Living Room Yoga, Strengthen and Lengthen

Eva Barash
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Yoga

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In Living Room Yoga, instructor Eva Barash offers a down-to-earth yoga practice set--where else?--right in her living room (well, in someone's living room, this one being quite modern, with chrome furniture and a flat-screen TV). She describes her 45-minute yoga practice as being "not for beginners," as some of the poses are a bit more challenging, and she does not provide a lot of detailed form instruction. However, a separate section of the DVD, titled "The Library," offers almost 30 minutes of more detailed breakdowns for many individual postures. THe Main DVD menu includes the following options: Play All-Introduction-The Workout-The Library. There are also bonus materials, including "Getting the Most Out of Your Living Room" (see below), and a 6-minute interview with Eva.

As mentioned above, main yoga workout is about 45 minutes long, with Eva teaching live in a casual, laid-back manner (although surprisingly, she mostly uses Sanskrit names for the postures). The practice begins seated on the floor for some opening poses, including down dog and locust, with Eva's sequencing continuing to be non-traditional throughout. She does then move on to sun salutations, completing 10 total rounds: 4 modified, 4 full, and 2 with breathing only (no instruction). Following this, Eva performs some standing side stretches and then moves to the floor to lie briefly in relaxation pose and to perform a reclined twist. A standing series is next, starting with warrior 1 to warrior 2 to wide angle forward bend then side angle, triangle, and another standing forward bend. Next the difficulty level increases a bit with side angle and half moon postures, and then Eva finishes the standing work with dancer's pose. Moving to face-down on the floor, Eva performs half bow before moving on to full bow pose. She does a simple straight leg seated twist before proceeding to some abs work in the form of single and then double knee hugs. Bridge pose follows, adding a block under the sacrum for a supported inversion, and then the practice finishes with a brief savasana.

The Making the Most of Your Living Room segment is a shorter (12 minutes) stretching program that uses a couch for most of the exercises. Seated on the couch, Eva performs modified fish, seated twist, seated forward bend, and wide-leg seated forward bend. She then stands behind the couch for modified down dog, single leg lift, modified push-ups, and tadasana. Moving back to seated, she does a seated backbend over the arm rest and then lies on the floor with her calves resting on the couch to finish.

This DVD would be best suited for those looking for a very down-to-earth, straightforward yoga practice which is more focused on the stretching than the spiritual aspects of yoga (in fact, the DVD case calls the practice a blend of core strength and "yoga calisthenics"). I'd say that it is most suited to advanced beginners who have a solid foundation in yoga but are ready to experiment with a few slightly more difficult postures such as half moon and dancer's pose; on the other hand, I think that the instruction would feel too detailed for anyone much beyond this level. The bonus workout intended as a means to de-stress without even having to change into your workout clothes, and it's certainly a nice addition for those short on time. Overall, this is a solid DVD that is likely to appeal to many casual yoga practitioners, but more serious-minded yogis will probably prefer other practices to this one.

Instructor Comments:
Although I'm not sure of her age (late 20s/early 30s?), something about Eva felt a bit young to me. Her style is a bit goofy, which may work well for those who don't want to take their yoga too seriously but which will probably turn off others.

Beth C (aka toaster)