Video Fitness

YBB Masters Pajama Time

Teigh McDonough and Gillian Marloth

Pajama Time is part of the Yoga Booty Ballet Master Series. It is a restorative yoga practice intended for use before bed (hence the name) or whenever you want to deeply relax. The DVD itself is about 30 minutes, but in order to fully enjoy the final asana you will want to add on an additional 5-15 minutes. Virtually any fitness level can enjoy Pajama Time, although there is one squat move that those with troubled knees may prefer to skip.

In the YBB Masters it is just Teigh and Gillian -- no class, no Ravi. The set is a spare, brightly-lit studio with wood floors and white walls, softened with long golden-yellow fabric panels and candles or luminaria along the edges. The effect is clean and elegant. I enjoyed the music very much, although I am hard-pressed to actually describe it -- sort of New Age, a little bit Eastern, a tiny bit jazz.

There is no formal chaptering on the DVD, not even a start menu (the DVD just starts playing when you insert it into the player). However, it appears well segmented so you can use the "skip" buttons on the remote to easily move between different sections of the practice.

Because it is a restorative yoga practice, Pajama Time uses a lot of props. Besides carpeting or a yoga mat underneath you, you will need the following: (1) a minimum of two blankets, (2) a yoga bolster (a firm pillow, sofa cushion or additional blankets can substitute), (3) two yoga blocks (which support the knees during the final asana; you can substitute more blankets), (4) a yoga strap or belt, and (5) an eye pillow (get one if you don't have one -- they are wonderful!). Because you support your weight on the blankets and bolster, they should be as firm as possible. In Pajama Time Teigh and Gillian use "Mexican" yoga blankets, which are the same dimensions as a yoga mat. To me they resemble dhurries with fringe on the ends. The blankets are very pretty and I would certainly love to find some for myself.

Gillian and Teigh are barefoot, and recommend wearing loose clothing or pajamas. They take turns instructing the poses (including setting up the props), offering form tips, and encouraging serene thoughts.

We begin seated, slowly swaying the upper body forward and back, side to side. We follow with similar moves with the neck, invoking a "sat nam" (sp?) mantra ("truth is my reality"). After more vigorous shoulder shrugs, we do a mudra for tranquilizing the mind with the hands in a heart shape, and set our intention.

Next we stand for "frog kriya," which is a squat move with heels elevated and feet either together or apart (it reminded me of YBB's "beetle squat"). After several squats, we roll slowly between standing forward bends up to gentle backbends, eventually adding in a circular "sunflower" move, flowing twists, and side stretches.

Back to the floor for table pose (not held long, but those with wrist issues may want to skip). Next we start using our props, first for supported lying side bends with a gentle twist, followed by a supported forward bend (resting the upper body on the bolster plus blankets piled up on outstretched legs).

As promised by Gillian, more "delicious" asanas follow. We do reclined leg stretches with the strap over the foot, moving each leg first in lazy circles, then slowly stretching the leg to one side, then the other. This is followed by a "reverse child's pose" (lying on back, bent legs elevated with a blanket tucked behind the knees). Next Gillian instructs a shoulder stand followed by an optional plough, as Teigh demonstrates. For women on their "moon cycle" or menstrual period Gillian demonstrates the rabbit pose as an alternative. (So far I've stuck with rabbit pose because I love the oppositional stretch it provides to the low back, but next time I think I'll try a shoulder stand supported by the wall.) As if we are not relaxed enough by now, Teigh instructs alternate nostril breathing.

Teigh and Gillian formally thank us for joining them before instructing the final asana, which is a supported supine bound angle pose (or "goddess" pose, as they also term it). We recline gently back over our piled-up props. The soles of the feet are together and the knees flop open, supported by the yoga blocks. Add the eye pillow -- bliss! (Interestingly, although the other YBB Masters conclude with a noisy Beachbody commercial, it was blessedly omitted here, so that you can safely settle back and zone out without having to hit the "mute" button.)

What can I say? Pajama Time is by far the most wonderfully relaxing video I own (even more than Yoga Zone's Conditioning and Stress Release, and that is saying a lot!). I am very happy to have this one in my collection.

Instructor comments: I think Gillian and Teigh are wonderful instructors, both individually and as a team. They obviously love what they teach. I really appreciate their mind-body approach to fitness, but if you have a low "woo-woo" tolerance the YBBs might not be for you.


March 28, 2006

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