Yoga for Health & WellnessAras Baskauskas
Year Released: 2007
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Note: Within the DVD itself, the title is referred to as "Yoga for GENERAL Health & Wellness."
This is a 75-minute yoga practice featuring Aras Baskauskas, a California yoga instructor. He teaches this flowing advanced basic routine in a tranquil outdoor setting.
The DVD Menu offers the following options:
Aras Baskauskas Interview
Chapter 1, Full Body Warm-Up
Chapter 2, Full Body Strengthener
Chapter 3, Stretching/Hip Opening
Chapter 4, Detox Postures
10 Minute Full Body Power Strengthening
TRP Yoga Trailers
The Warm-Up begins on the floor--always a nice change of pace for a yoga practice, in my book--for some gentle leg stretches, cat/cow, and bird/dog before gradually moving from down dog into a forward bend to prepare for sun salutations. Aras performs a total of 4A and 4B sun salutes at a moderately quick pace, beginning with more modified versions but gradually moving into the full postures (however, in his introduction, he encourages the viewer to modify wherever necessary).
In Chapter 2 (which flows seamlessly from the first chapter), Aras does one additional sun salutation B and then moves into a series of forward bending postures. The next standing flow includes crescent lunge, revolved crescent, standing splits, and half moon. Then Aras performs a series which moves from side-to-side, with different versions of wide-legged standing forward bend performed between each side; postures here include warrior 1, warrior 2, triangle, and side angle pose. This chapter concludes on the floor for squat, bridge, and yogi push-ups.
The third chapter begins with a seated forward bend series which includes both full seated forward bend and head-to-knee pose; also included are Sage 3 twist, cobbler's pose, and additional cat/cow flows. Finally, there is a hip-opening series of lizard to kneeling hamstring stretch to pigeon.
The final chapter begins in a prone position for bow pose; Aras then flips over for a plow/shoulderstand sequence. Final postures here include fish, reclined twist, and happy babies pose; a 4-minute savasana concludes the physical part of the practice, bringing it in at just over 65 minutes. However, Aras also includes a 9.5-minute seated meditation. He states that the intent of this meditation is to focus on relaxing; after taking a few minutes to set it up and provide breath reminders, he allows silence, with the only sounds coming from the soft background music.
A final option on this DVD is the 10-minute (actually 8.5 minutes) strengthening power yoga segment. For those who enjoy challenging power yoga, this is short and to the point: Aras begins with quick down dog/up dog flows, repeating several times. He then transitions into a hold of boat pose while moving the arms quickly in and out; he rests in plow pose and then repeats the sequence several times.
Although I thought Aras did a nice job on this DVD, overall, this practice didn't quite click with me. I'm sure that this was partly due to the fact that there were way too many sun salutations for my liking, but something about this video just came across as a bit amateurish. I am sure that some people will like this, as Aras's voice is calm and soothing (he's kind of nice to look at, too!), and he includes a nice variety of poses, but it just seems like there are better choices available.
Finally, I would not recommend this DVD for those new to yoga, as Aras does not provide enough instruction for true beginners, and he includes some more challenging postures such as standing splits, half-moon, bow, and plow. This DVD would be more ideally suited to experienced beginners who have taken a few yoga classes or for low intermediates.
Apparently, Aras is the winner of Survivor: Exile Island (I never watched the show). He generally does a nice job with his instruction, although he mentions little about form or alignment.