Yoga to Go #3Nancy Sutton
Year Released: 2006
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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it twice.
General workout breakdown: This 30-min. yoga practice begins seated in sukhasana (easy pose or simple cross-legged) with breathing and recentering, a kind of meditation. You remain seated in for rolling the shoulders, shaking out the legs straight in front of you, a forward bend in sukhasana, and a gentle twist; next come upper body twist with arms clasped overhead and legs extended in front, paschimottasana, cat & cow on all fours, child’s pose, sweeping arm in a circle while rocking back and forth on all fours (Shiva Rea does this move in some of her more flowing sequences), virasana (what I’m used to seeing as vajrasana), down dog (first bent knees, then walking the dog, and finally the full pose), pulsing low lunge w/ knee to ground, low lunge w/ twist, plank, cat bow, bujangasana (cobra), 1-legged down dog, uttita trikonasana (triangle), virabhdrasana II (warrior II), utanasana, utkatasana, mountain, modified or full side angle pose (i.e. plank), chaturanga, upward dog, half lotus (or sukhasana), roll down to back, reclined pigeon, twist w/ entwined bent legs, and savasana (corpse). You return to seated to close the practice.
The pace here is laidback, definitely not too fast but not too slow, either, with more than enough time to transition between poses. The savasana, like the poses, aren’t held for too terribly long, but given the short length of the practice they don’t feel rushed, either.
Level: Nancy writes that this is for the experienced beginner through intermediate yoga student, and I’d agree. She assumes you have some basic familiarity with yoga and some preexisting strength and flexibility, so there’s not enough basic form instruction for absolute beginners. But she also assumes that you’re using this as a supplement to your usual yoga class or practice, so she includes a decent amount of instruction.
Nancy provides suggestions for some modifications, both to make the practice less challenging and more challenging; she posits this practice as something for you to make your own (e.g. doing pulses in warrior II, trying a challenging version of side plank).
I’ve been practicing yoga for 7 years or so now, although I’ve never gotten past the intermediate stage (into headstands, arm balances, etc.), and I felt this was an appropriate practice for me that I could make a little stronger or gentler depending upon my needs, mood, etc.
Class: Nancy alone, with instruction via voiceover.
Music: [on my copy, at least] none, although you can hear the ocean waves in the background (as well as a few other background noises, like birds or kids).
Set: Nancy’s on a mat in the middle of Zuma Beach (in California), which is also being used by other people who are doing normal beach stuff. It’s a bright sunny day.
Production: clear picture, good sound. One camera angle is from the side, the other from the front. The camera is a little too far away for my particular tastes, but on the flip side there aren’t any extreme close-ups. Occasionally there’s an insert from the other angle. This is a low budget production, done by Nancy and her husband with their own equipment, yet because this is a labor of love by someone who’s interested in the material more than the medium it’s more user friendly than some of the big budget productions (you know, the ones where the cinematographer’s dying for an Oscar…). If you have no problem with the media released by Erich Schiffmann, Tilak Pyle, Raji Thron, etc., you’ll be fine with this.
Equipment: yoga sticky mat (or equivalent); you may also want whatever props you normally use (e.g. blanket, block).
Space Requirements: enough room to perform a full sun salutation and to lie down with arms and legs extended.
DVD Notes: This is a DVD-R. I have trouble playing this in my increasingly picky 6+-year-old Toshiba DVD player but not in my laptop or the PS2.
Please note that Nancy has tinkered with previous productions based on feedback from users, so what I write here may only apply to the batch of DVD-Rs that I have (I bought mine from Nancy’s website, http://www.nshouseofyoga.com/, in Dec. 2007).
The main menu on my DVD-R has these options: Yoga Practice (Breathing, Seated Twist, Twisted Lunge, Triangle, Side Plank, Savasana) and Pose Instruction (Twisted Lunge, Triangle, Warrior II, Side Plank, Seated Twist). After the practice Nancy appears seated on a rock in a garden to tell you that she’s happy to share the practice with you, that she’d like to hear feedback, etc.
Nancy has a pleasant, low key personality and voice. She’s focused on the practice itself, with no extraneous chatter. Nancy includes a good amount of form instruction as well as tips and reminders but doesn’t overwhelm with tons of details. She’s not afraid to show you it’s OK to fall in a tough balance pose. She cues for her right and left. She alternates between Sanskrit and English names for poses. Her language is primarily straightforward and plain.
Nancy comes to yoga from her background in healthwork: her “day job” is registered nurse. She’s studied with teachers in the Iyengar, Anusara, White Lotus (Tracy Rich & Ganga White of Total Yoga), and structural yoga therapy traditions, although she isn’t as focused on form and alignment here as you might think given her background.