Yoga with John Schumacher (Volume 1): Basic Daily RoutineJohn Schumacher
Year Released: 2003
- Audio Workout
Note: I received a free reviewer's copy of this audio practice from iHanuman.com.
This is a 60-minute, 2-part audio yoga practice led by John Schumacher, a certified senior Iyengar yoga teacher who studied under both yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar and acclaimed teacher Dona Holleman. Here Schumacher offers a yoga routine which centers around a series of fundamental yoga postures. In accordance with the Iyengar tradition, Schumacher places a strong emphasis on precise alignment in each pose. Given this, you will find no extraneous comments in his instruction—his ongoing dialogue consists entirely of verbal prompts to facilitate accurate execution of the postures. The practice features Schumacher’s voice alone (no music), and he cues each pose first in Sanskrit, then in English.
Schumacher begins the practice by spending several minutes setting up mountain pose, a basic standing posture; he comes back to this stance in-between each of the standing poses. The standing postures include tree, triangle, side flank, warrior 1, warrior 2, intense side stretch, wide angle standing forward bend, and standing forward bend. For some of the poses, Schumacher encourages the listener to modify (e.g., using a block under the hand in side flank pose), but he sometimes fails to suggest modifications at other points when this would be helpful (such as providing an alternate for reverse namaste hands in intense side stretch). Each pose is set up, held briefly, then repeated on the other side. Upon conclusion of the standing series, Schumacher moves to a reclined position for leg lifts, advising listeners with back problems to execute caution here (he also suggests placing a blanket on your mat). This ends Part 1.
Part 2 of the practice continues on the floor for seated postures, including thunderbolt, hero (with a block if needed), and staff pose. Schumacher then moves into down dog while providing numerous form details for this posture. Following down dog, Schumacher has the listener perform two long holds of Chatturanga, pushing up into this posture from the floor. Returning to a reclined position, there are several rounds of rolling up into bridge, finally holding the pose with the arms clasped. Next Schumacher resumes a seated position for easy pose with twist, staff pose, head to knee pose, and stretch of the west (full seated forward bend). With 7 minutes remaining, Schumacher guides the listener into savasana (relaxation pose). As is the case for the entire practice, Schumacher is meticulous in setting up this final posture, providing suggestions to ensure that the body’s weight falls evenly against the floor; he encourages the listener to remain relaxing for as long as desired.
This practice would be excellent for yoga beginners who have some familiarity with the basic postures but who are still learning how to attain proper alignment in the poses. That being said, more experienced yoga students are also likely to benefit from this practice as an exceptional refresher on form. Schumacher’s teaching style is well-suited to the audio format: although you’ll get little sense of his personality here, you will definitely get everything you need for a high-quality, foundational Iyengar yoga routine.
As mentioned, his instruction is precise and detailed, but it does come off a bit flat and dry.