Yoga Zone: Yoga SculptingJennifer Monas
Year Released: 2001
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First, about me. I use Yoga for strength building. I am definitely not a Yoga expert. I also do not find Yoga particularly relaxing-- well any more relaxing than any other exercise form, that is.
I do not want a Yoga routine that moves too quickly or focuses on stretching. I don't like to do more than 40-45 minutes of Yoga either.
This program is divided into two workouts. One focuses on strengthening the upper body and the other focuses on strengthening the lower body. In truth, you are going to get benefits to upper and lower body in each practice. That is the way Yoga is. It does not seem to be the same old, same old. For those who are tired of sun salutations (I happen to like them), this would be a good choice for you.
I wish I could tell you more about the various postures, but as I stated before, I am no expert. The instruction is good and they do remind you to focus on your breathing.
It is one of the "for beginners series" that is set outside at Jamaica's Grand Lido Sans Souci. Very pretty.
This is a nice practice, good for beginners with some strength or intermediates.
Anyway, it met waht I was looking for in a Yoga DVD.
This is one of the Yoga Zone DVDs made from their TV show. It has two 19-minute practices. The commercial break points are not at all obvious in these workouts, and the routines flow really well. Both practices are filmed outdoors in Jamaica. Production quality is good.
The first practice focuses on the upper body and back. Jen Monas leads the workout, and Jeanne is the second exerciser. The poses and chapter points are listed below:
Chapter 1: Plank Postures (actually starts at beginning of workout with YZ theme song)
Old Dog – a pose I haven’t seen elsewhere – a combo of down dog and child’s pose
Down Dog, Plank, Side plank – repeated on both sides
Chaturanga pushups (on knees) – 4 times
Extended seal – looks to me like child’s pose with arms extended in front of you
Chaturanga variations – lifting one leg back on all fours, leaning down into a pushup, then bringing knee into chest and rounding back (also seen in YZ’s Flexibility and Stress Release)
Chapter 2: Cat arches
Cat stretches – back rounding and arching on all 4s
Cat-seal – arch back on all 4s then sit back on heels into seal
Cobra & locust variations – done in a way that seems accessible/reasonable for beginners
Up dog – versions shown with knees on ground and with knees lifted
Chapter 3: Head Stand Prep
Head Stand preparation into dolphin pushups – think of moving from a plank on your elbows into a downdog variation on your elbows
Table, then table lifting one leg at a time parallel to the floor
Chapter 4: Sitting Postures
Seated arm stretches, side leans and twists (similar to those seen in other YZ videos – “potted palm series”, I think Alan Finger calls it)
The second practice focuses on the legs and butt. Jen Monas also leads this workout, this time with Suzanne as the second exerciser. Poses and chapters are:
Chapter 5: Second Program
Cat pose with alternating leg lifts
Ticky Cat – lift opposite arm and leg from cat pose
Standing forward bend
Chapter 6: Chair and Table
Standing forward bend
Table pose – with alternating leg lifts
Seated forward bend
“Headstand prep” – elbows are on floor as in headstand prep, and you alternate lifting your legs back parallel to the floor
Chapter 7: Standing postures
Lunge – alternate lifting and lowering the back knee to the floor with the breath
Warrior 1 – alternate liting the heel up/contracting the butt and lowering the heel down into warrior 1 pose with the breath
Down Dog with one leg lifted – a few variations (straight leg, bent leg, straight leg with toe pointed and rolling hip open)
Chapter 8: Lying postures
Locust with alternating leg lifts
Bridge with hands supporting hips and alternating leg lifts
Savasana (corpose pose)
The main menu lets you play the whole thing or go to a chapter menu with the listings shown above. You can also to audio options and select to hear both music and instruction or instruction only.
Overall these are fairly challenging routines, especially compared to most of the others in the Yoga Zone 20-minute series. This one is more vigorous than Total Body Conditioning, for instance, but probably slighlty less vigorous than Introduction to Power Yoga. The routines leave me feeling both worked out and relaxed, and not particularly sweaty. (On the DVD case, they call it “beginner to intermediate” whereas most of the other DVDs in this series are labeled beginner, I believe.) Unlike most of the 20-minute YZ DVDs, I think this one could be used as a 40-minute routine doing the 2 programs back-to-back because they complement each other and don’t overlap too much.
In general, I think Yoga Zone productions seem more upbeat and less serious than the Living Arts productions. The sets are bright and the instructors speak naturally rather than using a scripted voice-over. The instructors all seem friendly and make yoga seem accessible and pleasant, while still managing to give alignment and breathing pointers.
I think this is a great DVD to try if you’re new to yoga and looking for something that focuses more on strengthening poses. If you find some of the gentler yoga practices for beginners to be too much like regular stretching, or too laid back and mellow, you might like this one. It’s also appropriate for more experienced yoga-practioners. I like these DVDs for when I want to work and stretch a little in the evening, but I’ve already exercised in the morning, and I don’t want to have to take another shower before bed!
Jennifer Monas is encouraging and friendly. Her voice is kind of low and I like listening to her. She does speak pretty continuously through these practices, but it’s almost all form pointers and encouragement rather than less content-rich comments found in other yoga tapes, like say, Baron Baptiste’s instruction to make your toe glow with the power of your mind. (I actually like Baron, though, so no hate email, please!) If you like Lisa Bennett in other Yoga Zone tapes, I think you’ll like Jennifer as well – she’s similarly friendly and makes the poses seem accessible.
This is a very good experienced-beginner/intermediate yoga workout. As usual with the Yoga Zone, it's shot in a gorgeous outdoor location -- in this case, Jamaica. There are two 20-minute workouts on the tape/DVD. If you have the DVD, good luck finding workout #2. It really is there (I was wondering at first!), but it's buried under the "Moves" section for some reason. The DVD also has an option to choose from 8 different segments so you can create your own workout. I haven't tried that -- I like the flow well enough the way it's structured. These workouts are great for when you don't have much time but want to get in a little yoga strength work. Grade A.04/22/2002