Yoga From the Heart

Seane Corn
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Yoga

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"Yoga from the Heart" is part of Yoga Journal's Great Instructors series, a series of DVDs filmed at the annual Yoga Journal Conference in San Francisco. It features Seane Corn, a nationally known vinyasa yoga instructor whose teachings focus on both the physical and the spiritual aspects of the yoga practice. Here she presents a 90-minute vinyasa class which combines demanding vinyasa sequences, detailed alignment instruction, and frequent references to spirituality in the form of God, love for self, and love for others. As she guides her students through the practice, Seane frequently asks the participants to set an intent, constantly bringing an element of meaning to the practice. She sometimes performs the poses herself, sometimes walks around the class providing adjustments (along with an assistant); there is also a "yoga demonstrator" at the head of the class for reference.

This DVD is well-chaptered, and the introduction suggests that each chapter can stand alone as a shorter practice if necessary. The chapters are as listed below; I have added in approximate times as well as brief descriptive information.

Surya Namaskar A (11m)--Seane opens with a dedication and a discussion of the world around us; the sun salutation flow begins in down dog and includes some longer holds of this posture.
Surya Namaskar B (14m)--Seane stresses the importance of building postures "from the ground up"; the last round of each sun salutation segment are performed at your own pace.
Standing Poses (8m)--This segment has a strong shoulder emphasis and includes warrior 1, wide-legged forward bend with eagle arms, and finishes with a side stretch.
Shoulder Openers (4m)--Additional shoulder work with side plank and dolphin variations.
Spine Openers (10m)--This twisting segment includes wide legged standing forward bend with twist, intense side stretch, revolved triangle, and revolved crescent pose.
Hip Openers (9m)--Standing hip work includes warrior 2, side angle, and wide legged standing forward bend.
Back Openers (9m)--Starts with camel (3x) and then moves to the floor for either bridge or wheel (3x).
Final Relaxation (10m)--Poses include reclined twist, dead bug, dead pigeon (aka thread the needle), cobbler's pose (held for some time while Seane talks), and full seated forward bend.
Meditation (10m)--Here the class remains seated while Seane continues to discuss various spiritual-type issues; ends with a short (4m) savasana. Following this, the DVD moves right on to the Guided Medication described below, so you can seamlessly continue if desired.

The Main Menu on the DVD lists a Play All option, an Introduction, Chapters, and Special Features. The Special Features include the following: Introduction to Body Prayer (23m), Guided Meditation (9m), Interview with Seane (10m), and Yoga Journal advertisements. The Body Prayer segment consists of Seane further discussing the mind-body connection, offering a brief demonstration, and then finishing with a musician who provides a singing meditation; the Guided Meditation is similar but with the entire segment being a singing meditation. Finally, in the Interview, Seane talks about how she came to yoga in 1987 at the age of 17 and how her yoga practice gradually came to permeate every aspect of her life.

Overall, this is a challenging vinyasa practice that is probably best suited for experienced yoga students. Seane does show some modifications, and she frequently encourages the participants to modify as appropriate for their own needs. However, the class is quite vigorous, and it demands both strength and stamina. This DVD is likely to appeal to those who enjoy the vinyasa style and who prefer to practice with a deep emphasis on meaning and intention.

Instructor Comments:
Seane seems like a genuine, caring person; I know that she is active in many charities. She offers some nice, unique form pointers here and there that helped me to "get" a few of the poses a little better. Although I wasn't offended by her spiritual talk, there was just too much of it for my liking, and I actually found some of it rather depressing (ie, talking about all the negative things in the world, such as hate and homelessness).

Beth C (aka toaster)