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Yoga Journal's: Yoga Practice for Energy

I really enjoy this video. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking. It was filmed along the Maui seashore in 5 separate sessions the follow the cycle of the sun from sunrise to sunset. The intent of having these 5 separate practices is that you can pick a specific session based upon what your needs are and the type of benefit you are trying to achieve. Of course, you can always do the entire video. I often come home at lunch and do the centering and creativity sessions to revitalize me for the rest of the afternoon at the office.

Unlike the other Yoga Journal videos, there is no narrative. Instruction consists only of queues that give you the name of the pose. This enables you to concentrate on the pose and your breath. The only other sounds are the waves crashing against the shore, and the peaceful sounds of birds and wind chimes set against a soothing music background by Peter Davison.

The video moves quickly from pose to pose. For beginners who need to use props it makes it challenging to change so quickly, but it gets easier each time you do the video. You definitely need to watch this video once before doing it. At the very end of the video they show modifications for the more difficult moves that are included.

The five sessions are as follows:

Awakening - 10 minutes of quiet, slow and gentle stretches set against a brilliant red-orange sunrise and practiced on the sandy shore. This is a great session to do to relieve stiffness or to do first thing in the morning. Some of the poses included are: reclined mountain, bent leg to chest, knee to chest, leg stretch, leg stretch to the side, cross leg forward bend, reclining twist, head to knee, cat, table, lunge, upward and downward dog.

Centering - 8 minutes of flowing standing poses set against the shore at midmorning. You begin in mountain pose and then move from one pose to the next while alternating from left to right, and then repeat the sequence so you do each pose on both legs. Some of the poses included are: tree, triangle, side stretch, exalted warrior, proud warrior, half moon, brave warrior, revolved triangle, extended leg stretch, wide leg stretch and forward bend. This is a good section if you are tired and need to increase your energy.

Creativity - 14 minutes of standing poses, backbends and forward bends at high noon while waves crash along the rocky coast. This section will definitely wake you up and help you feel more alert. Although the sequences are repeated several times, it moves extremely quickly and takes a great deal of concentration and agility. The poses included are: forward bend, lunge, plank, upward dog, downward dog, chair, triangle, side stretch, exalted warrior, lunge with backbend, bow, camel, 3 upward bows, leg stretch, simple twist, twist, cross legged forward bend, cobbler and child's pose.

Reflection - 10 minutes of forward bends and hip openers in on a grassy hill overlooking the ocean in the late afternoon. These poses are relaxing and calming and include: cross legged forward bend, staff, one legged forward bend, 1/2 lotus forward bend with bent leg and then straight leg, forward bend, wide angle forward bend, and cobbler.

Surrender - 8 minutes of conscious relaxation on the beach at sunset. I usually am wishing that this section wasn't over yet when the credits start rolling.

This is a terrific video and I highly recommend it - if you are willing to practice and take the time to learn the more difficult sessions.

Laura Harper

Laura has given an excellent description, but I'd like to add a few additional comments about this video.

I work at home, and I've found the video segments to be a perfect break from the computer throughout the day. This video has really helped me do yoga far more often than I would otherwise by separating the video into distinct segments. I like to do the segments at the time of day they were filmed--it sort of makes me feel like I'm at one with the universe, if you know what I mean. I especially appreciate the back bends early afternoon and the forward bends in the late afternoon.

Beginners note: Althought this is a gret video, it's not a good video to start with, since no instruction is given. There is a segment with modifications at the end, but no modifications are shown throughout the workout. For yoga veterans, it's terrific.

Wendy Niemi Kremer

I like the second and third sections of this tape the best. (I hardly use the others, but the two sections that I do use are definitely worth the price of the tape.) The second section is a standing-pose-flow, that doesn't repeat left-to-right until you finish the entire sequence and start it again. If you are not quite warmed up this is disconcerting. The third sequence is a Sun Salutation sequence, power-yoga-style. It's similar to the Power Yoga for Beginners tape, but with fewer modifications. For a really tough workout, use the Power Yoga For Beginners tape as your warm-up, and then do sequences two and three from this tape. Then take your vitamins and get a good night's sleep...

This is not an asana-study tape; it's all about Vinyasas; and the vinyasas are very nice. Sometimes they flow a little fast for me though, especially in the standing-pose-flow; I find myself wishing for a slow-motion-with-audio function on my VCR. "Brrrrrraaaaaaavvvvveeeee Wwwwwwwaaaaaarrrrriiiiioooorrrrrr...."

After reading many reviews that ask the question "is this tape for beginners or not", I'd like to say: 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. The rest of the "beginners" tapes could be renamed "for Advanced Beginners". If you are new to Yoga, do youself a favor and start with "Yoga Journal's: Yoga Practice For Beginners".

Instructor comments: Rodney Yee's choreography is his strong point. Great Vinyasas.

Helen Wright
6/ 17/ 99

At the time I tried this video, I had been practicing yoga with tapes for about 9 months and considered myself to be an advanced beginner. This tape was very different from any of the others I've tried, mainly because there was no narrative instruction. The instructor, Rodney Yee, simply states the name of each pose, assuming that you are already familiar with the poses. Therefore, this tape is NOT for beginners who have never done yoga before. However, for those who have already learned the poses elsewhere, the difficulty of this tape is at a beginner or advanced beginner level.

The five sections of the tape are designed to be performed throughout the day based on your needs. The first, Awakening, is 9 minutes of mostly floor stretches and moves very slowly. The second, Centering, is 7 minutes of relatively easy standing poses and is designed to be used in the morning. The third and longest section (15 minutes) is Creativity. This section is designed to be done during the day for energy, and it moves much more quickly than any of the other sections. Although I enjoyed how Rodney flowed from one pose to the other, it moved a little too fast for me--for example, you must very quickly move from downward dog to a standing pose such as proud warrior. One interesting thing was that the standing poses weren't just done on one side of the body and then the other. For example, instead of doing proud warrior left and then proud warrior right, you do proud warrior left, then side stretch right, etc. in a whole sequence before eventually going back and reversing the sequence to do the moves on the other side. Again, I liked the flow, but it moved very fast.

The last two sections really are meant to be done together. First is Reflection, which contains 11 minutes of seated forward bends for tranquility. Finally comes Surrender, 4 minutes in relaxation pose. This is the only time which Rodney provides more instruction, as he leads you through a guided relaxation. At the END of the tape, Rodney talks about the purpose of the workout as well as how to modify the poses, so it would probably be helpful to watch this section first. The scenery is a beautiful beach setting, and the music is softly new-agey (flutes, etc.). For the three middle sections, Rodney has 1-2 others performing the routine along with him.

Although I liked this video, it doesn't really meet my personal needs. I think this workout would be best for someone who can purchase a DVD version, which would make it a lot easier to move between the different workouts. If you are someone who would like to do different types of yoga routines at different times of the day, this tape would be for you.

Instructor comments: As always, Rodney is an excellent instructor, but I prefer his Yoga Conditioning for Athletes to this tape.

Beth (aka toaster)

February 4, 2004

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