Yoga for LongevityRod Stryker
Year Released: 2002
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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it a couple of times.
N.B. This video has been released under a few different titles, among them (Yoga Journal’s) Yoga for Longevity and Peak Performance Yoga.
General workout breakdown: See Beth’s review.
Level: I’d recommend this to exercisers with at least a little prior yoga experience. The practice does not contain any particularly advanced postures, although it helps to have a bit of flexibility already in a few poses. Beginners may find this a doable challenge, while those more experienced will find this a gentle practice.
Class: 1 woman joins Rod, who instructs via voiceover. The woman shows modifications, and for once an instructor has really spent a lot of time thinking about appropriate modifications, making sure the modifications are clearly shown, and describing what the modifications entail.
Music: gentle instrumental (some guitar, some more atmospheric stuff) that fades into the backgroun.
Set: a grassy spot on a cliff above the ocean waters surrounding Maui, Hawaii.
Production: clear picture and sound. The music is relatively quiet in relation to Rod’s voice. Camera angles (in the main practice) usually show all of both Rod and Ingrid. There are some sweeping as well as overhead / farther away views, but in the end the camerawork isn’t all that distracting.
Equipment: yoga sticky mat (or equivalent). You may also want to have a block, a strap (or belt, old tie, etc.), and a blanket (something firm, like wool or woven cotton, rather than something squishy or fluffy) if you plan on using the modifications.
Space Requirements: enough space to lie down with your arms and legs extended.
DVD Notes: On my DVD, labeled Yoga Journal’s Yoga for Longevity, the main menu offers these options: Longevity Workout (the entire practice, preceded by an intro from Rod which you can skip with your remote), Workout Segments (Introduction, Practice for Longevity, and Deep Relaxation), Modified Workout Segments (Introduction, Practice for Longevity, and Deep Relaxation, but here only Ingrid, the modifier, is shown), and Special Features (Interview with Rod Stryker, during which Rod, who is quite approachable and personable, talks about how he came to yoga, what “yoga for longevity” means, what yoga can do for you, etc., while scenes from the video as well as a “normal” class Rod teaches play in the background, 7.5 min.; Rod Stryker Biography).
During the practice you can hit “angle” on your remote to toggle between the regular practice and the one focusing on the modified postures.
Comments: This gentle practice claims to focus on yoga’s anti-aging benefits (at least on the cover and accompanying booklet of the older editions; during the practice Rod keeps his instruction general). It makes a great morning practice or a great post-work / study session practice to (re)awaken stiff muscles.
Rod provides solid instruction and good cuing; in fact, I didn’t find myself needing to look at the screen often and felt like I explored a few new ways to approach not so new to me poses. He has a pleasant voice that’s gently encouraging. He cues for his left and right rather than mirror cuing.
I liked this one! When I first tried this video, I didn't know what to expect;
my only previous experience with Rod Stryker was in the Kathy Smith yoga series,
which I did not like. But to my pleasant surprise, I found that Rod teaches in
a relaxed, easy-going style that was a perfect fit for me. The DVD actually contains
two practices, each just under 30 minutes, that can be performed either separately
or combined for a longer practice (this format as well as the general feel of the
practice is very similar to Kripalu Yoga Gentle). Rod and a student, Ingrid, perform
the practice in a pretty mountaintop field area overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Rod instructs via voiceover, and Ingrid frequently displays modifications of the
poses. In general, Rod performs several flowing repetitions of each posture followed
by a longer hold, which gave the practice a viniyoga feel to me.
The first practice, which is about 28 minutes long, begins in a reclined position with a focus on breathing. Some simple stretches follow, including knee-to-chest, revolved stomach pose, cat/cow, and a kneeling shoulder stretch. Rod continues with a few more stretches in a standing position: standing forward bend, arm circles, and a neck stretch. He then moves into a standing pose series, returning to mountain pose for stabililty between each standing posture. The poses consisted of triangle, warrior 1, a wide-legged down dog/standing forward bend combination, and modified revolved triangle. He then returns to the floor for additional cat/cow stretches, down dog, a rest in child pose, and then final relaxation. During the relaxation, which lasts for several minutes, Rod asks you to meditate on the number 12 and then slowly count backward, with each number bringing you closer to perfection.
You can either stop your practice at this point or continue with the second practice, which flows right into bridge pose. Next, he moves into a lying face-down position for some back extension work and then back to a reclined position for hand-to-foot pose, lying twist, and reclined bound angle. Transitioning to a seated postion, you'll perform a seated forward bend, bound angle, and then move into relaxation pose. This time, Rod asks you to visualize various parts of your body smiling, eventually moving to imagining your entire body smiling; I found these visualizations to be beneficial. The relaxation again lasts for several minutes, and then the final six minutes of this practice is devoted to pranayama (breathing) and seated meditation. From a seated position, you will first perform a variation on alternate nostril breathing and then spend several minutes just sitting quietly, bringing the total time for the second practice in at about 26.5 minutes.
Options on the DVD include selecting chapters, choosing to perform the practice from the modified perspective, and an interview/biography of Rod. I enjoyed Rod's gentle teaching style, and even though I was already very familiar with all of the poses included in this video, I found his alignment reminders to be helpful. All of the postures on this DVD would be accessible to beginners (although prior familiarity with the poses would be helpful), but I think that all levels of yoga practitioners will find something to like in this soothing, relaxing practice.
I really liked Rod. He is quite gentle, spends a lot of time focusing on breath, and provides detailed alignment info.