Yoga Tune Up: Triangle Tune UpJill Miller
Year Released: 2006
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Iím reviewing this workout after doing it once.
General workout breakdown: See Bethís great review.
This lesson definitely can count as your yoga practice for the day, although you could also use it as a departure point for a standing poses practice.
Level: Iíd recommend this to experienced yoga practitioners, but you donít 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 a few modifications, mainly for those with a little less flexibility. Iíve been practicing yoga for about 8 years now, and I find Jillís practices challenging, particularly since Iím still working on strength and especially flexibility (although sheís the first to admit that her level of flexibility is definitely above average). Also, I always feel like I get a lot out of Jillís videos, both physically and intellectually.
Class: Jill alone, instructing live.
Set: a bright, rather plain interior studio; Jillís in front of a green curtain.
Production: decently clear picture and sound, fairly straightforward camera angles, although the zooming in and out isnít as smooth as a professional production. Jillís not wearing a microphone and just speaking loudly so the camera picks her up. Youíll hear some muted outside noise (it sounds like an airplane or two passes by at one point).
Equipment: Youíll need a yoga mat (preferably sticky so your block wonít slide) and at least one block. If youíre not particularly flexible, youíll need three blocks Ė or perhaps two milk crates or chairs.
Space Requirements: enough room when you lie down to extend your legs all the way out to one side and then the other and enough room when youíre standing to have your legs wide.
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 better luck with my newer one as well as the PS2. Because of this, I donít use this series as often as Iíd like.
Each exercise is chaptered separately.
Comments: This particular video is no longer listed on Jillís older site, jillmilleryoga.com, but you may still find copies floating around on the exchange. Many of the exercises appear scattered throughout Jillís more recent productions, specifically Yoga Link (in particular Hip Helpers) and Post Athletic Stretch, but none of her current media exactly replicates this experience of working specifically up to a pinnacle pose or set of poses. I know Jillís found her niche in therapeutic yoga Ė and I donít want to see her give that up Ė but Iíd love for one of her future DVDs to remake this and add a few other similar practices that break down and work through other common poses that deserve a closer look (although she does some similar work with cowís face in Shoulder Shakti and Quickfix Rx, for example). This sort of thing is a great supplement to classes Ė or (almost) replacement if you donít have the access to live classes youíd like.
I have no real hip issues or other joint issues; I use Jillís 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 itís 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 sheís 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, Jillís style of yoga is unlike the others Iíve experienced, yet she seems to have a deep appreciation for the traditions of yoga, so you never feel like sheís 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 itís not really out there, and itís right up my alley. Her language is straightforward and plain, peppered with conversational and colloquial phrases rather than flowery or mystical sayings. Her ďreal worldĒ visuals make a lot of sense; for example, she says one action resembles a wingnut. (In other words, I feel like Iím interacting with a real person who practices yoga, not someone assuming her role as ďyoga teacher extraordinaire.Ē)
Jillís instruction and cuing are excellent. She describes things well, giving you truly helpful tips and some quick demos of what not to do.
Jill Miller's Yoga Tune Up series is a collection of five videos that she put together herself, mostly for people who attend her classes/workshops. As such, these practices actually FEEL like a live class or workshop, which I loved, but they also lack fancy production values (ie, the set is very simple, just a mat in front of a curtain, and Jill's live voice instruction is a bit echo-y with some background noise).
Triangle Tune is designed to focus on the motions needed to perfect two poses, Triangle and Twisting Triangle; given this, it also serves as a mini hip-opening practice. Jill begins in a reclined position with the legs in the air. Taking a straddle position, she repeatedly opens and closes the legs, then moves the legs from side-to-side, retaining the straddle as long as possible. This is a lengthy segment, so you will be thoroughly warmed up AND even a bit fatigued by the time you are through! Moving to a standing position, Jill continues to warm up the hips/pelvic area by having you plant your feet and swing your hips from side to side; she emphasizes the rolling motion of the pelvis and encourages you to focus in on this area.
Now you are ready to move into the posture work. For this segment, you will need 1-3 yoga blocks, depending on your level of flexibility (you definitely need at least one block or a sturdy substitute). Jill works on only three postures: triangle, intense side stretch, and twisting triangle. For each, she first has you do the posture as you normally would, providing extremely detailed form pointers and having you resting your bottom hand on a block as necessary. Next, she has you repeat the posture with the forward foot on a flat block in order to attain a greater sense of opening, particularly in that hamstring. Finally, she has you repeat the posture one more time without the block, hopefully deepening the pose for this final effort. Throughout, Jill is constantly providing helpful alignment cues, making it feel as if she is right there in the room with you. She ends with a nice, 5-minute savasana to bring the total practice time in right at 43 minutes.
I really enjoyed this yoga practice, especially given that it's very different from the other videos I own. After completing the practice, I felt like I had just gotten out of a class where I had been given great refreshers on form; this is like a class I can return to over and over again, and I know that I will.
I liked Jill; she was very down-to-earth and even a bit jokey. She mirror cues (even better, she actually TELLS you that she is mirror cueing at the start of the practice). For more information on her Yoga Tune Up DVD series, visit her web site at jillmilleryoga.com/products.html. [Note: On her web site, this DVD is listed as "Hips-Triangle Tune Up," but the DVD label (there is no DVD case) reads only "Triangle Tune Up." Also, the web site incorrectly lists this as being a 33 minute practice; it is definitely 43 mintues in length.]