Yoga For IntermediatesRodney Yee
Year Released: 2000
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This 60-minute yoga workout is designed to be for intermediate-level yoga practitioners, and I think thatís an accurate target audience. Actually, the postures arenít much harder than those in most of Rodneyís beginnerís tapes, but this is longer and besides, Iíve always thought Rodneyís beginner tapes werenít really beginner-level.
The hardest parts of this video, at least for me, are handstands and headstands, which Iím not really ready for, and also a wheel series where he does 3 repetitions. In general, the video goes like this: You start with four sets of sun salutations to get you a little warm, proceed to standing poses and a couple of balancing poses. I love Rodneyís balancing poses, because heís the only one who can get me into them correctly. I can actually do a half-moon with him, but with other instructors, Iím usually falling down more than Iím doing the pose. :)
I may be wrong on the sequencing, but I believe next is a head/handstand series, which I modify with a lot of down dogs. Then there are backbends, and finally shoulderstands. Among all these are standing and sitting forward bends and some twists.
I give this an A+ for everthing: the enjoyment of the workout, the instruction, the scenery and production quality, and the effectiveness.
I have mixed feelings about this tape.
It was an excellent workout that focused on many poses that I am interested in. I particularly enjoyed the beginning section Ė fast sun salutations utilizing plank for strength to warm-up for more vigorous poses. He continued into triangle pose, reverse triangle (love this for balance) warrior 1,2 and 3 with balance included. Rodneyís voiceover instruction is always excellent and I like how he directs the viewer to take it to their limit.
The second part of the tape was inversion poses. This was where I wasnít sure I was enjoying myself. He did a hand stand (all with the wall for support) arm stand, and headstand (the only one I was brave enough to try). He then proceeded into plough, shoulder stand (for a long time) and several sets of bridges and backbends. I suppose I am too new to many of these inversion postures and will have to take my time working up to them.
Rodney then continued with hip openers which I thoroughly enjoyed as I have a tight right hip. He completed different variations of spinal twists, among them lotus prep postures. The difficulty I had with the tape was how hard it was at certain points. Sometimes I was relaxed and able to complete postures and hold for a long time and then during other segments, I felt the workout was beyond me and quite uncomfortable. I will definitely try the workout again, but this is more of an intermediate/low-advanced tape due to the inversion postures and hip openers if you happen to be struggling in that area.
The setting is a beautiful Oceanside view, with Rodney performing the poses on the grass. He uses several yoga props including the strap, block and blankets. I did not use any of these during the workout, but could see how they could help facilitate the poses. I would rate this a B+/A- and would recommend it for the variety of poses he completes in the workout.
Section I - Sun Salutations & Standing Poses
Set is beautiful grassy garden in bright sunlight. It's next to the ocean, you can see the ocean breezes blowing through the palm trees. He gives a lot of detail in the standing poses to help you refine you poses.
6 minutes of Sun Salutations
Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
Side Angle Pose (Parsvakonasana)
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Half Moon Pose (Ardha Candrasana)
Warrior III (Brave Warrior) (Virabhadrasana III)
Standing Forward Bend grasping big toes (Uttanasana)
Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana)
Single Leg Standing Forward Bend hands behind back in Namaste (Parsvottanasana)
Standing Forward Bend standing on hands palms up (Uttanasana)
Section II - Inversions
Set is a stone patio with pillars all inversions are done against the wall for support.
Full Arm Balance (Hand Stand) (Adho Mukha Vrksasana)
Elbow Balance (Pinca Mayurasana)
Head Stand (Sirsasana)
Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Section III - Seated & Lying Poses
Set is back to the grassy garden.
Bridge Pose on block, alternate leg raises (Setu Bandha)
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Upward Bow Pose (Backbend) (Urdhva Dhanurasana)
Reclined Leg Stretch (Supta Padangusthasana)
Reclined Half Lotus (Supta Ardha Padmasana)
Reclined Back Twist with legs bent
Half Lotus Twist (Bharadvajasana II)
Arhda Matsyendrasana II
Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)
Seated Forward Bend (Pascimottanasana)
Relaxation with blankets on thighs (Savasana)
Full Lotus with guided meditation (Padmasana)
The setting and production in this tape is beautiful. It is worth watching just on it's own. Rodney Yee is so smooth, strong & graceful. The instruction is very complete and if you have been doing Iyengar style yoga you will appreciate how in-depth the cueing is. I consider this to be a great tape for developing your home yoga practice.
While the tape is called "Yoga for Intermediates" I think that this is MAINLY accessible for any non-rank beginning yoga practioner. Rodney Yee's instruction is good enough to bring MOST of the poses within reach of anyone willing to press on (more on this in a bit). Don't let the 70-minute length, according to the box, fool you; this tape clocks in a spit under an hour.
He starts off with a standing series which begins with a few sun salutation As and Bs. I found that he seemed to rush these; he barely had enough time to say the directions before that part of the pose changed. Then there are a few triangle poses, forward bends and some of my favorite poses, warrior 3 (a single-leg balance) and half moon (a leg and arm balance). This part is roughly 20 minutes.
The next section is the inversion section, which with I have the most criticism. There are 3 poses in this section; handstand, scorpion? (fore-arm stand) and headstand. I feel that he should have reversed the order. By starting with headstand you can get used to being upside down without the additional terror of supporting your whole body with just your hands. Then, perhaps, by the time handstand comes your confidence might have been built up. My other problem with this section is that, although he does have you practice kicking up against a wall before actually going into the pose (beware all of you with sheetrock walls!) there is an intermediate way of doing these poses with your feet on a solid piece of furniture, while the rest of you is in correct form. Propping your feet can go a long way toward beginning to get a feel for the pose before making a full commitment. I truly wish he had included demonstrations of the intermediate way to balance and build confidence in these poses. Any non-daredevil beginner could fast forward through this section. v The next section includes some simple backbends.
The final section has some very nice, relaxing, seated twists.
His instruction varies from new-agey stuff along the lines of "you are the earth" to very helpful physical advice, such as "let the spine cascade down the leg." Personally I prefer the more concrete directions. The music is cello (I think) and doodook. Mainly it is not intrusive, except for during shoulder stand where it sounded very gloomy.
My other quibble with the tape is minor and most likely concerns Yoga Journal's video editorial decision to have the pose names in English only. I love learning the Sanskrit names in yoga and find the omission glaring and too westernized.
This video flows well, is not boring, and had the amazing ability to relax me even as a backhoe dug up my entire front yard while I practiced. Very few tapes could make me feel calm and centered during street repair season, but this one does.