Video Fitness

Mayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for Back Pain

Rodney Yee

NOTE: I received a free copy of this DVD to review for

This DVD is part of a series from lifestyle company Gaiam and the Mayo Clinic. The Main Menu of the DVD reads as follows: Chapter 1, What is Integrative Medicine? (a 4-minute overview by Dr. Bauer); Chapter 2, Understanding Your Condition: Back Pain; Chapter 3, Action Plan; and Chapter 4, Behind the Scenes (includes meet the doctors, credits, other Gaiam products, etc.).

The heart of this DVD lies in Chapters 2 and 3. The second chapter features two doctors providing a 25-minute lecture on back pain; in general, this information is basic, but hopeful and encouraging. Chapter 3, the Action Plan, is further broken down into three segments: Eat Well to Feel Well (Nutrition Options), Soothing Therapy (Meditation for Back Pain), and Soothing Therapy (Yoga for Back Pain). The 11-minute nutrition segment is also very basic: it is divided into to sections, one on "smart shopping" in the grocery store, and the second half on basic nutritional concepts such as eating a plant-based diet and portion control.

The meditation and yoga segments are led by renowned yoga instructor Rodney Yee. For the meditation portion, Yee is alone, and he instructs via voiceover for two separate 5-minute meditation programs. The first is a seated meditation; Yee instructs you to sit on a block or towels and focuses your attention on lengthening in this position. The second meditation practice is restorative: for this practice, Yee has you roll two blankets into a bolster and lie with your legs over the blankets, focusing again on lengthening the back in this reclined position. For the 30-minute yoga practice, Yee is instructing live, and he is accompanied by two students, one of whom shows modifications. The focus of this practice is on the lower back, and it begins on the floor for reclined knee-to-chest, reclined leg stretch (a strap is used), and thread the needle pose. Coming to a standing position, Yee leads his students through triangle pose, side angle, and down dog. The students then return to the floor for a simple seated twist and sage 3 pose. They spent a few minutes in a supported child’s pose over blankets, and finally, they conclude with a modified cobra and a brief (1 minute) supported savasana, although Yee encourages you to remain longer in relaxation pose if desired.

All of the Wellness Solutions DVDs, which are packaged in Gaiam’s “eco conscious” cardboard cases, include a 48-page booklet entitled “My Stress Solution.” This booklet is not specific to the particular condition address in the DVD (although it does include a quick overview of the major points insight the back cover), but it provides an excellent overview of the basic principles of stress management. I am a psychologist, and this booklet reviews the same strategies which I would use with my clients, including changing negative thought patterns, dealing with anger, learning to say no, improving communication, incorporating leisure activities, and finding ways to relax.

I think this DVD would be helpful to those who are frustrated by their back pain and who are not sure where to turn. The educational information included is fairly basic, but it is hopeful and encouraging. Furthermore, the meditation and yoga practices are very accessible and would be appropriate for both those new to yoga and those currently experiencing back pain. However, those with more yoga experience are likely to find the practice presented here too basic.

Instructor comments: I like Rodney, and I thought he did a fine job as always here. However, I am so used to seeing him alone via voiceover that it was a little odd to see him teaching students live with a clip-on microphone! ;)

Beth C (aka toaster)

February 23, 3009

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