Jennifer Monness and Douglas Stewart
This workout is part of the Yoga Zone series based on the tv shows. It features two 20-minute routines. Both are filmed outdoors as a resort in Jamaica.
Jennifer Monness leads the first workout, assisted by Jeanne. The routine is based on the idea of gentle twists to open the back. You do twists from chair position, from lunges and from tadasana. Some of these are very challenging and they were a lot of work on the legs especially if you are tight there. A few of the moves were a little beyond my current level (which is admittedly very, very low) but I do feel that this routine is attainable for me and that I can progress with it. Jennifer is an excellent instructor and I really enjoy her teaching style.
Douglas leads the second workout assisted by Suzanne. This routine is designed to relax the spine. It begins with some gentle seated twists and cat/cow relaxers, then moves into some standing twists then back to the floor other stretching. I really enjoyed this routine. It was very accessible and the beach scenery was lovely. Douglas is a bit more new-agey than Jennifer,and not quite as polished as a teacher, in my opinion. But he does seem to know his stuff and I will definitely try this routine again.
Overall, I am quite happy with this inexpensive little dvd and definitely feel this is one of the better ones of the series.
I don't have back problems, but my back and shoulders often feel sore after long hours of sitting in front of a computer at work. I found that the two practices on Yoga Zone's Yoga for a Strong and Healthy Back DVD provided gentle stretches which helped to both elongate and relax my spine. Each program is billed as being 20 minutes long, although I clocked them both at closer to 18 minutes.
The first practice is led by Jennifer Monness with Jeanne assisting, and it is filmed it a grassy wooded setting. This session focuses mainly on twisting postures, mostly performed in a standing position. After grounding you in mountain pose, Jennifer leads you through gentle twists in chair and then a series of other twisting standing poses, including pyramid, revolved prayer twist, twisting fan pose (wide-legged forward bend), and a deeper chair twist. After about 15 minutes, she moves to the floor for several minutes of work in bound angle (cobbler's pose), ending the practice iwht seated meditation.
The second practice is led by Douglas Stewart with Suzanne assisting; this time it's an oceanfront setting. Although this practice includes twists as well, the focus is more on spinal undulations and extensions, with the majority of the postures being performed on the floor. Douglas starts the practice in a seated position, performing a simple seated twist and then moving to hands and knees for cat spinal rolls. He then moves to just a few standing postures, including down dog, twisting chair, and fan pose. The practice returns to the floor for a sequence which includes potted palm (with spinal undulations), boat, bridge, and reclined poses; again, the practice ends with a seated meditation.
Both Jennifer and Douglas instruct well. Although they do frequently suggest modifications, they don't offer much specific information on form or alignment; therefore, I wouldn't recommend this video for those who are brand-new to yoga. I have been practicing yoga for several years now and consider myself to be about at an intermediate level, so I found these practices to be quite gentle. However, my back still felt as if it got a good stretch, and those newer to yoga are likely to find this video to be a bit more of a challenge.
Both Jennifer and Douglas were competent, although neither stood out as being especially skilled. For both, I found it a bit distracting when they would suddenly stop performing the pose in order to refer to their assistant. Also, as previously mentioned, neither instructor provided specific information about form and alignment.
Beth C (aka toaster)
December 30, 2005