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P.M. Yoga for Beginners

Patricia Walden

This is my favorite of the short, 20 minute videos in the series that includes A.M. Yoga, Power Yoga for Beginners, and Stress Relief Yoga for Beginners. The production quality is wonderful. The video was filmed in Death Valley. The music is new-agey with some subdued vocals (chanting, but not as much as in Ali McGraw's yoga video). Patricia Walden starts out by talking about the purpose of P.M. Yoga, which is to help the participant relax and energize; to make the transition from being busy to being relaxed. The program has four "sections", although they all flow together. The first one is Centering, where you sit in a cross-legged position and are taken through a progressive relaxation. Next is Circulating, which includes a series of standing poses (Warrior I, Gate Pose, and Downward Facing Dog). You will get wonderful stretches in your spine, chest, shoulders, and legs. The third part is Cooling, which consists of seated forward bends. The purpose of these are to help you start to relax. You will also get a great stretch in your hamstrings. Finally, there is Calming. These are the supine poses. I like the way Patricia does not rush these poses. She does a progressive relaxation exercise here as well.

I recommend this video to people of all fitness levels. It is a good program for beginners, since Patricia describes the poses in detail and focuses on correct form. More advanced people will like it as well, and of course you can take the stretches as deep as is comfortable. A great value for the price! The 20 minute length makes it easy to fit into a busy schedule on its own or after a strength or cardio workout.

Instructor comments: Patricia Walden's instruction is very clear. She describes very thoroughly how your body should be aligned during the poses. Her form is wonderful, and her voice is calming. One odd thing, though--she does not mirror R/L like in many videos, so it appears that she is using the opposite side from you. During the seated leg stretches, however, she does mirror you. Patricia Walden also instructs the video Yoga Practice for Beginners, as well as Yoga Practice for Flexibility and Yoga Practice for Relaxation.

Kristin Aziz

Kristin commented in her review that this was her favorite from all the 20 min. yoga tapes. I only have this one & the Stress Relief one. I agree with Kristin. This tape is so much better than Stress Relief. First, Patricia Walden's voice is so calming while Susan's wasn't. I felt rushed during the Stress Relief tape but I don't feel that way with this tape. The moves progress nicely from one pose to the next. I don't need a block for this tape either which we did need for the other one. This tape was overall more relaxing. On the positive for both tapes, I like the 20 minute lengths. It makes it convenient to use after a tough workout. The scenery is gorgeous. This tape is filmed in Death Valley. The one thing that would distracting for Patricia is the sand flying in the air. I would think she would be worried about sand getting in her eyes. These tapes have inspired me to one day when I'm out in the woods or hiking, to just relax & do some yoga. I think it would be a wonderful & maybe spiritual experience.

Instructor comments: Patricia has a nice calming voice & her flexibility always amazes me. In her Yoga Journal for Flexibility, her back seemed to just arch so easily during the upward bow poses. In this tape, it's her shoulder flexibility that had me in awe. Our arms were behind us with the hands together, fingers pointing downwards. Then we move our hands so that our fingers point upwards & we slowly move higher towards the back. I can't go very far but her hands are almost close to her neck. She's truly inspiring to me. As a side note, I did notice she wore makeup on this tape which she didn't wear in the Yoga Journal tape.

Helen Stephens

I really like this tape. It's good to pop in when you're short on time but want a good stretch. I don't know if I'd recommend it for absolute beginners, but for me it's a great stress reliever.

Instructor comments: I found her very easy to follow. Her voice is very soothing, and the cueing is simple and to the point.


This is my favorite yoga video: it WILL pull out all of those kinks and knots. I love it so much that I have audiotaped it and use it in my hotel room when I'm traveling.

But, but, but -- I do have an assortment of complaints about this video. it's NOT perfectly cued and the first few times that I did it I was constantly checking the TV screen to make sure that I was doing the same moves as Patricia Walden. As is true of all the Living Arts video series, poses leading with the left or right are not "mirrored," so you must choose either to follow the verbal instruction or you must ignore the verbal cues and mirror the visual cuing. Also, even though it's promoted as a beginner's tape, Walden doesn't show any beginners modifications or use any props. Then there's the gazillion minutes of junk you have to fast forward through to get to the actual yoga. And of course, I always get irritated when I read their little admonition not to do the inverted poses while menstruating. Listen, when it's that time of month, you do NOT want to try and tell me what I can or cannot do!!! My final picky thing: there's one pose (I don't think she ever identifies it by name) where you're in kind of a straight-legged lunging stance and she never makes it clear whether your feet are supposed to be parallel or perpendicular.

So those are the annoying things. Once you've done the video a few times, however, you will fall in love with the way the poses flow and the incredible relaxation you will feel when you're done. Poses start simple and easy, mostly seated side stretches, spinal twists and (oh, this one feels so good!) child's pose where you sit back on your heels, rest your upper body along your knees and stretch your arms out in front, really stretching from palms to armpits. This whole sequence feels as though it is literally smoothing out every kink and knot. There are some more nice stretches for the legs and side and then you come up to standing and move through a series of forward bends, down dogs, proud warriors, etc. These are more active and make you feel strong. I'm always on the VERGE of breaking a sweat (which I DON'T want to do, because I'm usually doing it in my underwear prior to bedtime and don't want to be breathing my own B.O. all night!) but it never quite pops out. After this sequence, your muscles have generated some heat and you return to seated poses that require more flexibility: a series of seated forward bends and some more spinal twists. Then you get to lie flat on your back with a good inner thigh/lower back stretch in cobblers pose. Finally, you're supine and inventorying all your muscles and letting them go loose ... You're supposed to lie in relaxation pose for a while but I have to get up or I'll fall asleep right on the floor.

This is my Hall of Fame yoga tape for making me feel so good in such a short period of time. If you have the time and the $6.99 to plunk down at Target, it's a keeper.

Instructor comments: Patricia Walden's personality doesn't leap out at you. She is both graceful and flexible. Actually, I think she looks like Linda Evans. All of the cuing is done off-camera so she does the poses to her own disembodied voice. As in all the Living Arts videos, the scenery is gorgeous: desert and swirling sand.

Daphne Magnuson


I love this tape. I've tried Yoga in the past and not been consistent. I return to this tape again and again. It is much easier for me to consistently find 20 minutes for Yoga as opposed to 60 minutes. I use it when I've had a long day, when I want to have extra energy for the evening, or as a cool down to various workouts. If you are reasonably flexible, this is a great way to introduce Yoga to your life. After trying this one, I've purchased every video in the Yoga Journal series, but this one is my favorite.

Instructor comments: Soothing voice, clear directions. I'd buy another of her tapes.

Michelle Clark


I think that this tape is mislabeled. This is not, in my opinion, a tape for beginners. The first time I watched it, I couldn't believe the things she was asking a "beginner" to do! I guess that it's a tape for people who are beginning their yoga routines in the evening instead of at another time of day. Even with the props she recommened, I still found it impossible. I have done it a few times since then, but only because I have nothing else to stretch with. As soon as I can find a stretching tape for real beginners, it's good-bye Patricia. Also, I didn't like all that junk you had to go through to get the workout.

Instructor comments: I have nothing against Patricia Walden. she has a very calm and soothing voice, a joy to listen to. Her flexibility is amazing.

kelly floyd
april 8 1999

This is a 20-minute yoga workout designed to be done in the evening in order to relax and de-stress. I personally prefer more stretching, which seems to really help me relax, so this tape isn't for me. But the length is right, and it has great scenery. I'm sure many beginning and intermediate yoga fans will like this.

Annie S.

I've done this tape in the morning, afternoon, and late evening; there's no bad time to do this tape. It's more challenging than I expected it to be witht he "Beginner's" labvel though. Rodney's AM tape is easier. But-- Patricia's tape opens my chest and lengthens my spine more! If I want a light-but-thorough workout I'll do the AM and PM tapes one after the other.

After reading many reviews that ask the question "is this tape for beginners or not", I'd like to make one comment: I think that all the rest of Yoga Journal's series (and the Living Arts series too) assume that if you have not taken yoga classes, then you have used the "Yoga Journal's: Yoga Practice For Beginners" tape. And rightly so.

I personally think that all the rest of the "beginners" tapes should be renamed "for Advanced Beginners", but that would be bad for sales. Perhaps the producers of the other "beginners" tapes consider everyone who's been doing yoga for less than five years, a beginner... Anyway, if you are new to Yoga, do youself a favor and start with "Yoga Journal's: Yoga Practice For Beginners". Then when you move on (or return) to the rest of the "Beginners" series, you'll get much more out of it.

Instructor comments: Patricia's attention to detail keeps me coming back to her tapes time and time again. Her extensive study under Iyengar comes through in the thoroughness of her instruction.

Helen Wright
6/ 17/ 99

There are already a number of reviews of this video. Most of them have broken the video down pretty well. I just wanted to add my own opinion. This is my first yoga tape, and it's gotten me hooked on yoga. I LOVE this video. I bought it in the middle of my doctoral exams, hoping it would help me relax enough at night to be able to fall asleep. It worked wonders. I am not very flexible at all (in fact I'm very tight) so many of the moves are still very challenging for me. But I feel very loose and relaxed afterwards. The music and the setting are soothing. The relaxation pose at the end feels so wonderful. I sleep like a baby after doing this video. another plus--it helps my posture.

Others have already mentioned the lack of mirroring, but I don't find it too frustrating. A few times, you have your back to the TV, but once you've learned the pose it's not too problematic.

Overall, a great video. I highly recommend it.

Instructor comments: Patricia Walden is great. Her voice is very soothing.

Jen B.

I really enjoy the whole 20-minute yoga series by living arts. I have at least 5 of them and this is one of my favourites. In spite of the title, it is suitable for any time, and I find it relaxing and not too strenuous. I think it would have been nice, since this is a beginner tape, to actually have someone doing modifications the whole way through as I was sometimes not sure how to do it. And if you have little experience with yoga, you will really have to concentrate: the instructions are detailed enough that they can be a bit overwhelming. One thing I like about this is it seems as easy to follow with audio only so you don't strain yourself trying to look at the screen, and you could dub it on tape for travelling.

Joanna C

This is a very nice yoga program for winding down, relaxing, and stretching. Patricia starts with a focus on breathing, encouraging you to turn your attention inward "where it's quiet." Many of the poses are performed in a modified manner--for example, a version of triangle pose done on the knees. Traditional standing poses are included as well, such as a warrior and lunges series, plus there's a short segment of seated forward bends. Most of the poses are doable for those with limited flexibility, although some prior familiarity with yoga poses is assumed. At 23 minutes, this is a great end-of-day workout or a quick practice to fit in anytime you need to relax.

Instructor comments: Patricia Walden is an excellent instructor who has a tendency to sound somewhat patronizing and/or to make you feel inadequate with displays of her unbelievable flexiblity. Happily, these negatives were not an issue on this particular tape; she was quite calm and subdued.

Beth aka toaster

December 18, 2003

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