Yoga Cape Cod

Diane Kovanda
Year Released: 2004

Categories: Yoga

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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it twice since getting it a couple of months ago.
There is an excellent thread about this video with at least one great review on the VF General Discussion board (do a search for “Kovanda”).

General workout breakdown: This gentle yoga video lasts just under 60 minutes. Most of the practice is done on the floor, but you move up to standing towards the end before returning to the floor for final relaxation.
Diane begins seated in easy pose (sukhasana) with some gentle exercises to center and focus the mind and breath as well as to release tension in the shoulders, chest, and upper back. Asanas include a series of rocking the hips from side to side, baddha konasana (bound angle, a.k.a. butterfly) with moving the spine forwards & backwards, dandasana (staff pose) and janu sirsasana, reverse plank and seated forward bend, reclined full body stretch, bridge pose (I don’t care for moving the neck around while in bridge) into bridge pose with one leg lifted, knees to chest into knees side to side, abdominals series (on your back with upper body and legs just off of the ground), reclined spinal twist, another abdominals series (on your back with legs moving from 90 to 180 degrees), knees to chest, table top with cat and dog tilt, table top on elbows with leg lift, child’s pose with some shoulder stretches, cobra, locust legs, child’s pose into headstand prep (rolling up onto the crown of your head but staying kneeling), bow, child’s pose, low squat, tadasana (standing) with shoulder rolls, side bends, chair pose, trikonasana (triangle), pyramid, tadasana with reverse prayer and then cow face arms, standing breath series with slight backbend, savasana (corpse or relaxation pose; this is on the short side), and ending back in easy pose.
The pace is slow and deliberate, appropriate for this type of yoga practice. Diane repeats a number of the asanas several times. She holds all of them just long enough for you to get into the pose but not long enough that your body gives out or that your mind gets bored.

Level: I’d recommend this to someone with at least a little experience in yoga, since Diane doesn’t include much in the way of form instruction, form tips, or modifications (e.g. suggesting you clasp your elbows if you can’t do full reverse prayer). Beginners will find this a good challenge, while intermediates will find this a great restorative practice. I flatter myself by saying I'm a low intermediate; I'm still working on flexibility and strength after 3+ years of yoga and am just starting to work up towards intermediate moves like handstand, headstand, crow, etc. I find this practice appropriate for my abilities: it’s not particularly challenging, but afterwards I feel like I’ve done something.

Class: Diana alone, with instruction via voiceover.

Music: soft Japanese bamboo flute and occasional wind chimes.

Set: on the sand of a Cape Cod beach looking out over the ocean. It’s a partly sunny day.

Production: good picture and sound, especially considering this isn’t a big budget production. The camera stays steady on all of Diane for almost the entire workout. There are a couple of times the zooming in or out is a little jerky, but otherwise the camera is steady.

Equipment: sticky mat (or equivalent). Diane is barefoot.

Space Requirements: enough to lie down with arms and legs extended, with a little space to each side.

DVD Notes: The DVD is unchaptered, although my computer’s media players found about 10 chapters. (Do I perhaps have a new edition?)

Conclusion: I like this practice a little more every time I do it. It’s gentle and relaxing, even during the strength portions. I don’t normally like corework in my yoga videos, but I found the moves here tolerable. I like that Diane holds the poses for a while, and if you don’t come back up or relax during the short breaks you could really sink deeply into some of the asanas.
This isn’t quite like the other yoga videos I have, with some different poses and a different overall sequence. The fact that Diane includes some movement at first made me think of Yoga in the Garden of Serenity, but Yoga Cape Cod isn’t dance-like at all. YCC’s probably closest to Kripalu Gentle, which also moves slowly and deliberately through sequences of reclined, seated, and standing poses, but YCC has fewer standing poses in one coherent practice on the beach. Some of the routines on Body Wisdom Media’s Yoga for Every Body, for example, also are similar. I think YCC would be a great next step from something like Sara Ivanhoe’s Candlelight Yoga or Madeleine Lewis’ AM / PM Stretch—if you wanted something that felt more like “yoga.”
This practice lacks anything spiritual or flowery, but I find it can be mindful and meditative, thanks to Diane’s manner of speaking and the routine’s pace. Diane only names a few poses, using English names for those.
If you’re an animal lover, keep an eye open for the dog that comes running up to Diane at the end of the practice. :)

Instructor Comments:
Diane also teaches stress reduction and relaxation, and her expertise shows in her manner of speaking. She speaks calmly, clearly, and evenly, saying just enough to move you into the pose or series but then staying quiet. (If you don’t like talky yoga instructors, Diane is your woman!) Thus she doesn’t cue every move within a series, which isn’t a big deal if you’re moving to your own rhythm or if you can see the TV. And she doesn’t mirror cue, except for the arms series done in tadasana; there she stands with her back to the camera to show you the position of her arms behind her back, so her right is your right. Her voice reminds me of Shiva Rea’s (but not her words or phrases); also, both women have voices that are gentle, positive, experienced, and calming. I love the fact that Diane looks happy and healthy in a “normal” way. She is a yogini because she believes in yoga’s benefits, not a fitness model who does yoga because it’s the hottest trend.