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Yoga Journal's: Yoga Practice for Relaxation

This is soothing and restorative video that includes two practice sessions. Since these poses are meant to relax and rejuvenate you will need to use props to support your body so that you can relax fully and keep from straining and/or pulling your muscles. You will need a chair, yoga blocks or blankets, a wall, and a bolster or sturdy pillow.

Patricia Walden leads the first session, Relaxing the Front Body which includes the following backbend poses: supported child's pose, supported backbend, supported crossed legs pose, supported bridge pose, supported shoulderstand and deep breathing/relaxation pose. These poses are supposed to help restore your immune system and quiet your mind and body. I don't know about that but after doing this session my lower back is warm and relaxed and I feel great.

The second session, Relaxing the Back Body, is lead by Rodney Yee and begins with a gentle movement sequence to warm you up, and then includes the following forward bends: supported wide angle pose, supported head to knee pose, supported sitting forward bend, supported plough pose and then relaxation pose. Plough pose is one of my favorite poses. It helps release tension in your shoulders and neck like nothing else. You do need to be careful that you do not push yourself too far however or you can give yourself quite a headache.

This is a wonderful video to do when you are exhausted, stiff or sore, menstruating or recovering from an illness. (although it is recommended that you do not do shoulderstand or plough pose when menstruating). The music is instrumental and pleasant, and both Patricia Walden's and Rodney Yee's instructions are quiet and soothing.

I give this tape an A. I recommend doing it right before going to bed in a nice dark room. You will sleep like a baby afterwards.

Laura Harper

I really want to like this tape. It is produced by two excellent instructors, and the poses in the tape do really have a relaxing effect.

In a review of another yoga tape by Yoga Journal, another reviewer described a "fussy" use of props. I think this is a perfect description of the major weakness of this video. Each of the poses requires a different size, shape, or arrangement of bolsters, pillows, blocks, etc. When I can actually get into the tape, I do really enjoy it and feel the benefits of each pose that they describe. HOWEVER, I find it completely NOT relaxing to have to work so hard to get everything arranged that I don't do this video very often.

Michelle Clark


Restorative yoga utilizes various props to help the body attain deep states of relaxation. This video is divided in two sections: the first, supported backbends (40 minutes) is the most prop-intensive, using up to two yoga bolsters and various blankets, and the second, supported forward bends (36 minutes) uses only a chair and blankets.

Patricia Walden leads the first practice. She begins with a supported child's pose and then moves into supported backbend, reclined cross-legged pose, supported bridge, supported shoulderstand (aka legs-up-the-wall), and finally, relaxation pose both with and without the props. Each posture is held for several minutes: Patricia allows ample time to set up the props and encourages you to adjust your props as needed to order to achieve greater relaxation. Although using actual yoga props would probably be best, I substituted pillows for the bolsters and was able to make due. The second practice is led by Rodney Yee and begins with a series of seated warm-up movements: you flow from staff pose to cobblers pose to seated wide-legged pose and repeat this sequence several times. Using a chair, Rodney then guides you through several seated forward bends with your head resting on the chair, including wide-legged seated forward bend, head-to-knee pose, and seated forward bend. Next, he uses the chair to support the thighs in a supported plow pose; I especially liked this one, as I usually avoid this pose but enjoyed it here. As with the first segment, each posture is held several minutes, and the practice ends with relaxation pose.
Overall, I think this video delivers exactly what it promises, which is to provide a sequence of relaxing yoga postures. If you are interested in trying yoga mainly to foster relaxation, both this video and the accompanying props would be a worthwhile investment. I think that these practices would be appropriate for those new to yoga so long as they carefully follow the instructions; the video is also suitable for more advanced yogis looking for a restorative practice.

Instructor comments: Both Patricia and Rodney provide excellent voiceover cueing, and both have gentle, soothing voices which nicely match the soft background music.

Beth C (aka toaster)

October 12, 2004

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