Video Fitness

Mayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for Insomnia

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: Insomnia; Chapter 3, Action Plan; and Chapter 4, Behind the Scenes (includes About Gaiam, About the Mayo Clinic, Meet the Mayo Clinic Doctors, Resources, Credits).

The heart of this DVD lies in Chapters 2 and 3. The second chapter features several Mayo Clinic doctors providing a 21-minute discussion of insomnia issues, most of which is fairly basic, covering issues such as facts and myths. Chapter 3, the Action Plan, is further broken down into three segments: Eat Well to Feel Well (Nutrition Options for Insomnia), Soothing Therapy (Meditation for Insomnia), and Soothing Therapy (Yoga for Insomnia). The 14-minute nutrition segment is also very basic: it is divided into two sections, one on "smart shopping" in the grocery store, and the second half on maintaining a healthy weight to reduce insomnia.

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 cushion with towels under your knees for support; the focus here is on being calm and in the present moment as you rest. The second meditation practice is restorative: for this practice, Yee has you lie back over a blanket, using a towel under your head as a pillow. Resting in relaxation pose, he encourages you to scan the entire body, releasing the arms and legs into the floor as you focus on letting go of tension. For the 27-minute yoga practice, Yee is instructing live, and he is accompanied by two students, one of whom shows modifications; a chair, yoga strap, several blocks, and blankets are used during this session. Yee begins with a standing forward bend, having one of the students support her head on yoga blocks, the other support his head on the chair. This is followed by wide-legged standing forward bend, again using support under the head. Yee then brings his students to the floor for supported child’s pose over the blankets, reclined leg stretch using the strap, and down dog resting the head on the block. Next comes a series of forward bends (head-to-knee pose and full forward bend) resting the head and hands on the chair. Finishing postures include supported reclined cobbler’s pose (using blankets and blocks), brief seated meditation, and a short (2 minutes) savasana before ending the class in a seated position.

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.

This DVD offers several nice meditation and yoga options for insomnia. The practices are very accessible; they would be appropriate those new to yoga but should also be useful to more experienced yoga students looking for a sequence designed to promote restful sleep.

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 24, 3009

Video Fitness copyright © 1996 - 2009 Wendy Niemi Kremer    All rights reserved