Excellent yoga instructor Rodney Yee offers this 3-part workout focused on strengthening back muscles to maintain a healthy back. He utilizes props (blanket, bolster, chair, brick, strap) to make the poses more gentle and accessible to those at all levels of fitness (although absolute beginners should stick to his previous video, Back Care Yoga for Beginners).
The first 16-minute section concentrates on simple stretches to warm up your back muscles. Poses are done either while lying on the floor or in a seated position, and Rodney uses a blanket to increase range of motion. The second workout is a bit longer (around 18 minutes) and places greater emphasis on strength moves. It begins with simple backbends (eg, cat pose) and moves on to standing poses modified by use of a chair; it ends with a series of lying stretches. In the final workout, Rodney uses a wider variety of props, including TWO chairs and both the blanket AND the bolster. This is a slow-moving, approximately 16-minute practice which focuses on relaxation through practicing a small number of poses for a longer period of time.
At times, Rodney's reliance on props is a bit distracting, particularly while you are trying to relax during the final section. However, he always allows ample time to relocate the props inbetween poses, and his use of the props is definitely beneficial at some points, such as during the second practice. Rodney's manner is extremely calm and relaxing, and his voiceover is always perfectly in sync with his on-screen performance. One minor criticism is that he doesn't offer mirrored instruction, but this is easily ignored given his otherwise excellent cuing. Overall, this is a very good workout by a master yoga instructor.
Rodney Yee is one of my favorite yoga instructors; he is gentle, encouraging, and provides excellent cuing.
Beth (aka toaster)
December 15, 2003