Peak Performance YogaRod Stryker
Year Released: 2002
This hour long practice contains
six sections of Iyengar-inspired
teaching. Rod and his student,
Ingrid, start the practice on a
lush, green mountainside
overlooking a glorious bay. The
background music is soft piano and
guitar solos, and also electronic
keyboard music for the final
meditation section. Rod
demonstrates the "complete"
(advanced) postures while Ingrid
demonstrate modifications and the
use of props (block, strap, and
blanket.) Rod's instruction is
voiced-over the practice from start
Practice begins on the back: breath work. Arm raises; knee to chest pose; dynamic leg twists; "cat/cow" with hips to heels; seated stretch with diagonal arms; and dynamic forward bends with props complete the first section.
Next is standing poses. First a series of vigorous arm rotations with legs in a wide stance; neck release; a very detailed trangle pose; warrior pose; standing forward bend with wide legs; and modified twisting triangle. Each movement is repeated 2 to 3 times then held. Rod's voice-over gives thorough, precise Iyengar-styled instruction as he demonstates his own amazing, age-defying flexibility. (His neck flexibility on the modifed twisting triangle is incredible. No Hollywood "CGI" magic here!)
Finally, a mountain pose and short rest before a forward pose and onto the floor for more "cat/cow". Ingrid demos this with a block for the forehead. Your spine will definitely feel "longer" this time.
The next secion is pure relaxation.
On your back, Rod asks you think of
the number 12. Then slowly count
backwards releasing tension from
the body and mind as you count down
each number. He then suggests you
can end your practice here or
continue on for the full practice.
(A nice option.)
The next section is all mat work: dynamic bridge pose; cobra with arms behind the back; cobra with lifted legs; hand to toe pose (Ingrid demos with a strap); lying twist with good modification pointer for weaker necks; inner thigh stretch with arm resistance; lying bound angular pose; sitting forward bend (Ingrid sits on a blanket for spinal alignment and uses a strap around balls of feet); and a seated "cobbler's" pose for a long stretch.
The next two segments are deep relaxation and meditation. The relaxation starts on your back. Ingrid has a rolled blanket under her knees. Rod instructs to give attention to your breathing, then your mouth, then your smile. "Smile" becomes the key word for the rest of the relaxation as you are encouraged to let your heart, lungs, abdominal organs, reproductive organs, legs, feet, and whole body become "one large, radiant smile." (Very low "woo-woo" factor here, BTW.)
Lastly, the breathing and meditation section. After rolling to their sides and gracefully coming into a seated position (Ingrid sits on the blanket again to assist in getting her spine as tall as possible), the practice focuses on deep breathing and alternating nostril breathing. After several repetitions, the goal is to slowly inhale for 5 seconds, exhale for 10 seconds. The camera gently rolls around, above, and in front of Rod and Ingrid while soft, wavy instrumental music accompanies the silence. Finally, Rod instructs you to gently lower the head, place hands in prayer pose, and "take a moment to appreciate the gift of life. Namaste."
Overall rating: "A". The attention to detail makes familiar poses new and challenging
Mr. Stryker's years of teaching experience and professionalism radiate through this excellent practice. His soothing, masculine voice and detailed instruction is ideal for students of any l