Abs Yoga For Beginners

Rodney Yee
Year Released: 1998

Categories: Yoga

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This was my first introduction to yoga; I bought this video having absolutely NO prior yoga experience. Although it doesn't involve many traditional yoga poses, the exercises flow together in a way that is unique to yoga. When I first tried this tape, I wasn't quite sure when the warm-up ended and the "real" workout began--the transition was that smooth and gentle.

The workout begins in a seated position and focuses on breathing, then moves on to hands and knees for a back stretch (Cat pose). The majority of the workout is performed lying on your back, where you will do simple yet challenging leg extensions and twists to challenge the abdominal area. After a quick rise to a standing position, the workout returns to the floor to end with lying relaxation poses.

The moves become gradually more difficult, but I think that most beginners will be able to perform the majority of this workout. I believe that this workout has helped me to developed stronger abs (though I haven't seen the miracle-like results that other reviewers have mentioned). I would definitely recommend this tape for anyone looking to exercise their abs without doing crunches for a change.

Instructor Comments:
Rodney Yee is a wonderful instructor--he has a calming voice, his voiceover instructions are clear and precise, and he is not overly "new age-y" (although he does occasionally say things like "feel your abs be wide like the dunes").

Beth C (aka toaster)


One of the best, least painless way to start building your abs. Much better than the 100+ killer crunches I used to do. He progresses in such small steps that you end up doing poses you never thought possible. I like to pair this video with sections from other videos.

Instructor Comments:
Hey, it's Rodney Yee

ariel jensen-vargas


I agree that this video is not one for absolute beginners. The day after I do this video my abs are somewhat sore and very tight--sometimes my little pooch even disappears! It is easy to work hard with this video and not even know it. The breathing relaxes the body and the focus is on strength and stabilization rather than fatigue through endless repetitions. These particular exercises also target the lower abs in a way that traditional crunch-type exercises (e.g. reverse curls) just cannot. I like to use *Abs Yoga* on cardio days, right after a step workout. In addition to thoroughly working the abdominal muscles, the legs get a nice stretch in the process.

Some modifications: 1) I don't always go exactly along with the pace of the video. Yee cues a little late on the exhale breath so I find myself holding my breath on the inhale, waiting for the exhale cue. Instead, I just go with the pace of my own breathing, off of the cuing by just a couple seconds. 2) Yee starts out with lowering the legs to the floor with the knees bent and then progresses on to straight legs. I can't get all the way down with perfectly straight legs so I lower the legs to the "sticking point" and then bend the knees. I also hang onto my legs with my hands on parts where Yee lets go. There is definitely a lot of room left to progress with this workout.

The "sticking point" is a pointer from *The Method: Balanced Zones* video. Jennifer Kries explains that one should lower the legs only to the point where the lower back is not arching off the floor--an individualized "sticking point." As an aside, I think those who enjoy the *Abs Yoga* video would also like the 20-minute "Abdominal Centering" portion of the *Balanced Zones* video.

I am generally not a yoga fan but find that I now have all four of the *. . . Yoga for Beginners* series. Doing yoga in 20-minute segements seems to be the perfect yoga 'routine' for me.

Instructor Comments:
Rodney Yee has a lovely voice and clear explanations. He does not delve into any mysticism or have a pose name for each exercise. Yee does use several metaphorical descriptions which I find to be very helpful in visualizing the proper form and maintaining focus on the muscles.

Gretchen Vaughn


This has become the video that I do when I know that I have a stressful day coming up and want some "preventative" stress reduction. The focus on breathing and the smoothness of the movements makes this one of the most meditative Yoga videos I own--even while it does a wonderful job on abs work at the same time. I'm amazed at how good I feel after a 20-minute session.

This video would be excellent for all levels since you can grow with it. It becomes more challenging over time, because you really can focus more on the movements and make them stronger. It also makes a great follow-up to cardio workouts.

Instructor Comments:
Rodney Yee has a soothing voice and is very precise in his instruction. He is a superb Yoga instructor.

Ronni Hendel-Giller


Twenty minutes of yoga that targets building abdominal strength and control. The first few minutes are devoted to focusing on consciously breathing, coordinating your breathing with releasing or placing tension on the abdominal muscles. I happen to believe that breath control is a powerful mind and body tool that enhances mental and physical control, so I like this part of the video. If you're not sold on the breathing thing, this part will probably make you want to say, enough, already, where's the workout!

Well, you do get to the workout. Some of the more frequently repeated movements involve slowly lifting and lowering your legs, either bent or straightened, either directly overhead or to each side. Again, it is important to exhale and inhale at the appropriate times, this will make a real difference in muscular tension in the abs. Some of the other movements require you to lift your head and chest to a single bent knee and hold there. Later you lift up to both bent knees. Then there's "half-boat," done with an individual leg, then with both legs. (This is a V-position, with upper and lower body raised off the floor.) You also rock your body back and forth like a rocking horse to get to a seated position. All of the movements, if performed properly, will require slow and precise control of the abdominal muscles and will require some balancing abilities.

I like this tape a lot and have been using it once per week along with more traditional ab work. It actually has become MORE challenging the more times I do it -- I guess because you're working with and against your own body strength. Not too much hardcore yoga talk, although you will have to get used to "letting your eyes peacefully descend behind your cheekbones," having a "strong, hollow belly" and other unusual descriptions.

This is a good tape that I would recommend to those who would like a change from traditional crunches.

Instructor Comments:
Rodney is thorough and clear in his instruction. It is clear that he is quite knowledgeable about yoga. Is that a Speedo he's got on?

Daphne M


I have been using this tape in conjunction with Abs and More since September 1998 trying to get away from traditional ab work. Like another reviewer I did notice an almost immediate difference in my ability to do the Method's Precision Toning (which I love but dread to do since it is so long). I still feel this in my obliques the day after using it, which is only once a week. I really like the way they filmed this in the desert and the music is really relaxing. I always feel longer and relaxed after doing this tape. It is the best $7 I spent on any ab tape!

Instructor Comments:
This is my first tape with Rodney Yee and he was likeable enough. Definitely reminded me of what I would think a yoga instructor would be and had some really good visualizations to help you with form.

Stephanie Bridges


This is really an ab workout more than it is a yoga video. It is relaxing, but I use it as an ab tape. Also, the title is misleading--I don't believe that this would be a good tape for beginners. Many of the moves require a good deal of abdominal strength to perform them correctly thereby reducing the chance of injuring the lower back. I think it is an excellent tape for intermediates and advanced who are looking for a change of pace from their regular ab routines. It is currently my favorite ab tape--I like it more than 5-day abs and Keli Roberts' abs. The exercises use a lot of pelvic stabilization, so those familiar with Keli Roberts' style and The Method tapes will understand the techniques used here.

Definitely a good value, especially if you can find it for $6.99.

Instructor Comments:
Rodney's form and cuing are excellent, as always. His voice is very soothing. He explains at the beginning of the video that your abs are your center, and all activity radiates from your center.

Kristin Aziz


This video has encouraged me to believe that I can lose the 6 year old pouch from the birth of my son. I had tried everything from zero fat to an unhealthy caloric intake and my belly would return. After two weeks of working with this tape, I have firm muscular abdominal muscles and for a change a strong belief that this time I will keep a small belly.

This is my only experience with Yoga. I am now encouraged to move on to other areas of the excercise and the discipline.

Instructor Comments:
Mr. Yee's voice encouraged me to continue throughout the entire video. It was soothing and encouraging. I always thought that you had to be loud to be motivational.

Pauline Welch


I like this video a lot. It is a terrific change from the usual crunches, reverse curls etc. Although the tape title says it is for beginners, I believe that it would benefit all levels of exercisers. In fact, I think that a beginner would find it extremely difficult to do the entire tape. The outdoor setting of the tape is absolutely beautiful. I imagine I am outdoors on the sand under the gorgeous blue sky enjoying my ab work.

My criticism is that the video is too short and also that Rodney Yee does the exercise where you lie on your back and lower your straight legs to the floor too many times. All in all, I will do this tape probably once or twice a week in addition to my other ab tapes. I give it a B+.

Instructor Comments:
Rodney Yee is my favorite yoga instructor. He is so graceful and fluid and his voice is very soothing yet it is very motivating. He makes you feel that you are doing much more for yourself and your life than just simply exercising your abdominal muscles.



Wow, I can really feel this one. This is a yoga/abs combination, and it's extremely effective. You start out with breathing and relaxing, and then you slowly move into ab work. At first, you're just sort of warming into it. Then all of a sudden, there are some really tough poses that are difficult to hold the entire time. Then pretty soon, you're winding back down again into the final relaxation.

I was amazed that after doing this tape just twice, when I went to do a Method tape, the ab work in it was so much easier than before! This tape is really building a lot of strength, and I thought my abs were fairly strong before.

I have to say this is the most enjoyable abs tape I have. Ab work is second from the bottom on my list of favorite things to do (pushups are at the very bottom!), so this is a wonderful change of pace. Plus, you get to relax at the same time -- the breathing techniques really work wonders. Grade A+.

Annie S.


This video probably wins some sort of award for the most "frill" material for the shortest workout. The actual workout, according to Collage, is 16 minutes, plues three minutes each for warm up and cool down. I also counted at least 10 minutes, before and after the workout, of promos for other yoga arts products, and preliminary instruction. The video is a nice break from traditional abs workouts, though you have to have a high tolerance for what I call "yoga speak", i.e., "Hollow your abdominals like the deep soft belly of the dunes." Basically, the exercises fall into three categories: pulling your knees to your chest and your head to your knees; variations on leg raises, including moving the legs from side to side, and a "v" position, in which you extend your arms and legs off the ground, holding your lower back to the floor. I thought there was a real lack of instruction here. For example, I could not lower my legs to the floor without arching my lower back. I did not know what I was supposed to do-lower them as far as I could, put my hands under my butt, force my lower back down... I just didn't know, and Yee didn't tell me. Finally, although I did get a nice "muscle tremble" from some of the exercises, this is not a miracle video for flat abs (I think the only thing that will do that for me is a tummy tuck!) In all, a nice change of pace but definitely not a must-have video.

Instructor Comments:
He has a very relaxed, and relaxing manner. However I would have appreciated more instruction and less spiritual talk.

Stephanie Waite