Yoga: Flow - Saraswati River TraditionZyrka Landwijt
Year Released: 2009
As Kath has already provided her excellent review and breakdown of this DVD so I would just like to add some points on how I found it for my purposes.
In short, this is currently my favourite yoga DVD and I reach for it often (in fact, I try to limit myself and I even purchased another Zyrka DVD to mix them so that I don't get used to this one too quickly). I don't really use the extras (yoga nidra, surya yoga) and I usually skip the chanting part of practice B. I may use them one day and I'm happy they are there (it's another generous offering from Zyrka - six practices and two long extras in one DVD) but for now I mostly use two longest flows and sometimes on a lazy day the shorter ones.
I'm a big fan of Zyrka's teaching style and sequencing. She is completely non-flashy and modest but at the same time very confident and her instruction is flawless. Most of the time I don't even need to look up to watch the screen - I only do it to look at her form and grace for inspiration. Her voice is also very pleasant although some people might find it a little on the breathy side (still very far from early Sara Ivanhoe but you may want to listen to samples first if it might be an issue for you).
Again as with her previous DVD (Gentle Vinyasa Flow) the production is professional but not MTV-overdone. The music is definitely more present here and it also sounds more original - there are several distinct tunes running throughout the practice (instrumental, Indian flavour). The first practice is filmed on the beach and the second on the river bank (or is it a lake?) with trees or hills in the background. I love seashore or riverbank landscapes - water relaxes me - so it's another plus for me. The camera is on Zyrka all the time and while the angles may change slightly to focus on an important aspect of a pose, there are no extra shots of the surroundings etc. It is a focused, steady style for a true one-on-one feeling - it results in a very genuine impression.
I find all this very attractive but what is most important for me is the pace of the practice - it moves along well (there is a lot of material, espacilly in practice B) but is never hurried. More difficult poses are introduced in stages so that you can go deeper or higher with each stage. Usually I am not able to go into a bound angle but with Zyrka I can. Also while there is no special hip opening section, I notice great lower body flexibility benefits, probably resulting from a clever choice of hip opening poses within the flows and good sequencing.
All this contributes to the main benefit - getting "into the zone" while practising with Zyrka. With this DVD time flies for me (I'm never confused or out of rhythm) but also I know it's a meaningful time. I do hope to see more practices by this instructor; I think that with her instruction skills she would make an excellent audio teacher.