Yoga with John Schumacher (Volume 2): Standing Poses: Upright and InvertedJohn Schumacher
Year Released: 2003
- Audio Workout
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NOTE: I received a free audio review copy of this practice from iHanuman.com.
This 60-minute, 2-part yoga audio class builds on instructor John Schumacherís other audio release, A Basic Daily Routine, by offering more challenging standing postures as well as some basic inversions. Given that Schumacher is Iyengar-trained, he places a strong emphasis on precise alignment in each pose, and his instruction reflects thisói.e., his ongoing dialogue focuses solely on accurate execution of the postures and contains no extraneous comments. This audio practice features Schumacherís voice alone (no music), and he cues the postures mainly in Sanskrit.
Schumacher begins the session by spending several minutes setting up mountain pose; he comes back to this stance in-between each of the standing postures. He moves into some basic standing poses, including triangle, side angle, and warrior 1, before stepping up the challenge with some balancing work and other more difficult postures, such as half moon, warrior 3, and revolved triangle. Schumacherís general style is to set up the pose, providing meticulous, head-to-toe form instruction, hold the pose briefly, and then move on to the other side. The first half of this practice finishes with extended leg stretch (a.k.a. wide angle forward bend) and uttanasana, forward bend. In Part 2 of this practice, Schumacher focuses mainly on seated and inverted postures. He begins with thunderbolt, adding an arm stretch and then transitioning into easy pose. Holding this stance, Schumacher leads the listener through cow-face arms, performing this posture on both sides and then repeating with the legs crossed the opposite way. Next comes heroís pose, which moves into a forward bend; both thunderbolt and staff pose are then held very briefly. At this point, Schumacher introduces the only down dog of the practice, and he then has you rest in childís pose before continuing on to the inversions sequence.
The inversions segment begins with headstand, and Schumacher offers the option of practicing against a wall. This posture is held for a significant duration (about 3.5 minutes) as Schumacher again very carefully sets up the pose. He continually talks about stretching the body in the posture, cautioning the listener to come out of the pose if there is any pain in the neck. Headstand is followed by the traditional counter-pose, shoulderstand, which is held for an even longer period (about 5.5 minutes). Schumacher suggests a stepwise blanket setup for this posture, and he encourages the practitioner to continually adjust the pose as needed. From shoulderstand, you move into plow pose, hold the posture briefly, and then roll down to conclude the practice (savasana is practiced on your own).
Schumacherís style is well-suited to the audio format, as his great attention to detail obviates the need for visual cues. This is a perfect practice for experienced yoga practitioners who are ready to move into some more challenging postures, although as Schumacher himself suggests, inversions are best learned under the guidance of a live instructor.
You don't really get a sense of Schumacher's personality from his instruction; some might find him dry.