Stott Pilates Simple Stretches

P.J. O'Clair
Year Released: 2003

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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This is a roughly 41 minute yoga practice offered under the umbrella of the Stott Pilates workouts. While this workout does incorporate pilates principles such as breathing and engagement of the core, it is a yoga, rather than a yoga/pilates fusion workout.

I found this practice to be something of a mixed bag. On the positive end of things, there were some wonderful stretches, particularly for the upper body, hips and hamstrings. PJ O'Clair gives very good pointers for form, alignment and breathing. On the other hand, the previous review is absolutely right--the instructor talks INCESSANTLY, which does not help when one is trying to relax! There are a few too many downward dogs, which might be a problem for those with tender wrists. Also, the title, 'Simple Stretches' almost implies that this workout is appropriate for beginners. There are several stretches, included 3-legged downward dog and pigeon, which would be very challenging for the beginning yoga student. Unfortunately, the instructor doesn't provide many modifications, even though there are two students being guided through the practice. I did think this was a worthwhile rental (my upper body feels nice and loose) but I can't say I'll be rushing to add this one to my collection.

Instructor Comments:
P.J. is very encouraging and gives excellent guidance on form and alignment. However, her constant talking makes it difficult to relax.



I should have known. I hate Pilates, but this is supposed to be yoga. The stretches are not *simple*. This is labeled "Level 1" but you'd better know what you are doing. It is a major annoyance when a workouts is mis-represented to be for beginners. She does some difficult poses with little modification.

I'll admit I didn't finish the workout. It wasn't enjoyable. I didn't notice any kind of spirituality. I may have missed it.

If you like yoga with all the life and joy sucked out of it, you might like this.

I didn't.

Instructor Comments:
PJ seemed awkward on camera. Dry and humorless.



I am an advanced beginner who is trying to put more stretching and relaxation into my fitness routine. I tried this DVD because the title, "Simple Stretches," appealed to me, although I was wary of the mention of yoga because I am NOT a yoga fan. I like athletic stretches. I

Although sold in the Stott line, the workout is only introduced by Moira and actually taught by someone entirely different (a la the later Jane Fondas). The instructor, PJ O'Clair, is a pleasant woman who describes the exercise while two women silently demonstrate them.

I think this would be a great video for someone who wants to get into yoga, and I liked many of the stretches, but I don't know if I will keep it. I have a serious aversion to anything "woo woo" and this happened a few times too many times for me--phrases such as "push through the energy" or somesuch. So if you are really sensitive to that type of thing, you won't like this workout. I also don't like returning to downward dog over and over.

But if you enjoy a good stretch, you like lots of explanation and form pointers and you have at least a passing interest in yoga, you'd like this. Advanced yogis would probably be bored.

The DVD was really well-produced--about as far from a Goodtimes Firm DVD as you can get! EVERY ONE of the 30+ exercises has its own chapter. Also there are extensive clips of more than 20 Stott titles. There is also a bonus workout and an option to have music only (the music is typical New-Agey yoga music).



This video is about 45 minutes long. It's Level 1 in the Stott Pilates-Infused Yoga Series. If you're looking for "fusion", this is not the tape for you. The "Pilates-Infusion" comes through in the comments about alignment, but no Pilates movements or even "pre-exercises" are included.

The focus is on stretching, but I wouldn't call these "Simple". Also, like an unfortunate number of "beginner" yoga tapes, it includes a few moves that students with normal flexibility would have trouble with. For example, at one point viewers are in Downward Dog, then told to bring one foot/leg up and come into Pigeon. I know from experience that a lot of students cannot get into Pigeon, and it would be helpful to have a modification offered. Unfortunately, from Pigeon we go into a version of Screaming Pigeon (using only one hand and an optional strap), so if your hips are inflexible you're going to be a little bit frustrated for a few minutes.

The tape does, however, have a lot of very relaxing moments. They have a nice sequence to open the shoulders at the beginning (Eagle Arms included, always a favorite). They also have a hamstring stretch (think Side of the Hip Stretch, but with the front foot flexed) that makes you feel very nicely worked afterward. And in general, that's how you feel when you're done- this is not the tape to come to unless you want to do a little bit of work.

Instructor Comments:
Very competent, but could have used fewer words.



This is part of the 3-set series of the Stott Pilates-Infused Yoga tapes. I was afraid this one would be too easy. It is fairly gentle, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that itís not your normal, run-of-the-mill yoga stretching. P.J. includes enough unique moves to keep me interested, and I wind up feeling refreshed and stretched. Very enjoyable. Grade A.

Annie S.


This is a 45 minute pilates-infused yoga video by Stott Pilates. Pilates-infused yoga is all yoga, no pilates exercises. What I think they mean with the term pilates-infused is attention to breath, shoulder stabilization, ribcage placement, and alignment as Stott emphasizes in their pilates workouts. I have been practicing yoga for a year with both classes and videos, but am still happily taking yoga basics classes. I've been doing pilates for a few years (videos and classes) and most recently taking classes with a Stott trained instructor.

PJ instructs while 2 women demonstrate the poses. The practice starts sitting in hero pose on a block and focusing on the breath. In that same position you then do a few neck stretches and shoulder stretches (eagle arms, arms extended behind your back palms pressed together, and reverse namaste). Churning is next where you start on hands and knees and lower hips to floor bringing your body forward and back while rotating (hard to describe but it feels great!). The next stretch is sitting leaning on arms extended behind you with knees bent in front and rotating your knees side to side. You then go from cat to dog pose in a flowing pattern with the breath 8 times (lots of downward dogs!) This is followed by lifting one leg both bent and straight out to the side while on hands and knees. Other poses included in this video are lunges, angle pose, 3 legged dog, pigeon, head to knee pose, standing forward bend, chair pose, wide legged standing forward bend, lying twist, a great lying hip stretch with legs crossed and knees bent into chest holding your ankles, lying hamstring stretches, bridge pose, rocking side to side with knees to chest, and savasana.

I really enjoyed this video and felt great afterwards. I was challenged, but not exhausted. PJ's instruction helped me to gain new insight into some familiar poses.

Instructor Comments:
PJ O'Clair is a Stott pilates instructor trainer and described as an accomplished yoga practitioner. She is not as soft-spoken as Moira Stott. Her cueing is excellent. Her instruction is detailed and thorough. She comes across as friendly and very knowledgeable.