tranquility and Pure Power, and Yoga for Beauty: Dusk is definitely different from those, although you’ll recognize a few poses and flows here and there. This is definitely more intense than Pure Tranquility, but I wouldn’t say it’s as vigorous as Pure Power.
Rainbeau has designed this for the evening, but really you could do it anytime. If you do it earlier in the day, you might want to warm up on your own before starting. This would make a good post-run / other cardio / lower body strength practice.
It’s nice to see an emphasis on exploring beauty, particularly inner beauty and radiance, even if it is kind of corny. (I’ll take a practice for beauty over yet another “fat blasting sexy bikini body toning boot camp” any day…) In addition to the “beautify your body” talk, there’s also some brief mentions of things like chakras. Also, Jai sings in Sanskrit (I think), although there is no chanting, just a “Namaste.”

Instructor comments: Rainbeau alternates between instructing live and via voiceover. For the most part the transitions are done smoothly, without too much noticeable difference in volume, tone, etc. Rainbeau tends to be more straightforward in the live instruction, where she usually spends more time explaining how to get into or out of the pose, breath, etc. The voiceover is more about the pose’s benefits, how to bring or find beauty in the pose, and exhortations like “enjoy your breath.”
Rainbeau is Rainbeau – young, flowery in her language and metaphors, and happily hippy. Perhaps the oddest moment is when she shows herself love by kissing her own feet. I kid you not. She sometimes fiddles with her hair (it’s long and left down, and not surprisingly it gets in her way). Her mirror cueing is sometimes inconsistent. That said, she has more personality and spark and comes off as more comfortable in this video in comparison with Dawn, where she, well, seems she just woke up.

KathAL79

September 18, 2007



Video Fitness copyright © 1996 - 2009 Wendy Niemi Kremer    All rights reserved