The Athlete's Guide to Yoga

Sage Rountree
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Yoga

NOTE: I received a review copy of this DVD from the web site

This DVD is presented by Sage Roundtree, registered yoga teacher and author of a book under the same title. Roundtree is an endurance athlete herself, and she designed the routines on this DVD to work with an athlete’s base, build, and peak cycles. In addition to these longer preset sequences, Roundtree includes shorter practices focused more specifically on problem areas. The DVD also offers a customizable option which allows users to create their own personal routines to suit their individual needs.

The Main Menu of the DVD lists the following options: Preset Sequences-Customized Routine-Play All. Selecting the Preset Sequences leads to the following submenu:

Strength (Base), 57:05
Flexibility (Build), 48:26
Focus (Peak), 47:05

Each of these three routines begins with centering and breath work, and each ends with corpse pose (relaxation) and final closing meditation. From this submenu, users can move on to the submenu for Problem Areas (navigation would have been easier if this had been off the Main Menu as well):

1. Building Core Strength
2. Stretching the Shoulders
3. Opening the Hips
4. Encouraging Recovery

Roundtree notes that the problem areas practices are especially appropriate for use after a training session. Although the times of these practices are not given, the practices are shorter than the main routines, approximately 25-30 minutes in length (each practice consists of four shorter segments).

Finally, there is the Customized Routine option. This allows the user to select up to 12 of the 20 total segments available. These segments, listed on the back of the DVD cover, are as follows:

1. Centering
2. The Breath in Space
3. The Breath in Time
4. Six Moves of the Spine
5. Half Salutes and Lunges
6. Standing Balance Flow
7. Arm Balance
8. Sun Salutations
9. Moon Salutations
10. Lunge Series
11. Static Core Work
12. Dynamic Core Work
13. Shoulder Strap Series
14. Camel Pose
15. IT Band Flow
16. Pigeon Pose Flow
17. Hamstring Strap Series
18. Restorative Poses
19. Corpse Pose
20. Closing

This is definitely an excellent feature, although it could have been executed a bit better. For example, it would’ve been nice to have the lengths of each segment shown so that the user would know the duration of the finished practice.

I have a few issues with Roundtree’s instruction as well. First of all, she does not provide mirror cueing, which can make it very difficult for the viewer to follow along at times, especially for those newer to yoga. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, I was surprised by how quickly she moves through the poses in some of the sequences. For example, during the Moon Salutations, she flows so quickly through the first few repetitions that I had trouble keeping up despite having quite a bit of yoga experience. There are times when Roundtree does pause to hold the postures a bit longer, but given that the purpose of this DVD (as I understand it) is supposed to be to introduce athletes to the benefits of yoga for stretching, I would’ve expected a much greater emphasis on more lengthy pose holds.

Despite my minor criticisms as noted above, overall, this is definitely a worthwhile DVD. Those who are brand new to yoga may find that they require more instruction than the DVD alone provides; in this case, Roundtree’s companion book, The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga, would likely be a valuable investment. More experienced yoga practitioners will find a variety of practice options to suit many different needs.

Instructor Comments:
I liked Sage in general. The only issues I had were as noted above: 1) the lack of mirror cueing makes the practice a bit hard to follow at times, and 2) I would have preferred that she slowed down and held the poses longer.

Beth C (aka toaster)