Yoga Zone: Conditioning and Stress ReleaseAlan Finger
Year Released: 1998
I really enjoy this video. The only other yoga videos I have right now are Kathy Smith New Yoga and AM Yoga for Beginners. I was looking for something in-between in terms of intensity, and this video is perfect. It is aimed at beginners, but it's a great stress reliever for any level. Beginners may actually find some poses quite strenuous (especially if their legs and arms are weak).
Alan Finger is very good at instructing and speaks while his two "senior instructors" perform the movements. One woman shows a less flexible version. The studio is nice and bright, and the music is there, but very, very quiet. Optional props are a small pillow to sit on, a towel to roll up and place under knees while seated, and a blanket or larger pillow to put under knees during lying relaxation.
Starting with breathing, Alan leads you through about 48 minutes of postures that move from floor to standing and back to floor. He ends with 8 minutes of a lying relaxation which always puts me to sleep. During the first 10 minutes he moves you through relaxing neck and arm stretches. He then moves to a mixture of muscle conditioning and stretching poses. A list of some poses includes: table posture, cat/seal posture, downward dog, forward hanging bend, standing mountain, blowing palm series, some lunging poses, fan series, lower back relase. He doesn't give names for a lot of the poses, so I didn't list all of them.
Alan places lots of emphasis on breathing, and holds most of the poses for 5 or 6 breaths. His cuing is superb. He cues right and left as mirror image, so it's very easy to tell what arm and leg to use.
The only complaint I have are the close-up head shots of the women doing the poses. This isn't as noticeable while performing the video, because I'm concentrating on my own body. Sometimes the women look like they aren't sure whether to smile or not,and they seem a little uncomfortable having someone zoom in on them.
Overall, this is an excellent video and I highly recommend it for beginners looking for a first yoga video and for more advanced exercisers as a nice stress reliever. Whenever I have time to complete the entire video, I feel like I'm floating and my muscles are tingling for hours after it ends.
Alan's voice is very calm and soothing. I enjoy his accent which is part South African, part Indian. The animation in his voice makes me smile frequently during the workout. He is great at describing how to get into the poses and his cuing of left and right is excellent.