Yin YogaPaul Grilley
Year Released: 2005
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This is a two-DVD set: one is lecture about theory and method, and one is the practices DVD. THIS REVIEW IS JUST OF THE THREE MAIN YIN PRACTICES; I'll do separate reviews of the Yang practices, the bonus yin practices and the lecture DVD.
There are three guided yin yoga practices of 60-70 minutes each: hip series, "infant" series and spine series. Each features Paul sitting elevated, with 2-4 students doing the practice as he guides them through. The regular "play" option has no music and lots of Paul talking; the "alternate play" option has quiet background music and minimal cueing, mostly instructing you into the pose and then the cue when it's time to come out. All poses are held for 3-5 minutes. Paul gives time between poses or sets of poses (for example, twisting dragon, dragon and gecko are done as one set) for rest in child's pose or downward dog. Paul uses a bolster for one or two poses in the hip series but does not use any other equipment besides a mat. I used my yoga blocks in place of a bolster.
Paul is a meticulous instructor. One of the things I like about all the practices is how flexible he is in defining the "right" way to do a pose. For every pose, he tells you what the primary ligament/connective tissue/bone emphasis is, and then pretty much tells you that as long you're feeling it where you should, the rest of your body should be comfortable. By that he means: if you're in, say, dying swan (aka lying pigeon) and feeling the hips open, you can do whatever feels right for the placement of your legs, arms, head and neck. Knee bent and almost underneath hip is as valid as knee flared out and foot up by sternum. Rear leg can be straight back or angling slightly in or out. Hips can be floating in the air, one down or both down and don't have to be even. Hands can be outstretched or folded underneath your forehead. He encourages you to adjust during the 3-5 minute holds as the body loosens to challenge yourself and to find the sweet spot where you're getting the best stretch for your body. Lots of Paul's cueing reminds you that everyone has a unique muscular and skeletal structure and we all do the poses differently. I have never had a DVD instructor provide me with so many options for every pose. For this reason you never feel like Paul is cueing a beginner/intermediate program with options for advanced students, or instructing a class for super-flexibles with concessions made for beginners. Instead, Paul is cueing you through a yoga class that is truly accessible to all levels of flexibility. He WILL find a way for you to get the yin benefits out of every pose in the practice.
Because there is no music in the regular "play" option, you will hear a fair amount of talk. Some of the times when Paul goes quiet, it's so silent that I peek at my TV to make sure the DVD didn't freeze! I plan to use the music-enhanced "alternate play" options for the infant and spine practices, but I find the extra instruction very valuable in the hip series and will suffer through no music to get the benefits of Paul's complete cueing.
Well spoken, articulate, clear and non-judgmental. No woo-woo with this guy. His knowledge of anatomy is impressive, as are the number of modifications he can give you for any pose in the practices.
This wonderful, 2-disc set provides three 1 hour Yin session, 3 Yang sequences and 8 guided Yin yoga practices.
The hips and spine are the main focus in this workout. These deep, long held Yin postures are all done on the floor and work the connective tissues of the body. The Yang sequences provide more muscular endurance.
*Custom Yang Sequences
*Bonus Yin Practices
Paul sits and instructs while 4 students participate. Some of the poses are more advanced but all levels should be able to follow. The Yang practices blend theories of Chinese medicine. Disc 1 provides almost 2 hours of lectures and instructional material for learning the Yang sequences.
The workout is gentle and offers many benefits. If you are weak in the hips and/or spine, these sequences will stretch and strengthen that area efficiently.