Yoga Journal's: Yoga Practice for Beginners

Patricia Walden
Year Released: 2000

Categories: Yoga



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I just realized that I had never written a review for this video, which was my very first exposure to yoga. When I first decided to try yoga in 2001, there weren't nearly as many yoga options on the market as there are today. The Yoga Journal series was popular then, and so this video seemed liked a good place to start.

At the time, the thing I liked the best about it was that even though I was in my 30s, had never done yoga before, and had never been very flexible, I could do ALL of the postures. Of course, my form wasn't always perfect and I did have to modify at times, but at least I was able to approximate the basic poses, which I found very gratifying (I had feared having to twist like a pretzel and so was pleasantly surprised). Instructor Patricia Walden does use props, but I found that I could make do without or by using substitutions (e.g., a thick book instead of a yoga block).

One caution about this video is that it is long (75 minutes) and definitely moves slowly, as Patricia takes quite a bit of time for instruction in-between each posture. Because of this, it's probably best viewed as an instructional video rather than a flowing yoga practice (although it does offer a complete range of postures). I also found Patricia's instruction style to be rather dry (although I didn't find her condescending as some other VFers have mentioned). Once I became more familiar with the postures, I usually fast-forward past Patricia's instruction, and eventually, as I progressed further, I got rid of this video altogether. Although there are many more options for those new to yoga available today, I still think this is a solid foundation that can serve as a good place to begin for many. Obviously, though, not everyone has clicked with this video, so be sure to research your options before deciding that this is for you.

Instructor Comments:
Patricia is obviously an extremely competent Iyengar-trained yoga instructor, but as mentioned, I found her to be a bit dry here.

Beth C (aka toaster)

03/27/2007

I have been wanting to post about this for ages. Years ago, I had done a few yoga classes when I decided to try Patricia Walden's so-called "Yoga for Beginners". AAAACCCCCKK!!! PTOOOOOEEEYYYY!!! Beginners - my butt! It was hard and awful and she bends like a pretzel and seems so smug. I swear, that one video put me off trying yoga again for years and years.

Thankfully, I finally decided to try a yoga video again. Yoga Zone's "Conditioning & Stess Release" with Alan Finger. It felt wonderful and I loved his voice. Since then, I have tried many instructors that I had avoided. I visited the Yoga Cross-Trainers check-in (a hotbed of enablers!!! ). I've found that I like Shiva, Erich, Eion, etc. And only recently even saw videos by Bryan and Baron. I like them, too!

All these years, I could have been enjoying yoga and these fine and diverse instructors. I might even have gotten past the beginner stage by now.

I can never forgive Patricia Walden. (And I know I'm not the only one!!!)

Instructor Comments:
Patricia Walden almost ruined my life!

Alta

08/02/2004

Although I've had this workout on video for years, I recently bought the DVD, and re-discovered it. There are 2 workouts on the DVD; the video has only one 75 minute workout. The workout that is on both the video and the DVD consists of a little over one hour of various basic yoga poses, done at a beginner to intermediate level. Poses include mountain, triangle, bent-knee triangle, proud warrier, standing forward bend with legs apart, seated poses included staff pose, seated forward bends, seated spinal twists, and others that are done near a wall. There is a relaxation section at the end, with chest openers, where you lie on a bolster. It is a very relaxing workout, although it seems a bit long. The poses were not held too long; for a few breaths at most. I am fairly flexible and felt some stretching benefit, and my husband, who is not as flexible, felt it was challenging. There is a good deal of instruction regarding the poses, but not enough for someone who has no background in yoga at all.

The photography was gorgeous. It was filmed on the island of Maui, in Hawaii. There is nice, delicate yoga chiming music in the background, which enhanced the enjoyment factor.

There is also a section on the DVD where Patricia Walden teaches a class with a group of participants. I found that she went into much more detail in her instructions in this section.

The DVD includes an interview with P. Walden, and an option to choose individual poses. I think it is chaptered very well.

This workout is not suitable for the advanced yoga student, but everyone else would benefit from using it. It is very well-produced. I'd give it an A.

Instructor Comments:
I really like Patricia Walden in this workout. She has a very nice, pleasant, calming voice. She is a "mature" woman, agewise, and is in very good physical shape, with remarkable flexibility and grace (for any age).

Abbe

02/23/2003

Though this video progresses almost maddeningly slowly, the instructions are the most detailed that I have seen in any other video. Though I have done more advanced poses, all her explanations somehow made the easy ones kind of tricky. When I finished I felt fantastic, even though I didn't sense that I had really "worked out" that hard.

It was a great video for practicing jumping from pose to pose and getting a sense for how different types of poses affect the body.

It also convinced me that the other aspect of yoga--relaxation and mind/body connection--IS very worthwhile. I usually fake it through the last mediation sequence, but with hers my mind really did go to another place.

I would have found all the props she uses in the video defeating if I were just starting out and unsure if I wanted to invest in any equipment. I was glad that I had started with Wai Lana's Easy Series since that catered to my impatience to get started.

Instructor Comments:
Very thorough and precise

ariel jensen-vargas

09/25/2002

Yoga for Beginners was a launching board for me. I used the tape every day for a week, and then sporadically after that. After a while I just practised on my own. However I kept wanting to return to the tape and listen to it carefully, because I remembered that Patricia Walden had provided plenty of details that I was sure I was forgetting, especially in Mountain pose.

Recently I have been using Yoga Mind and Body (MacGraw/Schiffman) a lot. I like it, but I still felt that I could be doing the poses better. Then I moved on to Linda Arkin's Yoga for Strength which was tough for me. I was so exhausted the next day that I thought, "This is the perfect time to go back to that Yoga for Beginners tape... I'm too tired to do much anyway."

I am so glad I did. The review of the poses in "beginner's detail" was exactly what I needed. Reviewing the concept of "grounding through the floor", especially in Mountain pose and Staff pose, changed most of my poses for the better. My seated twist is seriously improved, I can feel the difference. And the rest of the standing poses (triangle, warrior, etc etc) are much better because I am grounding through my legs into the floor, pressing into the floor. And just like she says on the tape, my back releases more.

So, I'll fast forward through whatever I don't want to review-- or maybe I'll just take that time to work on Mountain pose some more. Yeah, it's a simple pose, but the beauty is in the details, the balance-- and I still need to get my shoulder blades a little lower and closer to center, and I can always extend my spine just a little bit more...

Bottom line is, I'm planning on keeping my "Yoga for Beginners" tape no matter how many others I collect. And I've already got two more by Patricia Walden. Not that she's my hero (Jesus is) but her careful, thorough instructions sure improve my stretching.

Instructor Comments:
Patricia Walden is careful and thorough, and extremely detailed. I appreciate the level of detail with which she describes each pose. My poses improve each time I return to her "beginner's level" instructions.

Helen Wright

03/27/1999

Yoga for Beginners was a launching board for me. I used the tape every day for a week, and then sporadically after that. After a while I just practised on my own. However I kept wanting to return to the tape and listen to it carefully, because I remembered that Patricia Walden had provided plenty of details that I was sure I was forgetting, especially in Mountain pose.

Recently I have been using Yoga Mind and Body (MacGraw/Schiffman) a lot. I like it, but I still felt that I could be doing the poses better. Then I moved on to Linda Arkin's Yoga for Strength which was tough for me. I was so exhausted the next day that I thought, "This is the perfect time to go back to that Yoga for Beginners tape... I'm too tired to do much anyway."

I am so glad I did. The review of the poses in "beginner's detail" was exactly what I needed. Reviewing the concept of "grounding through the floor", especially in Mountain pose and Staff pose, changed most of my poses for the better. My seated twist is seriously improved, I can feel the difference. And the rest of the standing poses (triangle, warrior, etc etc) are much better because I am grounding through my legs into the floor, pressing into the floor. And just like she says on the tape, my back releases more.

So, I'll fast forward through whatever I don't want to review-- or maybe I'll just take that time to work on Mountain pose some more. Yeah, it's a simple pose, but the beauty is in the details, the balance-- and I still need to get my shoulder blades a little lower and closer to center, and I can always extend my spine just a little bit more...

Bottom line is, I'm planning on keeping my "Yoga for Beginners" tape no matter how many others I collect. And I've already got two more by Patricia Walden. Not that she's my hero (Jesus is) but her careful, thorough instructions sure improve my stretching.

Instructor Comments:
Patricia Walden is careful and thorough, and extremely detailed. I appreciate the level of detail with which she describes each pose. My poses improve each time I return to her "beginner's level" instructions.

Helen Wright

03/27/1999

I have to voice a different opinion on this tape. To give you some background: I am a Thai woman and an intermediate exerciser. Although I am an Asian, Iím never interested in Yoga before and have zero experience in Yoga practice. I order this tape because of the good reviews. I will begin with the good side of the tapes. I think the instruction is clear. But since I have no other Yoga tapes, I canít compare. I welcome the modification and the use of props, although I find that I donít have to use any. It may be useful if I "play" Yoga with my children. Now for the thing I donít like about this tape. I think this tape is not the workout tape proper. It is rather an instruction/demonstration tape. I have to ff all the time to work out with it. After only 7-8 times, I think I memorize all the cueing and the pose, I stop using this tape at all and do the poses by my own. Even as a demonstration tape, I canít see any reasons or senses whatsoever behind the sequencing of the poses. For example, you do the full Proud Warrior and then why do you have to do the modified version of this pose again? After explaining the Mountain Pose for a very long time, when you come to this pose again, you have to stop and listen to her talking about this pose once more. The instructor doesnít hold any pose long enough to challenge you. And I donít think she hold it equally for the left and right side. If she shows the modified and full version at the same time, this tape can include many more poses. There is no Sun Salutation as far as I know. No backbend either. And why doesnít she just hold the pose longer and during that time she can preach about the benefit of Yoga as much as she likes? Maybe this tape came out when Yoga was not popular as present. So it is dated and so boring. I still canít see why Collage rate this as intermediate. But again I canít compare. If you want to learn Yoga, I think there are many new tapes out there now. If you want to try this tape, beware of its instructional format. This is definitely not a workout tape, IMHO.

Instructor Comments:
I have nothing for or against her. What I donít like is the tape format, not the instructor. But Iím afraid I will be reluctant to buy any tapes from her or the Yoga Journalís again.

pakavadi

10/21/1998

I was surprised I could do this video, because Collage Video had rated it "intermediate," although the title is "Yoga for Beginners." I've always stretched a lot, so I guess that's why the video was the right level for me. (In the past I tried Jane Fonda's yoga workout, and the back stretching and quickness of her movements made me think I couldn't handle an "intermediate" yoga video. I love doing "Yoga for Beginners." The movements are easy to follow, and Patricia Walden cues them perfectly. The video begins with "warmup" sitting poses, then advances to active standing poses. Finally, there are inverted poses to cool down, and then a relaxation segment that is the best I've ever had (including in a psychologist's office!). After the video I feel not only refreshed and calm, but I walk taller and feel more confident about my body. All in all, I would recommend this video to anyone interested in trying yoga out.

Instructor Comments:
Patricia Walden appears to be an expert in yoga. She explains correct form and posture in a quietly effective manner, and seems so at peace with herself that I drift into a peaceful frame of mind just watching and listening to her, much less doing the actual movements.

Lilly Anderson

11/20/1997

Lisa has already given a detailed description of the tape so I will just make additional comments.

This is a great tape if you are just beginning to practice yoga as it moves slowly, and gives you modifications and instruction on the use of props. The beginners guide that is included is very helpful, and includes a video log where you can note your VCR counter number to easily find the poses you would like to practice more often.

If you are not flexible, I would advise using blocks (or the equivalent) so that you can concentrate on proper body alignment for the standing poses. I am not flexible so I found that I had to modify nearly all of these poses. I also used a towel (instead of a belt) for the sitting forward bend.

Patricia Walden has a soothing voice and her cuing helps you concentrate on your body position and helps to make you aware of areas of body tension. This tape is an excellent resource to have even after you have moved onto more difficult tapes. It is also good for days when you want to do a tape that has a good variety of poses.

Laura Harper

08/21/1997

The instruction is very clear and understandable. The tape offers modifications which are probably necessary if you've never done yoga before or if you aren't as flexible as a pretzel. The poses on this tape set out some of the basic yoga postures, with the sun saluation, the dog poses, and the mountain pose among others. I have had this tape for about two years and rarely use it. The tape takes a very long time to complete (it runs 75 minutes) and I get antsy doing it after 40 minutes. I think you have to have a strong interest in learning more about yoga or have the patience to complete the tape.

Instructor Comments:
Patricia Walden does an excellent job of teaching the poses for this video seris.

Margaret

05/02/1997

Practice for Beginners with Patricia Walden Practice for Beginners with Patricia Walden

Yoga Journal's Yoga for Beginners is 62 minutes long and takes you through seated poses, standing poses, forward bends, and inverted poses, for a total of 23 poses (I think). The tape also comes with a beginners guide that has pictures of many of the poses demonstrated on the tape in case you wanted to practice some poses without popping the tape in the VCR.

I highly recommend getting a non-slip mat if you don't have a non-slip surface to work on. I only have carpeted floors and felt myself sliding around a lot (the instructor didn't wear shoes, so I didn't either; they'd get in the way anyway).

The tape starts with sitting poses and gets you to really relax and concentrate on sitting on your "sitting bones". Posture is a big focus throughout the entire workout. You move into standing poses and learn the Mountain Pose which seems to be the pose that you come back to and start with for all of the standing poses as a posture check. It's basically standing straight with everything in alignment with hands at your sides. To go into the various standing poses like Triangle Pose , or Proud Warrior you jump from Mountain Pose to a wider stance. If this is hard on your knees you can just walk your legs apart. Forward bends and inversions come next and they are easy to do with the cueing and you really feel your muscles working. I never knew the workout AND raleaxation that I could get from yoga. (It is recommended in the guide that inverted poses not be done if you are menstruating.)

Patricia Walden does a good job of cuing while also remaining soothing. Her flexibility is encouraging and motivating.

The following is a list of all of the poses demostrated in this tape (for those that are familiar with yoga terminology):

Simple Sitting Pose, Child's Pose, Downward Facing Dog Pose #1, Mount Pose #1, Triangle Pose #1, Mountain Pose #2, Triangle Pose #2, Side Stretch #1,Side Stretch #2, Standing Forward Bend #1, Proud Warrior #1, Standing Forward Bend #2, Proud Warrioir #2, Extended Leg Pose #1/#2, Standing Forward Bend #3, Downward Facing Dog Pose #2/#3, Staff Pose, Sitting Forward Bend, Cobbler's Pose, Supported Shoulderstand (not standing on your shoulders, you lie on your back and put feet up against the wall with your hips elevated on a towel or blanket, Relaxation Pose.

I definitely recommend including this tape into your workout plan - It's great for beginners. I had never done yoga before this and feel that after a few times I could move on to a more advanced tape. My muscles were warmer than I expected them to be while doing it but it was very calming. Sometimes I do this on active rest days, when I want to do something but not anything very strenuous like (FIRM or Cathe)

Tool that I found useful: towel, thick phonebook or dictionary (they have yoga blocks that you can purchase but these work well to for some of the poses if you are less flexible - like in the beginning)\ non slip surface).

Grade: A

Lisa Herzog

04/18/1997

After reading many reviews about "is this tape for beginners" or not, I'd really like to make one comment: I think that all the rest of Yoga Journal's series (and the Living Arts series too) assume that if you have not taken yoga classes, then you have done this "Yoga Journal's: Yoga Practice For Beginners" tape. And rightly so. I personally think that all the rest of the "beginners" tapes should be renamed "for Advanced Beginners; beginners return to beginner's tape", but that would be bad for sales.

I would encourage everybody that hasn't had yoga classes to get the "Yoga Practice for Beginners" tape first, and work with it for several months. I used this tape for six months before I moved on to another one, and I'd recommend that to anybody.

I personally think that doing yoga (pardon me) "Rodney-style", meaning fast-paced vinyasas, without having a good detail-oriented grounding in "Patricia-style" yoga is cheating yourself out of all that spine-stretching and chest-opening, and selling yourself short. Don't get me wrong, I love Rodney's tapes; I use them very often. But I consistently return to Patricia's detailed instructions to refine my poses. I love Rodney's flowing choreography; but with Patricia, I get those wonderful moments of triumph: "I've never done this pose with my spine so extended before! Ever!" Those moments are very rewarding.

So-- I alternate between Rodney and Patricia, which is probably what the producers intended in the first place. And I'm definitely not knocking Rodney's tapes. But I would encourage those reading these reviews and considering Yoga: If you are a beginner, then start with the beginner's tape and learn how to do it right.

Instructor Comments:
Excellent: detail-oriented, thorough, and precise. Very consistent about stretching the spine and opening the chest.

Helen Wright

(no date)