Yoga Tune Up: Hips - Pelvic PrimerJill Miller
Year Released: 2006
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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it once.
General workout breakdown: See Cyana’s excellent description.
This workshop / class-like practice works well as a stand alone or as preparation before another practice (focusing on standing, seated, or supine poses).
In comparison to Jill’s Hips – Basic Moves, Pelvic Primer focuses on the SI joint and the area of the pelvis, with some toning but perhaps a little more time unwinding and undoing of tension and stuck spots. I found PP “easier,” in that it wasn’t as strenuous and tiring, with more time relaxing the muscles, but it’s probably not exactly what you’d want if you’re thinking of doing something gentle. Still, you’ll get some great hip opening and even some release in the lower back if you’re willing to work through this one.
Level: I’d recommend this to experienced yoga practitioners, although you don’t have to be particularly advanced. Even though this is in some sense an instructional video, Jill assumes you are already familiar with the basics. She provides only a few modifications, mainly for those with a little less flexibility. I’ve been practicing yoga for about 8 years now, and I find Jill’s practices challenging, particularly since I’m still working on strength and especially flexibility (although she’s the first to admit that her level of flexibility is definitely above average). Also, I always feel like I get a lot out of Jill’s videos, both physically and intellectually.
Class: Jill alone, instructing live.
Set: a bright, rather plain interior studio.
Production: decently clear picture and sound, fairly straightforward camera angles, although the zooming in and out isn’t as smooth as a professional production. Jill’s not wearing a microphone and just speaking loudly so the camera picks her up. You can hear muffled voices from what must be a reception desk on the other side of the frosted glass window and see people moving around.
Equipment: a yoga mat (or equivalent), a block, and perhaps also a strap (or tie, dressing gown belt, etc.). You’ll also need access to a wall, but you don’t need much space, just enough to press your feet against as you’re lying down.
Space Requirements: enough room to move your limbs around comfortably. If you can stand with your legs out very wide and lie down comfortably, you’re fine.
DVD Notes: This is a DVD-R, which I have trouble playing on my increasingly picky regular DVD player (6+-year-old Toshiba); I had trouble with it in my usually not-so-picky former laptop, too, but I have had better luck with my newer one as well as the PS2 for others in this series. Unfortunately, my copy of this particularly seems to be dead (or at least mostly dead, since I can only play about half before the player goes on strike) – boo!
Each exercise is chaptered separately, and sides are chaptered separately, too.
Comments: This particular video is no longer listed on Jill’s older site, jillmilleryoga.com, but you may still find copies floating around on the exchange. Many of the exercises appear in Jill’s more recent productions, specifically Yoga Link (in particular Hip Helpers), Quickfix Rx (in particular the two hips segments), and Post Athletic Stretch.
I have no real hip (or other lower body and wrist) issues; I use Jill’s hip segments from time to time to help work through some stiffness in my hips, and I always feel I should do her stuff more often to increase my rather limited range of motion there. As always if you do have issues or concerns it’s worth consulting with your regular medical provider and/or a qualified yoga teacher experienced in therapeutic work.
Jill brings a real intelligence to her instruction; not only is it clear that she has spent a lot of time studying yoga, anatomy, etc., but she has a great awareness and intuitive sense of how the body moves. I love that she never talks down to you (e.g. she uses the full scientific names for muscles and other body parts rather than making up cutesy ones), yet she’s obviously not showing off or purposefully trying to go over your head. You can feel her excitement and enthusiasm for sharing her knowledge; she wants you to learn and benefit from the practice as she has. Also, Jill’s style of yoga is unlike the others I’ve experienced, yet she seems to have a deep appreciation for the traditions of yoga, so you never feel like she’s putting her own stamp on things just for the sake of doing something different.
I really like her on screen personality. Her sense of humor is a little quirky, but it’s not really out there, and it’s right up my alley. Her language is straightforward and plain, peppered with conversational and colloquial phrases rather than flowery or mystical sayings. Her “real world” visuals make a lot of sense, like the “boa constrictor” cyana mentions. (In other words, I feel like I’m interacting with a real person who practices yoga, not someone assuming her role as “yoga teacher extraordinaire.”)
Jill’s instruction and cuing are excellent. She describes things well, giving you truly helpful tips and some quick demos of what not to do.
Production: Jill's voice is somewhat echo-y. At times, you can hear people talking in the background.
Intro: Jill begins by discussing the purpose of the DVD. I like to think of this session as having my own focused, instructor-led yoga workshop.
Practice: Sacroiliac Warm Up 1, focusing on the lower spine and pelvis. Assume tabletop position with one knee on a yoga block. Generating the movement from the hip of the opposite leg, the knee lifts up and down (providing internal and external hip rotation).
Sacroiliac Warm Up 2 - Same position as above, this time performing a cycling motion with the opposite leg, the spine undulating throughout the movement cycle. This is performed with a forward motion, and repeated with a backward movement. Rest in extended child's post after each side is worked.
Prasarita variation - (wide legged forward bend). Standing with knees bent, bend over until palms are flat on floor (can use block if hamstrings are tight). Shift side to side, then repeat movement with straight legs.
Pelvic stretches - Apanasana/half happy baby. Lie on floor with left foot against wall. Bend right leg up to chest and hold (can use strap if needed). Then, grasp right foot and lift torso up to thigh. Using the same basic position, bring leg back up and more out to the side, holding foot. Jill uses a kitchen timer, and has you hold each pose for 2 minutes. Switch sides. She also suggests repeating the series with a block under the hips.
Moving Garudasana - eagle pose variation is done while lying supine. The legs are lifted off the floor, and wrap around each other, just as you'd do in Eagle pose (multiple repetitions). I think of this as doing "leg pretzels".
Garudasana - done in supine position. Jill describes the move as wrapping your legs around each other as though they were "boa constrictors".
Urdhva upavistha konasana (upward facing wide angle pose)
Comments: The DVD is 27 minutes in length. It isn't formally chaptered on the menu, but you can skip forward from pose to pose. If production values are of utmost importance, you may not be happy with this series. Having said that, I've enjoyed these focused lessons, and have no regrets about making the purchase.
Jill comes across as being warm and light-hearted (but not over the top). She demonstrates good form and discusses the use of props for those who require modifications.