Yoga For AthletesBarbara Benagh
Year Released: 2002
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In Yoga for Athletes, instructor Barbara Benagh has created a huge variety of practice options for athletes and others. The DVD addresses 16 different sports (baseball, basketball, cycling, football, golf, hiking, kayaking, martial arts, rock climbing, running, skiing, soccer, swimming, tennis, volleyball, and weightlifting), and for each sport, 12 practices of varying lengths and with various areas of body/postural focus (eg, hips, legs, shouders, backbends, balance, twists, etc.). [For more detailed information about breakdowns, see the DVD chaptering section of this web site.] I think this is a great concept--although I don't play any particular sport, I love the idea of choosing a specific practice based on whatever type of focus I might want to have that day.
Unfortunately, I didn't think this DVD worked as well in actual practice. First of all, how the DVD works is that each and every pose is its own individual chapter (with a male model demonstrating and Barbara providing voiceover instruction). This means that the practices themselves are simply a series of the individual postures strung together with no transitions inbetween. To me, this made the practices feel very disjointed and without any flow to them. Secondly, Barbara's instruction is meticulously detailed, which is sometimes a good thing, sometimes not. For example, when I was lying in a relaxing, restorative posture (such as reclined eagle--this was very nice), I didn't mind and in fact appreciated Barbara's comprehensive cues on form. However, for some of the standing postures, I felt that my enjoyment of the full posture was delayed as I waited on Barbara's overly detailed setup.
Finally, I think that I have been spoiled by Barbara's more recent DVD release, Yoga for Stress Relief. This DVD follows a somewhat similar format, but all of the practices are restorative, and thus I really enjoy Barbara's detailed instruction here. However, Yoga for Athletes might be a better choice for those who are newer to yoga, prefer their yoga to be very straightforward and no-nonsense, and/or are looking for practices designed to their particular sport. Overall, Yoga for Athletes is a well-done DVD that I would recommend, but it's not for everyone--3 1/2 stars.
Barbara does not appear on screen at all here; personally, I don't really like having one person provide voiceover while a different person is on screen. I do like Barbara's manner, including her softly drawled speech, but I lose patience for her slow instruction during the standing postures.
Yoga for Athletes is like the other BodyWisdom DVDs in that it has lots of different poses, each with its own title, and the menus let you select from a whole bunch of practices which combine some of the poses in different ways. The menu of this DVD lets you select a sport, and then the menu for each sport lets you select a practice by bodypart (hips, shoulders, twists, legs, etc.). (Since I don't do a particular sport, I use the chaptering information that Kimberly33 put together in this thread --
http://184.108.40.206/forum/showthread.php?t=26124 -- to pick the practice I'm interested in based on the bodypart focus and the specific poses included, and then just go to one of the sports that has that practice.) I really enjoy some of the practices for hips, shoulders, and legs. (I especially like that the hip practices tend to focus on all sides of the hips, including lunges to open the hip flexors - it seem like some hip practices focus more on stretching your glutes.) The practices range from 20 minutes to 60 minutes long, and each body part has practices of various lengths for it.
The poses are held pretty long - most are 3-5 minutes, and there's *very* detailed instruction on form and breathing. The instruction is given in voiceovers by Barbara Benagh, and one of her students (a very strong and flexible young man) demonstrates. She has a very relaxing voice with a very slight southern accent, I think. Some of the poses and practices are quite challenging, but the pace of her voice and the detailed instruction and focus on breathing at each stage of moving into the pose make it seem calming at the same time that it's physically challenging. (Even though it's not power yoga, though, some of the practices can definitely make your legs tired and will make you sweat!)
The production is pretty simple - just the guy on his yoga mat with a curtain covering the back wall. There's a black screen with the name of the next pose in between each pose. The sound and visuals are of fine quality.
When I first tried this DVD, I felt like it just moved too slowly, but after doing other yoga for awhile, I came back to this one and really enjoyed it. It's really helped me understand some of the poses better because of the detailed instruction and the amount of time you spend working carefully into the pose and then holding it. I think it's added a lot to my experience of other yoga practices because of that. It also has some great practices for when you feel like slowing down and really focusing on some poses, or if you want to focus on particular areas rather than doing a more general practice. If you like the concept of this DVD but find that it moves too slowly for you, you may prefer BodyWisdom’s Yoga for Every Body, which is set up similarly but holds poses for less time and includes several flow series.
Barbara Benagh is a wonderful instructor with a relaxing voice and really helpful comments on form. She is very encouraging and gives lots of options about how far to go in the poses so that you have something to work towards but don't feel a need to push yourself too far.
This is part of the BodyWisdomMedia series. This company has a niche in the yoga industry by having between 40 and 60 chapters on each dvd. This allows for an infinite number of combinations of poses.
This particular dvd has around 50 different poses. None of the chapters on this dvd has a flowing series to it. These poses are very slowly presented, more slowly than the other dvds by this company. (which means many people will not like this dvd) Many of the poses take 3 to 6 minutes. So for a 30 minute workout, there are only 5 or 6 different poses. All poses are done very slowly and held for a fair amount of time, sometimes long enough to make the poses very difficult. This is NOT a dvd of easy asanas. They are just done very slowly with extreme attention to form.
Who will like this- physically fit yoga beginners who want very detailed instruction. Or any yogi(ni) who want very detailed instructions for 50 differnet poses.
Who will not like this dvd- anyone who wants fast flowing power yoga, or anyone who is even minimally bored by either of the other two yoga dvds by this company.
There is a voice over by an experienced Iyengar yoga instructor. The model is a male who is fine, but when he breathes you can see very rib and even his sternum, even though he isn't extremely thin. It was a little disconcerting.
This DVD contains 192 different yoga routines. The main categories are sports: baseball, basketball, cycling, football, golf, hiking, kayaking, martial arts, rock climbing, running, skiing, soccer, swimming, tennis, volleyball, and weightlifting. Under each of these categories are 12 different workouts, each ranging in length and purpose. For example, there might be a “Shoulders, 45 minutes” and “Legs, 20 minutes.” The sub-categories are different for each sport, but they generally offer workouts for shoulders, legs, backbends, strength, twists, abs, balance, general, basics, hips, and probably many more that I’m forgetting. The workouts range from 15 minutes to an hour.
The yoga is what I call “general” Hatha yoga. It is not vigorous, but each pose is held a long time, so it is demanding. At the end, you might not feel worked out, like in a Power Yoga class, but you’ll definitely feel energized and stretched out. The moves are demonstrated by Jason Gordon, but the instruction is a voice-over by Barbara Benagh. She is very precise in her instruction, and gives good form tips.
The set is very dull, but I don’t really mind that because I’m so impressed with the choices on this DVD. One thing I noticed is that it takes several seconds to go to the next pose or the next menu item – I guess because there’s so much on the DVD. An annoyance is that each workout starts with the standard “warnings and disclaimers” and “tips” screens, but you can fast-forward through them.
This is really a great bargain. I think I paid $14.95 through Amazon.com. Grade A+ for the workout, chaptering, and instruction, but just a C for the set.