Yoga for Urban Living: Morning QuickieHemalayaa Behl
Year Released: 2003
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This video delivers what it promises: it provides an energizing yoga practice to wake you up in the morning or to refresh you at any time of the day. The workout begins with gentle, non-yoga stretches focused on increasing the blood flow to various parts of the body. Instructor Hemalaya also incorporates a few exercises not generally found on other yoga tapes: she engages in both brief chanting and "energized breathing." The main section of this practice consists of a series of sun salutations; each series becomes a bit more challenging, eventually incorporating standing poses. The practice ends with a relaxation which includes a few additional "omm" chants.
The music on this video is quiet and pleasant with sort of a tribal theme (similar to Minna Lessig's "Strength and Grace"), and the studio setting is designed to look like a comfy loft apartment. Despite some minor instructional flaws, this is an enjoyable yoga practice which provides a nice change from some of the other available videos.
Hemalaya has a pleasant voice and offers good general instruction, but there are two main problems with her cuing: 1) her voice over instructions are often out of sync with her camera performance of the poses, and 2) when she cues right and left, she is inconsistent about using mirrored instructions.
Iím reviewing this workout after doing it a couple of times in the year and a half or so Iíve had it.
General workout breakdown: This yoga workout lasts about 30 minutes. Hemalaya begins with chanting Om in seated position, with some gentle stretches and breathing exercisers, before gradually moving up to standing with moves meant to invigorate. She then proceeds through a few rounds of sun salutations with some other standing poses, like side angle, before moving back to the mat for seated twists, a very short savasana, and some final Oms. Hemalaya moves deliberately through the postures rather than rushing them.
Level: Iíd recommend this to an experienced beginner (with some strength and flexibility) through a low intermediate in yoga, since Hemalaya doesnít 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: upbeat instrumental music; I agree with Beth that itís kind of tribal.
Set: Hemalayaís 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 doesnít always match up with the moves.
Equipment: sticky mat (or equivalent). 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 Quickie routine has seven 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 donít find myself reaching for it. The versatility of the DVD is nice, though. If you like this video, definitely check out Hemalayaís Yoga for Young Bodies, which has another routine like this on it.
Hemalaya has a nice voice and her own names for poses (e.g. plow for lunge and triangle for side angle), and as Beth mentioned her cueing of left and right is inconsistent.
I liked this morning practice. The only downside to it, is that she calls postures different names than I am used to from yoga classes and dvds I have done previously. Also the cueing is off from the video.
I felt like it was a good practice to get going in the morning, I felt nice and stretched out, but didn't feel like it was too vigorous.
I really like her. she has a calm voice and mannerism.