From The Ground Up: Experience the Freedom of Scaravelli YogaDarlene Bink
Year Released: 2006
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Disclaimer: I received this video as a free reviewer's copy from iHanuman.com.
From the Ground Up is a 97-minute yoga practice based on Scaravelli Yoga, which emphasizes the breath, the ground, and the spine. Instructor Darlene Bink focuses on these three principles throughout this yoga session by drawing your attention to the breath, coaching you to drop your weight into the ground, and reminding you to extend your spine. She describes this video as an energizing practice aimed towards beginners/advanced beginners or anyone who is new to Scaravelli Yoga. Darlene cues in both English and Sanskrit, and the names of each posture are helpfully shown on screen.
Darlene starts the practice on the floor in "Lying Release" (lying on back, knees bent), noting that she begins all of her yoga sessions this way. She lingers here, giving you time to relax your body into the ground and to follow her instructions for the 3-part breath. Darlene continues this slow pace through the entire video, moving slowing and methodically. Remaining on the floor, you will do hand-to-foot pose with a strap, knee to chest (a.k.a. thread the needle), lying waist twist, and cat pose. Moving to a standing position, Darlene performs a shoulder stretch with the strap (cow face arms). She then provides detailed setup instruction for tadasana, or mountain pose, before moving into the standing postures. First comes a flowing series from mountain to chair to standing forward bend; Darlene encourages you to keep your arms very loose when you raise them overhead. Next, you will continue with the same freeness of the limbs for warrior 1 and warrior 2, again moving at an unhurried pace. A lunge series follows (low lunge, runner's lunge, and low lunge with arms extended), and then Darlene concludes the standing work with tree pose. Coming into child's pose, Darlene moves into down dog and back for a total of three repetitions. She then performs plank pose (she calls this chaturanga, but she never actually has you bend your arms), cobra, bridge, simple seated pose, and full seated forward bend. The final active posture is crocodile twist, a lying spinal twist; Darlene begins this posture in a distinctive manner, as she has you lie on your side and then twist to your back. Finally, Darlene allocates a full 10 minutes for savasana: she provides guided relaxation for the first half but then allow silence (with the exception of the soft background music) for the second half. She finishes the practice by gradually awakening your body and leading you back to a seated position.
This video has a unique format in that two on-screen camera angles are shown at all times, one with a larger main image and one in a slightly smaller frame. Darlene instructs via voiceover, and she sometimes uses one of the two images to demonstrate modifications. This practice is best suited for those who are relatively new to yoga (but ideally have some prior familiarity) and who prefer to move through the postures at a measured, methodical pace. Although the session is fairly gentle on the whole, poses are often held for an extended length of time, which may be a strength and/or stamina challenge to some. The lack of more challenging postures may make this practice less appealing to experienced yoga practitioners, but as mentioned above, yoga beginners who are wanting a slower session are likely to thoroughly enjoy this video.
I thought Darlene's instruction was fine, although I think that the two-screen format actually made it more difficult to follow.
The premise of this practice is unique. You gently work the floor poses, move onto
the standing work, then reverse the order and end up back on the floor.
The practice begins on the floor in corpse pose or sometimes called lying release. Here is the sequence you will follow in this practice:
1. Reclining big toe release with strap
2. Reclining ankle to knee hip opener
3. Lying waist twist
4. Cat pose
5. Shoulder stretch w/strap (this begins the standing work)
6. Mountain pose (even this basic pose is detailed enough that even those not new to yoga may be able to enhance this pose)
7. Upward hands pose (arms held in 90 degree angles, hands are relaxed, maintaining mountain pose)
8. Chair pose
9. Standing forward bend
10. Repeat the standing postures from above
11. Warrior one (done from standing, no sun salutations/vinyasa in this gentle version)
12. Warrior II
13. Lunge (3 variations sequenced)
15. Child pose (brings you back to the floor)
16. Downward facing dog
17. Plank (Darlene first does this with one leg fully back and the other on knee, then she repeats doing a full plank)
19. Bridge pose
20. Simple crossed leg
21. Seated forward bend
22. Crocodile Twist
This is a very gentle, relaxing practice. Done in voice over, the sequence flows naturally from pose to pose. One person instructs the class. All poses held long, which really will enhance flexibility.
Music: The music had a nice, soft tone to it. (instrumental type) It was appropriate for the gentle pace of this style of yoga.
Setting: This was also unique. The screen simultaneously has two different views of the person demonstrating the moves. (you get to see her from the front and from the side) I liked that, since you can see the pose from different angles. (kind of like a split screen tv!) Done on a wooden platform with candles, pillows and plants placed around the area to create a soft affect. What I thought was really relaxing was the "built in the wall fish tank"--nice addition since watching fish can have that affect.
This was a long, detailed, gentle practice. Poses are held for a long time. The actual practice is 84 minutes in length. This is then followed by shavasana (corpse pose) for about 15 minutes.
I'm glad Darlene sent me this preview copy, which was a homemade dvd-r copy. (I am not sure if her dvd's will be produced normally or dvd-r) Her website is www.yogafromthegroundup.com
Darlene provides great form pointers, especially for those with neck and back issues. Also when appropriate, she'll mention when to skip/modify a pose for those with heart conditions or low blood pressure. On some poses an alternate, less intense version will be demonstrated. Darlene's voice is very pleasant.