Intermediate Yoga in Fiji

Elise Browning Miller
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Yoga

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Intermediate Yoga in Fiji is the latest offering from instructor Elise Browning Miller, whose previous yoga release was Yoga for Scoliosis. As the title suggests, this is an intermediate yoga practice which was filmed on the island of Fiji; the practice sequences feature Elise alone in a beachfront setting. This well-chaptered DVD offers a variety of options as broken down in detail below.

Main Menu:
*Getting Started
*Yoga Practice (Full Vinyasa Sequence, Sun Salutations, Standing Poses)
*Bonus (More Challenging Poses, Children in Fiji, Interview/Bio, Credits/Contacts)

In the Introduction and Getting Started, Elise provides an overview of the practice and offers an opening meditation. The Full Vinyasa Sequence is 50 minutes long, and although there is not a chapter menu, the practice is broken into 8 separate chapters, so you can easily skip around as needed. I have provided approximate time breakdowns as well as an overview of poses included below.

Chapter 1 (4 minutes)--lunge salutations
Chapter 2 (4 minutes)--sun salutations with jumpbacks to down dog; includes lunge, seated split, and standing split
Chapter 3 (5 minutes)--sun salutation B with Iyengar jumping to chatturanga; also includes warrior 1, side plank, and 1-legged dog pose
Chapter 4 (<4 minutes)--standing sequence: vinyasa, triangle, warrior 2, right angle, wide-legged standing forward bend, intense side stretch, revolved triangle, revolved prayer twist, down dog series (includes full pigeon, cow face pose, half twist, hand-to-foot balance, boat, and cobbler's pose), vinyasa
Chapter 5 (<7 minutes)--standing pose flow: vinyasa, warrior 1, warrior 3, half moon, one-legged standing split, intense side stretch, revolved triangle, revolved prayer twist, vinyasa and repeat on other side
Chapter 6 (8 minutes)--backbends and inversions: standing forward bend, down dog, staff pose, upward bow, two-legged inverted staff, upward bow, plow, shoulderstand, bridge, plow, shoulderstand, plow, deaf man's pose, crow, plow, sage 1&3, plow, seated forward bend
Chapter 7 (<6 minutes)--savasana
Chapter 8 (1 minute)--namaste

The footage for the two shorter practices, Sun Salutations (17.5 minutes) and Standing Poses (25 minutes), is taken from the above, with the exceptions that the opening lunge salutation is a bit shorter (3 minutes) in the first, and both offer a short savasana (4 minutes). Otherwise, the Sun Salutation practice includes Chapters 1-3 plus savasana, and the Standing Poses includes Chapters 4-5 plus savasana. I especially enjoyed the standing pose sequence, and I can imagine using this stand-alone portion more often than the full practice. As a solid intermediate, I found the full practice, which I would rate as high intermediate/low advanced, to be quite taxing, especially given the many chatturangas in the sun salutation chapters. Furthermore, my body did not feel quite prepared for the backbends segment, as Elise immediately goes into a full backbend (upward bow). However, advanced yoga practitioners may be disappointed by the lack of more challenging inversions (headstand, handstand). A final note is that Elise does use the Sanskrit names for the postures throughout the practice; she sometimes uses English as well, but not always.

If you wish to follow your practice with Meditation, you must go back to the main menu and select this option. During this 10-minute sequence, Elise provides occasional focus and breath cues with sounds of waves crashing in the background. On the Bonus submenu, you will find More Challenging Poses, a 10-minute instructional sequence in which Elise provides more detailed instruction for some of the more difficult postures, including warrior 3, revolved triangle, revolved prayer twist, and upward bow. Children in Fiji is a short, sweet little segment offering glimpses of the island's native children practice yoga poses on the beach. And finally, the last two submenus of the Bonus menu provide more information about Elise.

Overall, this is a very nice yoga DVD for intermediate (at least) to advanced students who enjoy challenging but doable vinyasa practices.

Instructor Comments:
Despite her scoliosis (which she does not mention in this video), Elise has a beautiful yoga practice, made even more so by the fact that she has a very "normal" looking body. She instructs well, providing detailed form pointers without being overly chatty. The only problem I had is that she does not mirror cue, which was at times a bit confusing given her sideways orientation to the camera.

Beth C (aka toaster)