Yoga on Demand

Erin Pillman
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Yoga

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Iím reviewing this workout after doing the full workout twice and the short one once.

General workout breakdown: See Beth (toaster)ís review.

Level: Iíd recommend this to a regular exerciser with previous yoga experience. This is best suited to someone practicing yoga at the experienced beginner or beginner / intermediate level, i.e. someone who feels comfortable with the usual postures found in sun salutations and ending floor series as well as asanas like shoulderstand and plow. The bonus poses are more int. or even int. / adv. in nature, and some (like headstand) are best learned from live instruction rather than a quick demo on a video.

Class: 1 woman accompanies Erin, who instructs via voiceover. The other woman sometimes shows variations, a few of which are less challenging and a few of which are more challenging. (Erin commits one of my pet peeves about modifiers: she just mentions that her friend is doing modifications without explaining whatís being modified and why.)

Music: instrumental, kind of upbeat. (Itís kind of what you might expect to hear in the elevator at a spa.)

Set: interior space with neutral walls and floors, decorated with a few potted plants, (unlit) candles, tall vases, and pillows in rich fabrics.

Production: clear picture and sound without any crazy camera angles. The voiceover matches up well with the action, and Erinís voice is clearly heard over the music.

Equipment: yoga sticky mat (or equivalent).

Space Requirements: enough room to do full sun salutation and to lie down with arms and legs extended / do a plow pose.

DVD Notes: The main menu offers these options: Introduction (2 min.), 30 Minutes Yoga Practice, Complete Yoga Practice, Bonus Poses (5 min.; includes crow, headstand, side crow, pigeon, and wheel), and Testimonials (2.5 min.; two of Erinís students/friends talk about what yoga means to them and why they like Erin as a yoga teacher).
There are no chapters within the practices themselves.

Comments: If you feel like youíre trying too many yoga DVDs with lightning fast pace, this might be a good alternative. The slower pace does not mean everyone will find this particularly gentle and relaxing, however, although more intermediate yogis might find it so. Standing in tree pose for that long can be surprisingly challenging, even for someone like me who has been practicing yoga for a while!

Instructor Comments:
Erinís instruction is pretty much limited to cuing the poses and maybe including a few form pointers; at times she also includes reminders to be grateful for what you have and little life lessons like how learning to breathe in hard poses helps you not hold your breath in difficult situations. I usually appreciate having insightful form pointers and alignment tips included, especially in videos with long holds, but that sort of thing may overwhelm others or not be what theyíre looking for; if youíre in the latter camp, Erinís your teacher. What I actually missed more in this specific video was clearer cuing for those moments when I couldnít look at the screen (I found myself looking up at the TV more than I expected with such a straightforward practice) as well as suggestions of variations (Erin talked quite a bit about listening to your body, trying out different variations, yet she didnít offer much in the way of guidance there). She has a pleasant voice, although she may try a touch too hard to make it even more soothing. (I felt she was a little forced at times in the way she lengthened her words and pauses; I just wanted her to relax and be herself, not try to live up to her ideal of a ďyoga teacher voice.Ē) She comes off as young; on the flip side, she has a youthful optimism about yogaís accessibility and enthusiasm for spreading her love of yoga. Erin alternates between using Sanskrit and English names for poses; she also includes a sung mantra in Sanskrit during the full practice savasana and a final chanted Om. She does not mirror cue (i.e. she refers to her right and left).



Yoga on Demand offers two very nice practices appropriate for those with some prior yoga experience. Instructor Erin Pillman leads a single background exerciser through a slow-flowing series of poses, with a strong emphasis on breath and longer holds of the postures. The main DVD menu offers the following options:

Introduction [Erin providing a brief overview of the video]
30 Minutes Yoga Practice
Complete Yoga Practice [52 minutes]
Bonus Yoga Poses [5 minutes; additional instruction for five more advanced poses: crow, headstand, side crow, full pigeon, and wheel]
Testimonials [commentary by yoga students]

The 30 Minutes Practice begins with 4 minutes of breathing and centering and then moves into a slow lunge salutation series. Next, Erin does a long hold of tree pose (about 6 breaths per side) before moving to a seated position, where she performs cow pose, first with a twist, then with the full arm posture. A reclined series follows, with plow pose, knee-to-ears postures, shoulderstand, and fish pose. The final posture is boat performed with breath of fire (little instruction is given). There is a 2 1/2 minute savasana and then 3 1/2 minutes of seated breathing with a final OM-Shanti-Shanti to end the practice.

The full practice begins seated with a pranayama exercise alternate nostril breathing. Here Erin performs two slow lunge salutation series, adding lizard pose (lunge with forearms on the floor to stretch the hip flexor) to the first series and warrior 1, warrior 2, wide angle forward bend, and pyramid pose to the second series. This segment concludes with 3-legged down dog. As with the shorter practice, Erin again does a long hold of tree poses, this time holding the posture for about 12 breaths per side, and she finishes the standing postures with a side stretch. Moving to the floor, Erin performs plow, knees-to-ears posture, and shoulder stand, and then additional reclined postures include a cross leg twist and thread the needle. After rocking/circling the knees, Erin comes to a seated position for a forward bend in cobbler's pose and then a full seated forward bend. She then performs some brief abs work with a bicycle move before coming into a long savasana. The approximately 8-minute relaxation segment includes singing, which I presume is performed by Erin herself; I found her voice very soothing and relaxing. She concludes the practice with a 2-minute seated meditation and a final OM.

I was pleasantly surprised by this DVD. Both practices are very well-done, and I enjoyed the slower pace. On the other hand, I also liked the challenge of the longer holds and the inverted postures, both of which I think make this DVD a bit beyond the true beginner level. Furthermore, Erin does not provide detailed information on form, so prior yoga experience is really a must. That being said, I think most yogis who are at an advanced beginner to intermediate level would enjoy these practices.

Instructor Comments:
Erin instructs using a mix of live instruction and voiceover. She appears young and seems somewhat inexperienced, but I thought she did a fine job in her cueing of both practices.

Beth C (aka toaster)


I bought this dvd after someone mentioned liking it in one of the general discussion threads. The description of it (on the back) made it sound ok for beginners. I disagree! well, ok, in the 30 minute workout I disagree after the first 20 minutes!

I've only watched the 30 minute practice and briefly forwarded throught the bonus poses. I didn't watch much of the full practice so can't comment on it.

First of all, I can see how someone who's familiar with some basic poses and knows some modifications would really enjoy this practice. Her voice is very soothing, the music is fairly quiet, the setting is inside with a few plants and some pillows/candles to create the atmosphere. one other lady practices along with her. No mindless chatter and just basic instruction is given. also the poses are done slowly and held a while; no rushed feeling. there is an approximately 4 min segment of breathing at the beginning and nead the end.(breath of fire). In the 30 min practice arms are brought overhead and lean back then go into forward bend. right leg back and knee to floor and arms overhead (low lunge) then step back to plank then knees to floor and chest to floor and up to cobra. then downdog then repeat on other side. these are nice and slow and held for a while. ends with a forward bend with hands clasped and arms overhead behind then wrapped around knees. this first 10 minutes looks very nice; like slow sun salutations. at the approx 10 minute 'mark' you do tree and it's done on both sides for about 6 minutes or so. at the 19 minute mark is when I feel the practice is no longer beginner; at least not for someone inflexible and/or older! she goes into plough which is where you're on you're back and you bring the legs up and over the head to touch the floor behind you. no modification is shown and this woman and the one with her are extremely flexible. I think this and the next pose, shoulder stand could be dangerous to an absolute beginner but that's just my opinion. I think I'll do the first 20 min and see if I can find a modification for the last 2 poses; perhaps use a wall or something or have a couch or something to rest my feet on for plough. after these you do boat pose where she does the rapid breathing that she calls breath of fire. then it's savasana(relaxation) for a few minutes then some seated meditation.

if you're adventurous enough to try some of the more advanced poses she does them slowly but no way would I try any of those except for maybe pigeon and wheel(can't do wheel yet but know a modification). the poses are crow, headstand, side crow, pigeon and variations, wheel.

I didn't watch the full practice except for the beginning and she did breath of fire at the beginning of it.

Like I said, the first 20 min looked do-able but I'm not sure about that plough and shoulder stand for my level but she does go slowly and nothing is rushed.

Instructor Comments:
nice voice. doesn't look like the lady on the cover though. young looking.