Video Fitness

Total Yoga: Tracey Rich and Ganga White

I think this is one of the best yoga tapes available. It's about an hour long. It starts with a breathing exercise which can be relaxing, but I usually want to get started so I often skip the breathing. This tape has a good mixture and progression of postures and I always feel thoroughly energized and relaxed when I finish. It also has the longest and best relaxation of any of the tapes I've done. I'm at about the same level that the instructor shows (probably intermediate) so I just do pretty much what she does, but more advanced modifications are often shown.p> I got married two years ago (for the first time at age 45!) and the morning of the wedding, I was so nervous, I was hyperventilating. I did this tape and it really helped to calm me down.

These instructors have also produced another tape called "Aerobic Yoga: The Flow Series" and it's also good, but definitely more aerobic.

TOTAL yoga is available in most stores (Target, Media Play, Suncoast, etc.) for about $10 so maybe some people think it wouldn't be very good because it's so cheap. Definitely not so. Production is very good as well.

This is definitely one of my favorite yoga tapes. I do it and Kathy Smith's New Yoga the most consistently.

Instructor comments: This is mostly taught solo by Tracey Rich, but occasionally Ganga White is shown doing a modification (usually advanced). Tracey Rich has a soothing voice and explains the postures very thoroughly.

Karen W.
6/30/97

After a discussion on VF, I bought Total Yoga at Best Buy, looking for a good basic non-power yoga tape with a variety of poses. It was just what I was looking for.

It's about an hour long and begins with a lengthy discussion about yogic breathing techniques. This is followed with spine "rocks", and several salutation series (A, C & others). They are not classic sun salutations, but include other postures like lowering and lifting legs while on back, spine "rocks", squats, gentle warrior poses, triangles. The tape also includes the plow, the modified headstand, the (?) dancer, and several spinal twists, both seated and lying down. The pace is slow, certainly more so than most power yoga tapes. It ends with a fairly long corpse pose during which you listen to music, and then Tracey's voice gently brings you out of this silence, back to consciousness. No jarring entry into trailers for other tapes, or loud music or static as the tape runs out. You can really relax because you know you'll be gently guided out of your quiet state.

Total Yoga is said to be designed for beginners to yoga, and I agree that beginners will be comfortable doing this tape. However, with the modifications, this is a tape that you can grow with.

I used this tape sequentially for a few days because I had pulled a muscle in my lower back. It did great things to release the pain and tension in my back and spine without further injury, especially all the spinal twists. This is an excellent tape if you're looking for something a step beyond Yoga Zone beginner's series or a tape with many varied yoga postures at a comfortable pace.

Instructor comments: Tracey Rich does the yoga postures, with occasional shots of Ganga White demonstrating poses for "more flexible" students. She's graceful and gorgeous. Her voice is the voice-over and is soothing and gentle; Ganga White's voice interrupts occasionally to discuss the postures he's demonstrating for more flexible students. The instruction is okay, form reminders as you go, but not as thorough as Yoga Zone beginner tapes.

Pamela B.
12/15/98

This was the first time I have actually completed this workout, even though I've had the blasted tape for years. I never made it past the first section, in which Tracey is doing a sun salutation series (D, I believe) in which she inserts a back roll and stands up from it. I cannot do that move to save my life and always before got too frustrated to try. Especially since the section seems endless. It always frustrated me to read other reviews on this tape, as it seemed like people thought it was relatively easy, and here I couldn't get through the first 10 minutes (discounting the breathe section at the very beginning). And I can make it through tapes that are much harder overall, such as Kest 1, though I'm sure I look like a fool doing so.

But, in honor of Virgin tape day, I just scrambled back to my feet in some highly uncoordinated fashion, and continued on. I liked the rest of the tape much better, and may just start the workout after the initial series in the future, to convince myself to use it more. There are some moves that don't show up so often, such as plough, lotus and pidgeon, all of which I love. I've always found it odd that most yoga tapes don't do lotus pose, since it used to be the first thing I would think of when I thought of yoga (could stem from sitting around in this position through most of childhood, courtesy of a kid's yoga book my older sister bought me).

Downsides to the tape:
* After most Living Arts tapes, and Yoga Mind and Body, the set is dull, dull, dull. Just a plain room with Tracey and a yoga mat. And occasionally Ganga showing a modified pose. But a very minor issue, since I am usually not looking at the screen anyway during a yoga tape (floor, ceiling, or back wall, yes. tv, no). The tape quality is good, which is much more important, imo.
* That horrid rolling like a ball salutation sequence. It is the bane of my yoga existence.

Things I liked:
* LONG tape
* different poses than you see all the time
* I like Tracey, and find her very relaxing. I almost fell asleep during relaxation pose and had to remind myself to get up and go to bed. She sort of sounded like Nancy Tucker from the Firm to me.
* They show pose variations.

Overall, I'm very glad I finally struggled past that first section, and will definitely start using this tape more, especially on days when I want a longer yoga session.

Karen N
1/2/01

This tape is currently being advertised in some spots as an ashtanga style workout. I owned this tape a way long time ago and do not remember it as being ashtanga style --in fact, I remember it as being Iyengar style, in which you hold each pose for a minute or more. I found it deadly boring and got rid of it quick.

Renee Drellishak
2/1/01

I love this video and think it deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
It is the only yoga video (so far) that is just "right" for me: the level (I am intermediate beginner or intermediate), the flow of postures, the instructor, the breathing, the music, the whole atmosphere created. It feels very "classical" to me.

I am not sure whether I'd recommend it to a complete beginner though. My advice would be to take at least several live classes before starting doing yoga with the tapes. Instruction is very good in this tape, but it can not substitute live lessons. My teacher in the live class gave us so many useful tips for performing every posture - no tape I tried so far gave those tips and form is very important in yoga.

I can understand why not everybody will like the tape - the initial sun salute sequence is long and repetetive and can definitely become boring after some time. In fact, I do get bored and skip a part of it very often. I would probably want this sequence to be shorter, but I noticed that it provides excellent warm-up for future postures. Somehow I enjoy doing these sun salutations much more if I do this yoga tape after cardio when I am already warmed up. Anyway, bottom line, if you hate sun salutations you may not like this tape.

The pace is slow, so those who like Power yoga more may not like it. The set is dull, but I don't mind - I am not really looking in TV much while doing the poses and if I am looking I concentrate on Tracey doing a particular posture. In fact, when I think about it I like it this way - a simple set helps me to concentrate on my practice not on the beautiful scenery in the tape.

The choice of postures is excellent in my humble opinion. I love Pigeon, pose of nobility and spinal twists, king dancer and bow sequence to name just a few.
The final relaxation in the end is long and nice, the music playing is just right somehow and Tracey guides you out of it very gently (as Pamela B. already mentioned above). I could never completely relax during final relaxation in the live class, but this tape did wonders for me: once I learned how to relax I started using the same technique when I need to fall sleep but too stressed, or when I have a headache, and it works wonderfully. I love the music playing in the end too.

Should I mention how great I feel after doing this tape? It seems postures are very balanced so I am never sore in a bad sense, only pleasantly sore. Once I had a back pain because of doing lat rows (or smth else) incorrectly the day before. I did this tape hoping it might help and it DID help - back pain was gone! (not to claim it helps for any back pain - please talk to your doctor first in any case).

This tape is not costly at all and provides excellent workout, so I highly recommend to try it.

Instructor comments: It is mostly Tracey Rich that shows the poses. She is very calm and pleasant in my opinion. I would probably appreciate if she smiled at times and show some emotion, but as it is I am fine with it too. She is very graceful and of course flexible. Inspiration for me :)

Olga
01/12/2002

Total Yoga is the perfect name for this video. This practice session has more variety than any other yoga tape I currently own. I like that it has different poses than most I've tried, and it makes my back feel great when I'm done.

Total Yoga is long (70 minutes) with a breathing session and long relaxation at the end. It has no frills, so it isn't for everyone. No backdrop & there is little music, which is more like soft sounds and isn't always present. You can often find this for sale used for $3-$5 due to this, I believe. I've seen it in stores for $8, a good bargain for the length of the tape.

There are sun salutations, but not the typical boring kind. Each one is unique. Also, not only your hamstrings get stretched, but the quads and glues with pigeon pose, pose of the dancer(?), boat, and when you do downward dog with a leg behind you in the air. There are many more, as noted in previous reviews. I even feel stretched out in my arms, unlike other yoga videos.

I highly recommend it & would also like to see this video become a VF Favorite.

Instructor comments: She has a really nice voice & shows excellent form. Ganga's voice interrupts occasionally, which breaks the feel of Tracey's more soothing voice-over.

Lorrie

12/2/02

I've had this video for over 2 years now and I must say that I have to agree with other reviewers that this is truly a total body yoga practise. I enjoy every minute of the 70! Because of this I can tell you with honesty that it is my favorite of all my yoga VHS/DVD. I find it to be a complete and balanced asana practise.

Instructor comments: Clear and concise instruction. Both Tracey and Ganga are wonderful Yoga instructors.

Lori M

Feb. 2004



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