Mind Body Warrior Yin Yogamark laham
Year Released: 2012
Beth/Toaster gave a great breakdown of this workout, so I'll stick with general impressions. This is a yin workout of long, deep stretches held for 3-5 minutes, broken into three practices: front line (61 minutes), back line (63 minutes) and hips and pelvis (50 minutes). There is also an option to customize your workout by picking and choosing any exercises among the three practices. I like that option for a shorter workout, but I think the three workouts as designed are excellent.
Mark Laham, a soft-voiced Canadian, instructs three female participants in each class. The setting is indoors, a neutral gray room with soft lighting and intermittent "world" music. Mark talks you through getting into a pose and its variations, and most of the time the three participants demonstrate the "standard", "advanced" and "easier" (often prop-assisted) versions. You will need a mat and one or two blocks. Sometimes a bolster or pillow might be helpful, though I used a rolled towel and was fine. Mark uses a folding chair for one pose in the "front line" practice but I was able to cobble together a modification with two yoga blocks.
All practices are well sequenced. Mark encourages you to relax into a pose and feel the changes as your body goes deeper. He does push you to get uncomfortable and "hang out" with discomfort. All the practices have short rest periods interspersed, in which you're in an easy down-dog, or lying on your back or stomach and relaxing before the workout resumes. Each practice ends in a brief corpse pose. I wish this was held for longer, but that's my only criticism of these workouts.
Mark is an excellent instructor. He guides you clearly into a pose, then offers modifications both at the beginning and after you've held the pose for 1-2 minutes and are loosening (or tightening) up. He reminds you to breathe deeply and cues the end of most poses when there are five breaths to go. Other than that, he is NOT a chatterer at all. I think he's a near-perfect yoga teacher in that he guides you through a practice instead of hectoring you or filling your head with useless talk that will become stale the more often you do the practice.
I cannot pick a favorite among these practices. "Front line" has great quad and chest/shoulder work; "back line" takes all the kinks out of my lower back and hamstrings; "hips and pelvis" is a challenge to those of us with tight hip flexors but I feel warm and relaxed at the end.
Mark Laham is professional, knows his yoga and has a mild manner that is perfect for instructing yin class. His Canadian accent appears every so often, i.e. "come OAT of it slowly" (heehee).