Kripalu Yoga - Gentle

Carolyn Lundeen
Year Released: 1999

Categories: Yoga

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I’m reviewing this workout after previewing it once and doing it twice since getting it several months ago.

General workout breakdown: As other reviewers have mentioned, this workout is divided into two sections, one of about 32 minutes and one of about 28 minutes, which you can choose to do separately or together.
The first routine includes the following poses: seated pose, mountain seat breath (raising and lowering arms with breath while seated), lateral side stretch, seated cat and dog tilts, moving knees side to side, spinal rotation, cat pose, lunge series (low lunge, kneeling straight leg stretch, low lunge, high lunge, plank), child’s pose, table, extended table (with one arm and opposite leg extended), cat and dog tilt in table, downward facing dog, high lunge, standing forward fold rolling up into mountain pose, supported back bend, half sun salutations, warrior two, mountain pose with eagle arms, forward fold, high lunge, plank, half locust, cobra, boat (actually more of a locust pose), child’s pose, staff pose, seated forward bend, rolling down into supine, spinal twist with bent knees into side lying pose, rest (i.e. corpse) pose. You then choose to come up to a seated position or remain in rest pose for the second routine.
The second routine begins in rest (corpse) pose and contains the following exercises: drawing one knee to the chest while supine, supine spinal twist with knee bent, both knees into chest, table, downward facing dog, squat, roll up, breath of joy (stand in mountain with arms at side, then breathe vigorously in time with arm movements to side, then up, and then release body down), chair pose, little dancer, half moon (standing side bend), star gazer (mini backbend with one straight leg out in front and the other behind), standing yoga mudra (forward fold with hands clasped behind), forward fold, controlled roll down from sitting to supine, bridge, knees to chest, rest, and seated cross-legged position.

Level: I’d recommend this to beginners (although they may not find it gentle at first!) through intermediates. I’m not sure how this would work for true beginners unless they had already dabbled in yoga and/or had some strength and flexibility (i.e. an intermediate exerciser who hadn’t tried yoga but who normally did some flexibility work). More experienced yogi(ni)s will find this a great lighter day workout. I consider myself a low intermediate in yoga; I have almost three years of experience but still need to improve my strength and flexibility. I found this an appropriate level for a day when I didn’t want to do power yoga.

Class: One woman and one man accompany Carolyn. Both are clearly normal middle-aged folks. All three wear form-fitting lavender outfits which flatter none of them. Sometimes one will show a variation, but there aren’t really any modifications. Carolyn instructs via voiceover.

Music / Set / Other Production Notes: The atmospheric music is barely noticeable and doesn’t detract from the mood at all. The set is a dark room with purpley and blue spotlights on the three exercisers. The picture and sound are fine, but certainly nothing special.

Equipment: You’ll need a sticky mat (or equivalent). Everyone performs the exercises barefoot.

Comments: You don’t need much space for this routine: just enough to stretch out on your mat and move your limbs around without hitting anything.

DVD Notes: I have the new edition, which only has the Gentle routine (not the additional Dynamic and Partner sequences). The DVD comes with a poster of the exercises for both the Gentle and the Dynamic routines. The chapters are: Precautions and Introduction, First Sequence Breathing and Warm-ups, Posture Series, Second Sequence Warm-ups and Breathing, Posture Series, Meditation in Motion (the freestyle section), and Relaxation and Mediation. At the end is a blurb on the Kripalu Yoga Center.

Conclusion: This is a good yoga video, especially for a somewhat experienced yogi(ni) looking for a lighter or shorter routine. It should appeal to people sick of seeing fitness models or yoga instructors certified in a course last weekend. Carolyn teaches real yoga to real people. There are some New Agey elements, namely the inspirational-type quotable phrases already mentioned. Those and the man’s purple spandex pants might keep away some people who would really benefit from this video, but you won’t need to look at the TV much once you have the routine down and may figure out how to tune out anything not involving cueing or form pointers.
That said, for some reason I’m having trouble getting into this video. I’m not yet confident enough in my yoga practice to enjoy the freestyle segment. I normally don’t even notice outfits, but apparently I can’t get past the lavender spandex. (I need to work on my acceptance if I’m going to call myself a yogini!) Seriously, though, it’s more if I’m in the mood for a gentle yoga practice or a less intense yoga routine I tend to reach for Body Wisdom Media’s Yoga (Complete) for Every Body (which was my first real yoga video and thus has a comforting familiarity), Yoga for Inflexible People, Rainbeau Mars’ Pure Tranquility, Karen Voight’s Yoga Focus (now Yoga Power) stretch, or Kathleen Anderson’s Yoga in the Garden of Serenity. So maybe the reason this DVD hasn’t found its way into my player much is that I already have a wide selection of gentle yoga videos, so I’ll probably pass it along to someone who’d put it to good use.

Instructor Comments:
Carolyn deliberately paces her words; with her deep (for a woman) voice, the voiceover narration thus is a great one for this type of yoga practice. She cues well enough and mirror cues. As mentioned, she normally sticks to cueing but occasionally sticks in a New Agey-sounding nugget (like the “look forward into your life” bit), but there are only a few such statements and they’re short.



This is a wonderful, calming and absolutely gentle yoga practice. It has been well-described by previous reviewers.

There are two sections that flow nicely. Either section is nice to do. You get to lie on the floor a lot, which I’m finding out is my favorite kind of yoga - LOL! It is almost like having a massage. The set and costumes are in relaxing blues and purples. The lighting is dim (like you wish it was in “Candlelight Yoga”). The music adds to the atmosphere. Kripalu Gentle is another great one to add to your before bed yoga video choices.

There is a bit of a woo-woo factor. But not enough to lessen the enjoyment of the yoga.

(I think one of the background exercisers is the same one from Karen Voight's "Yoga Stretch“ in Sleek Physique).

I got the DVD, which also has the Dynamic and Partner yoga routines. I haven’t tried them yet. The DVD is well-chaptered.

Instructor Comments:
Sudha has a very soothing voice.



I have to say that when I previewed this workout I thought it looked boring, but I decided to give it a try and I am so thankful that I did. There are 3 people in a pretty dark room doing the workout. They are not the typical body types that you see in fitness videos, (which is nice for a change). They look like average people, and are a little older than most instructors. There are two workouts on the tape that are about 30 minutes each. In the middle of the workout there is a chance to stop or continue, I found that the 2 workouts flowed together nicely, and I also found that the 30 minutes flies by. As for the workout it is exactly what it says - gentle. The pace and exercises are perfect for relaxing and stretching. There are no vigorous sun salutations. Instead you move from a great lunge series to your knees and then into down dog. Later you do some standing forward bends. There are also some great spinal stretches. The first workout starts with a seated side and spinal stretch. With your legs crossed in front of you, you twist around to each side, placing your forearms on the floor behind you. Later, you do some spinal stretches while lying on your back (bring your knees up to your chest, and then drop them over to each side). In addition to having a good pace, this workout also adds variety to my yoga collection. There are several poses I have not seen before, and common poses are done in different ways. The seated forward bend, for example, starts with bent knees. You place your chest onto your knees and then straighten your legs as far as you can. One exercise I have never seen in a yoga video is what I’ve heard called the quadriceps stretch and balance. You stand on one leg, grab the opposite ankle with one hand, and then press your foot back in order to stretch the front of your thigh. As a previous reviewer also said, at the end of workout two, there is a “free for all”. The instructor tells you to just do whatever you want for the next few minutes. Overall I think this is a great yoga stretching & relaxing video for any level. The only thing I didn’t like was some of the “new agey” comments like “raise your hands in the air to receive grace” and “look ahead into your life”.

Instructor Comments:
The instructor has a soothing voice and is very encouraging.



Although there are many yoga videos that claim to be "relaxing," most move too quickly to allow you to truly relax into the poses. I'm happy to say that Kripalu Yoga: Gentle is different, as it delivers exactly the gentle, relaxing yoga practice that it promises. The video consists of two half hour practices (the first is slightly longer) designed to be done either together or separately. Although many familiar poses are included, they are frequently motified to be more gentle--eg, Eagle pose done with the arms only.

The first program ends in relaxation pose, and the second practice picks up from this point. Towards the end of the second practice, there is a several minute long "free" period during which the instructor and her two assistants perform whichever poses they want and instruct the viewer to do the same. I actually found this to be somewhat distruptive to the flow of the workout; I preferred the instructor's guidance to being left to my own devices. The only other problem I had with this workout is that occasionally, the instructor uses incorrect names for poses (such as referring to lying on stomach with arms and legs raised as "Boat pose"). Overall, however, I found this to be a unique vidoe, and I thoroughly enjoyed this soothing, relaxing yoga practice.

Instructor Comments:
The main female instructor provides a soothing, instructive voice-over to the slow yet steadily flowing practice.

Beth C (aka toaster)


I really enjoy this video. As the title states, this is Gentle Yoga. I use it before bed, and find it perfect for that. In fact I always sleep well when I do this first. I would not use this as a strength building video, but it is a nice stretch. If you are not very flexible, this will help. If you are, this will be more of a stress release, which is how I use it.

The video contains 2 series of postures one of 32 min and one of 28 min. The first series starts out seated, then moves to table postures and planks to down dog and then to standing postures. Then it goes back down to the floor, ending in a short (less than 5 min) meditation. The second starts with lying postures (you can continue from the meditation if you wish) through a similar progression with many different postures. It ends with a few minutes of unled free movement. In other words, she tells you to move as you wish, and work out any muscles you find tight. Both are nice and relaxing, and contain at least a bit of a meditation. This could probably be done by people of any level- even the more challenging postures (Standing warrior, plank, chair, little dancer, and lunge) are not held for very long. She does not mirror cue, but I do not find it distracting, it is not very cueing dependent, being yoga.

The set is a large dark room with the three participants spotlighted. There are no distractions, and none of the participants are buff. They (at times) use props, and all move somewhat differently. The tape includes a poster of all the postures, and on the other side are the postures for their other tape (Dynamic).

I find that this works the kinks out of my back like no other yoga workout. I enjoy the calm atmosphere, which includes new age type music by Mark Kelso (no I don't know him either, that is what it says on the box).

Overall I would recommend this to someone looking for a calming yoga video. She makes a few weird new agey comments, but I have found nearly everyone in a yoga video does. Overall I just ignore them. One, when you are looking forward in a jacknife pose she says "Look forward into your life." gets on my nerves, but the rest are pretty much just there.

Instructor Comments:
She is a great yoga instuctor, and cues very well. Relaxing and pleasant, but has an annoying habit of overemphasizing everything. She sounds New Agey.

Linda Bowerman