Riding the Waves of GraceJohn Friend
Year Released: 2007
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This is the second of four videos filmed during a 2006 Anusara Yoga workshop webcast from The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. I enjoy the variety of people present at various levels of strength, age and flexibility. While John instructs the crowd, a model demonstrates off to the side with draperies behind her. In the other three videos, she is fully visible when needed but for some reason she isn’t as accessible in Riding the Waves (to my forward bending eyes, anyway).
This is the most meditative and lecture-oriented of the four, and my least favorite. For me, this particular recording does not translate well from hands-on workshop to the home computer/TV screen. Sitting upright to contemplate without some asana to release the spine just gets me uncomfortable and jittery. Which is unfortunate because the lecture material has good pointers for the basics of Anusara. The initial asana (after a lot of sitting and lecture) focuses on inner spiral of the legs and opening of the hips, and Friend gives good basics of building your foundation. You are guided through the outer corners of your feet right up to your hip joints in Uttanasa, and there is wonderful instruction on pranayama and expanding the ribs/sternum. The twists are also good – first simple “Sukhasana Twist” then Ardha Matsyendrasana variation.
I enjoy John’s presence, and his mental guidance for enriching your prana … tapping into the divine Ohm / presence / flow that connects us all – but the physicality of this particular DVD doesn’t connect for me. Just when I get halfway stretched out he wants you to sit again. No! I sat all day at work! I’d actually prefer this as a meditation CD.
Learn more about Anusara at www.anusara.com.