Yoga for Urban Living: Evening BathHemalayaa Behl
Year Released: 2003
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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it a couple of times in the year and a half or so I’ve had it.
General workout breakdown: This yoga workout lasts about 24 minutes; it stays entirely on the floor. Hemalaya begins with chanting Om in seated position. After some gentle twists she does some abdominals work and twists, spinal lift (bridge), shoulderstand, and plow. She ends with a very short savasana, and some final Oms. Hemalaya moves deliberately through the postures rather than rushing them.
Level: I’d recommend this to a very experienced beginner (with some strength and flexibility) through a low intermediate in yoga, since Hemalaya doesn’t include much in the way of form instruction, form tips, or modifications. I flatter myself by saying I'm a low intermediate; I'm still working on flexibility and strength after 3+ years of yoga and am just starting to work up towards intermediate moves like handstand, headstand, crow, etc. I find this practice appropriate for my abilities.
Class: Hemalaya alone, with instruction via voiceover.
Music: repetitive mellow instrumental music.
Set: Hemalaya’s in what looks like an apartment, with a large window, brick walls, hardwood floors, and IKEA furniture.
Production: the usual crisp picture and sound from Natural Journeys. The camera angles are generally helpful, but the voiceover doesn’t always match up with the moves.
Equipment: sticky mat (or equivalent), with an optional blanket for savasana. Hemalaya is barefoot.
Space Requirements: enough room to lie with your arms and legs extended and some space to the sides.
DVD Notes: The DVD contains Morning Quickie, Evening Bath, and Daily Connection. The main menu asks to select the Intro; AM, PM, or Main workouts; or the Breathing (3 part, ujjai, kapalabati, or energized breathing) or Instructional tutorials (down dog, cobra, spinal twist, spinal lift = bridge, shoulder stance, reverse pose = modified shoulderstand, boat, eagle, warrior, triangle, reverse prayer, or tree). The Evening routine has six chapters, a couple of which drop you right in the middle of poses.
Conclusion: This is a nice routine, but for whatever reason I just don’t find myself reaching for it. The versatility of the DVD is nice, though. If you like this video, definitely check out Hemalaya’s Yoga for Young Bodies, which has another routine like this on it, or the spinal sequence on Shakta Mhi’s Yoga Experience.
Hemalaya has a nice voice and her own names for some poses (e.g. spinal lift for plow), and as Beth mentioned her cueing of left and right is inconsistent.
I was looking forward to trying this video--all of my other yoga tapes are by Living Arts, so I was excited about trying something different. Unfortunately, the workout was a disappointment. First of all, although instructor Hemalaya's voice is soft and pleasant, she frequently spoke in a very rote-sounding monotone, and her voiceover was often out-of-sync with her movements on screen, making the program difficult to follow. Secondly, she moves soooo slowly, from transferring pose-to-pose to holding each pose too long--the effect is boring rather than relaxing. Finally, some of the floor moves are so challenging that it was difficult to derive any relaxation benefits; after doing the workout yesterday, today I have soreness in both my upper spine and lower back. For a yoga practice that purported to soothe tension at the end of the day, this tape was a definite let-down.
Although I enjoyed instructor Hemalaya Behl in her other two videos, I find her to be too rote, monotone, and slow-moving here.