Power Yoga for Beginners is one of the latest in the Living Arts series that includes A.M., P.M., and Abs Yoga. This series of tapes appeals to me because each one is 20 minutes long, so if I am short on time I can usually fit one of these tapes into my schedule. The video is filmed on a beach on Maui, as are other videos that he instructs. The production quality is excellent. The music is new-agey--typical yoga video music.
Rodney Yee starts out by talking about how practicing yoga helps you integrate your mind and your body by using your breath. He talks about how this video will help the participant to "build strength, flexibility and stamina." The video begins with the sun salutation with modifications, and as you do several, he progresses to the classical sun salutation with fewer modifications. You will do forward bends, cat stretches, downward facing dog, lunges, plank pose, and the cobra pose. You will then go on to do tree pose, powerful (chair) pose, triangle pose, side angle pose, exalted warrior, proud warrior, low lunges with back bend, bow pose, hero's pose to a kneeling backbend to camel's pose where you bend backward in a kneeling position holding your ankles (I found this one difficult on my lower back). Then you will go into a seated cross-legged pose and do seated twists. Lying poses are next: knees to chest, double leg reclining twist, half bow pose (for the abs), then seated 1-legged forward bends. You will then recline again with your knees bent, then knees in reclining cobblers pose (soles of the feet together with your knees out), and then into corpse (relaxation) pose. Soon after that, Rodney sits up into lotus position but does not cue that. I usually stay reclining.
I like this video, and will keep it in my rotation. The 20 minute length, as I mentioned, is perfect for me. Due to the rapid pace of the poses and the minimal explanation of form and breathing, I would hesitate to recommend this as a first yoga video; it's a good one if you already know the basic poses. It's a good introduction to power yoga, and it won't wipe you out like the longer, more challenging power yoga videos such as those by Bryan Kest. I found this one for $6.99 at Target, and for that price I certainly wouldn't pass it up.
Instructor comments: Rodney Yee's cuing is good, although I hesitate to recommend this as a first yoga tape since there is not an abundance of form pointers. In many cases, Rodney simply tells you what pose to assume. If you are familiar with the poses already, this should not be a problem. The beginner would benefit by watching this video a couple of times before attempting the poses, as Rodney's form is excellent as usual. He also does not mirror the participant with his cuing, so it appears that he is using the opposite hand/foot from you.
Exactly as advertised, this is an excellent starting point for those interested in power yoga. I also recommend it to those who are short on time, but still want a yoga workout that requires strength and elicits sweat. The actual yoga portion of the video lasts about 20 minutes and is very well choreographed.
Instructor Rodney Yee takes you through a classic series of sun salutations. As the video progresses, he introduces tougher variations for the different poses. The beginning poses are less challenging, for example, instead of a full downward-facing dog, you'll do one with your knees bent. Each pose moves swiftly into the next, which is typical of the power yoga philosophy of generating body heat and strength. I particularly like the way Rodney introduces the more advanced versions of the various poses as you've become more warm and flexible. Interspersed throughout the salutation sequences are some of my favorite moves: the one where you stand on one leg with the other pressed into your upper thigh (forgot the name of it, sorry); proud warrior; triangle; half-boat and so on.
I'd recommend this video to anyone who isn't ready to jump into Bryan Kest's or Baron Baptiste's power yoga videos. It's shorter and most people will be able to perform all of the poses. To compare it with my other Power Yoga video, Bryan Kest's Power Yoga Volume I, it is easier both flexibility and strength wise. For me, BK Volume I is pretty tough. I enjoy doing this video after a run when my muscles are a little more flexible and I've already got a sweat going. The 20 minute length is perfect.
My picky comment? Same as for all of the Yoga Journal videos: Rodney says to use your right leg, but if you mirror him, it's really your left leg. So you have to choose whether to listen or watch. As always, gorgeous scenery (Maui, I think) and excellent production values.
Instructor comments: Speaks clearly, explains well, designs the flow of moves very well. Is it just me, or does Rodney's pigtail keep growing, while his hairline keeps receding?
It's not a bad video, but I didn't really like it. For one thing, I think the lack of form pointers is a real problem for a beginner tape (And I'm not a yoga beginner). Also, he moves through the vinyasa flow way too fast for my liking. I prefer the pacing on Bryan Kest's tapes better. I like a good flow series, but I also like to stop and hold a pose from time to time, and I felt that the places where Rodney did this were too short. I do like the length of the tape--I used it as a warm-up for another tape I have that lacks a good warm-up.
Instructor comments: Rodney has impaccable form, but he has such a surfer/skater accent. It makes sense when you think about it, especially since they've filmed his last few videos on a beach, but it's still a little disconcerting to get the yoga "wisdom of the ages" and you expect the next word out of his mouth to be "Dude."
First let me say, I loved this tape. I like Sun Salutation and I like the variations that Rodney comes up with; it's a great short workout, and I really enjoy doing it.
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: Great choreographer. Rodney's dance background shows through here... the movements flow beautifully and are enjoyable to do.
6/ 17/ 99
I truly love this video. Whenever I finish doing it, I feel so energized and exhilarated and my body feels so free and flexible. It is only about 20 minutes long, but it is enough to get the breathing going and to work the entire body for enhanced flexibility, strength, energy and release of tension. This video consists of several sun salutations, (I never used to like them, until I started doing this tape), with variations. He also includes triangle pose, proud warrior, tree pose, bow pose and more.
There is a wonderful relaxation at the end. I generally use this tape in the morning to become energized and loosened up before my more vigorous workouts. Sometimes I like to do it on the days when I want to do something besides cardio or weights. I do not generally have the patience to do very long yoga workouts, so this one is absolutely perfect for me. I highly recommend this tape for anyone at any level of fitness.
I can't say enough good things about Rodney Yee; he is by far the best yoga instructor on video. He has the most inspiring way of speaking, a soothing voice, and is so graceful and just plain likeable. I wish he taught yoga in my town; I would love to take live classes from him.