Yoga For The Rest Of Us Back Care Basics

Peggy Cappy
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Yoga

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This is the first yoga DVD that I have ever tried from instructor Peggy Cappy. I've never really been interested in Cappy's offerings before, as I had thought of her work to be mainly for beginners, and I consider myself to be more of a high intermediate yoga student. However, I recently experienced a strain to my lower back, which has caused me to seek out more therapeutic yoga practices designed specifically for the low back area. After reading some excellent reviews of this DVD, I decided to check it out from my local library.

In her 7-minute Introduction, Cappy states that this DVD follows the same format as her other videos in that it consists of shorter segments which can be used separately or together. She notes that the main part of the workout is the three segments (Parts 2-5) which offer exercises for the back either lying on the back, on the side/hands and knees, or on the stomach; the remaining chapters, particularly the restorative postures, are what she describes as "bonus" sections. [Given this, I found the sequencing of the DVD to be rather odd--wouldn't it have made more sense for the Restorative Poses chapter to appear at the end?]

Cappy instructs the practice live in a large, carpeted room. There are two background exercisers, David and Renee, and Cappy alternates between practicing along with them and simply guiding them through the routine. You will need several props for this practice, including a yoga mat, a chair, a blanket, a towel or small pillow, and a yoga strap or other long tie.

The Main Menu of the DVD is as follows:

Scene Selection
Accessibility Options [includes closed captioning]
Other Products of Interest

The "Scene Selection" option takes you to a chapter menu. I have listed each of the segments along with approximate times, and I have provided brief descriptions of the segments as well.

Introduction (7 mins.)
Cappy states that 80% of people experience back pain at some point! :o

Part 1: Restorative Poses (8 mins.)
This segment features just two postures. Cappy has David perform Legs on a Chair while Renee shows Legs Up the Wall with several variations (i.e., wide legged, legs in cobbler's pose).

Part 2: On The Back--Leg & Back Stretches (25.5 mins.)
This is the heart of the practice. David and Renee begin on their backs with their knees bent as Cappy leads them through simple moves, sliding their feet in and out. Cappy then joins them on the floor for a longer series which includes knee-in-to-chest, happy baby, reclined cobbler, thread the needle, cross-leg twist, abs strengthening, half-bridge, simple twist, and finally, staff pose.

Part 3: On The Side--Half Bow Pose/On Hands and Knees--Leg & Back Stretches (13 mins.)
Beginning in a side-lying pose, Cappy instructs a few leg lifts to stretch the outer hip and thigh and then performs a quad stretch (a.k.a. half-bow). Moving to hands and knees, she then cues cat/cow stretches and finishes with lifting an alternate arm/leg (a.k.a. bird-dog).

Part 4: On The Belly--Locust & Cobra Pose Variations (10 mins.)
Cappy does not perform these movements herself. Instead, she first leads David and Renee through locust variations, starting with lifting a single arm and leg and then both arms/both legs. Next comes 4 variations of cobra pose: sphinx, sphinx with legs bent, full cobra, and finally, hands clasped behind the back. This section concludes with two repetitions of child's pose.

Part 5: Hamstring Stretches--Back Of Thigh (12.5 mins.)
This is another bonus segment. The entire section consists of the reclined leg stretch series (hand-to-big toe pose) using the strap; versions 1, 2, and 3 of this posture are included.

Part 6: Three Part Breath Exercise (8 mins.)
Here Cappy provides instruction on using the yogic full breath.

Part 7: Guided Relaxation (11 mins.)
For the relaxation, David is set up with his legs on a chair, and Renee has a blanket under her thighs; both of these positions are supposed to make the back more comfortable. Throughout the relaxation, Cappy provides instruction to relax and soften various areas of the body. One thing she said which surprised me was that it was okay to fall asleep; every other yoga instructor I've ever encountered has always stressed the importance of remaining alert (yet relaxed) during savasana.

More About Peggy Cappy [Interview w/Cappy and Others] (28 mins.)

Overall, this is a good, gentle approach to back care. Part 2 in particular was the most similar to other therapeutic videos that I have used, and I found it to be very appropriate for working with my lower back injury. Otherwise, this is not a DVD I would normally use, as it has segments that I found unnecessary (for example, I already knew how to do Three Part Breath). In addition, it was VERY slow-moving--that was okay for now while I am still healing, but because even Cappy's voice is very slow, I think the pacing of this practice would begin to annoy me over time.

In summary, I would definitely recommend this DVD to someone who has a back injury for using on a short-term basis. It may also be appropriate for those new to yoga and/or anyone who would simply prefer a slower-paced practice session.

Instructor Comments:
As noted above, Cappy speaks VERY slowly. Some may find this soothing; others may find it a bit grating. (I am somewhere in the middle; I thought it was okay for the short-term, but I think it would get on my nerves if I actually owned this video rather than had borrowed it from the library.) She also takes a long time at the beginning of each chapter on talking/setup, so more experienced yogis might want to have the fast-forward button handy. ;)

Beth C (aka toaster)


About myself: I'm an intermediate to low advanced exerciser. I exercise 6 days a week along to Cathe, Jari, Margaret Richard, Ellen and Fusion/Barre workouts.

Once in a blue moon I do experience low back pain. Recently I've had a herniated disc. So to stay active during this time of recovery I've switched to lower intensity workouts. I feel that moving is beneficial but it has to be with appropriate workouts. In my quest to find appropriate "low back friendly" exercises I ran into this gem.

This DVD is designed with six easy to use segments. The exercises stretch and strengthen the back muscles as well as alleviate back pain caused by muscular tension. The DVD is very user friendly and the segments can be used as add-ons or are great for the time crunched.

Exercisers: Peggy, a man and a woman.

The setting is a large room with wood floors and walls and decorated glass doors with a stairwell that is visible. The room is very warm and calming.

There is no music on this workout because Peggy feels it will distract from your breathing and focus on the postures. Surprisingly this didn't bother me or have a dread factor.

Props used: Peggy had one of the exercisers use a chair. Straps, a small pillow for the neck and a mat were used.

You don't need much room to do these exercises. The size of your yoga mat is enough. To do the restorative exercises you either need a wall to extend your legs up or you can use a chair to rest your legs.


Introduction 6:54 minutes

Part 1: Restorative Poses 8:04 minutes

Part 2: On The Back (Leg & Back Stretches) 24:49 minutes

Part 3: On The Side (Half Bow Pose/On Hands and Knees, Leg & Back Stretches) 13:08 minutes

Part 4: On The Belly (Locust & Cobra Pose Variations) 10:07 minutes

Part 5: Hamstring Stretches (Back Of Thigh) 12:33 minutes

Part 6: Three Part Breath Exercise 8:21 minutes

Part 7: Guided Relaxation 11:11 minutes

More About Peggy Cappy 28:03 minutes

I also picked up:

Peggy Cappy's "Back Care Deep Relaxation For The Rest Of Your Life" CD audio.

This is a Back Care Guided Relaxation audio CD.


1. Introduction 0:44

2. Guidelines For Listening 1:14 minutes

3. Guided Relaxation 20:41 minutes

I found that stress reduction makes my back muscles relax and in turn I feel pain free. This spoken audio has relaxed my body, refreshed my spirit and rested my racing mind. It is great to listen to in the evening right before bed.

I found both of these purchases to have been extremely helpful to me in this time of back pain. Since doing these programs regularly I feel better that I am doing something when normally I wouldn't be able to do anything. That in itself makes me feel more positive. So I will keep these for those times when my low back pain acts up. Much like others keep light workouts around for when they are sick or recovering from something.

Instructor Comments:
Peggy has a very calm demeanor. She speaks softly and calmly. She instructs with care and attention to form.

Cuddly Critter