Peak Performance Yoga

Rod Stryker
Year Released: 2002

Categories: Yoga

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Outdoor setting, voice over..just Rod leading the practice.I've only done this practice once I think but today it really fit the bill for me as my tastes/needs seem to be changing some! This one starts and ends with a crosslegged forward bend. I don't remember all the poses, but I'll try to get the gist of the workout. basically almost all the poses are held a long time, which is why I liked it today. He does a salutation -type series where you go into chair, bend down, back up and straighten then bend down straight and back up several times. seems like you do triangle and extended right angle as well and a longheld downdog (can't get out of downdogs with any of gaiam's stuff!)very slow pace and relaxing. there's also a pose I call fan with a twist..legs wide apart and you put one hand on the floor and the other in the air as you twist..except he moves the hand in the air forward and back up while you look down then you look up as you hold it...I was tired today and these he held a long time for me but it felt nice afterwards. there are several twists on the floor as well and bends then you lie down and do some more twists.

I think the best 2 things about this practice are 1) it was a great bargain from gaiam! and 2) it has a lot of bends and twists that are held a long time.

cover says 25 minutes but it's longer with the relaxation.

Instructor Comments:
I liked him in this one...nicely done and he explains some stuff at the beginning about proper rest, etc.



This hour long practice contains six sections of Iyengar-inspired teaching. Rod and his student, Ingrid, start the practice on a lush, green mountainside overlooking a glorious bay. The background music is soft piano and guitar solos, and also electronic keyboard music for the final meditation section. Rod demonstrates the "complete" (advanced) postures while Ingrid demonstrate modifications and the use of props (block, strap, and blanket.) Rod's instruction is voiced-over the practice from start to finish.

Practice begins on the back: breath work. Arm raises; knee to chest pose; dynamic leg twists; "cat/cow" with hips to heels; seated stretch with diagonal arms; and dynamic forward bends with props complete the first section.

Next is standing poses. First a series of vigorous arm rotations with legs in a wide stance; neck release; a very detailed trangle pose; warrior pose; standing forward bend with wide legs; and modified twisting triangle. Each movement is repeated 2 to 3 times then held. Rod's voice-over gives thorough, precise Iyengar-styled instruction as he demonstates his own amazing, age-defying flexibility. (His neck flexibility on the modifed twisting triangle is incredible. No Hollywood "CGI" magic here!)

Finally, a mountain pose and short rest before a forward pose and onto the floor for more "cat/cow". Ingrid demos this with a block for the forehead. Your spine will definitely feel "longer" this time.

The next secion is pure relaxation. On your back, Rod asks you think of the number 12. Then slowly count backwards releasing tension from the body and mind as you count down each number. He then suggests you can end your practice here or continue on for the full practice. (A nice option.)

The next section is all mat work: dynamic bridge pose; cobra with arms behind the back; cobra with lifted legs; hand to toe pose (Ingrid demos with a strap); lying twist with good modification pointer for weaker necks; inner thigh stretch with arm resistance; lying bound angular pose; sitting forward bend (Ingrid sits on a blanket for spinal alignment and uses a strap around balls of feet); and a seated "cobbler's" pose for a long stretch.

The next two segments are deep relaxation and meditation. The relaxation starts on your back. Ingrid has a rolled blanket under her knees. Rod instructs to give attention to your breathing, then your mouth, then your smile. "Smile" becomes the key word for the rest of the relaxation as you are encouraged to let your heart, lungs, abdominal organs, reproductive organs, legs, feet, and whole body become "one large, radiant smile." (Very low "woo-woo" factor here, BTW.)

Lastly, the breathing and meditation section. After rolling to their sides and gracefully coming into a seated position (Ingrid sits on the blanket again to assist in getting her spine as tall as possible), the practice focuses on deep breathing and alternating nostril breathing. After several repetitions, the goal is to slowly inhale for 5 seconds, exhale for 10 seconds. The camera gently rolls around, above, and in front of Rod and Ingrid while soft, wavy instrumental music accompanies the silence. Finally, Rod instructs you to gently lower the head, place hands in prayer pose, and "take a moment to appreciate the gift of life. Namaste."

Overall rating: "A". The attention to detail makes familiar poses new and challenging

Instructor Comments:
Mr. Stryker's years of teaching experience and professionalism radiate through this excellent practice. His soothing, masculine voice and detailed instruction is ideal for students of any l