Yummy Yoga

Christa Rypins
Year Released: 2000

Categories: Yoga

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I have been doing somatic exercise for 9 months and I have this DVD. It is one of the very few somatic exercise DVDs available. The thing about somatic exercise is it is not about traditional strengthening and stretching. Somatic exercise is brain training. It is training your brain to consciously feel/connect with all muscles in your body to learn to feel and relax them. The problem with following an instructor on DVD doing somatic exercises is that your brain cannot as efficiently connect and sense internal sensations in the body while consciously imitating movements of an instructor. Also when doing somatic exercise there should be no time limit on each exercise. For these reasons this DVD should be used as a learning tool rather than a "follow along" workout. Learn all the exercises then find a quiet room and do the routine on your own at your own pace. Some exercises will "speak" to you more than others and you may want to spend more time with them. Then these exercises will be more effective. I also want to point out that somatic exercise is cumulative. Just like other forms of exercises the more you do it the better you get. Do somatic exercises daily and in time you will start feeling muscles you may haven't felt in years. You will find yourself having better range of motion in these exercises and in your waking/moving life. Also your posture will improve dramatically and you will be more efficient in all other forms of exercise (weight training, running, yoga, etc.). It is "feel good" exercise that I liken to getting a massage and a chiropractic adjustment. At the end of Yummy Yoga Christa recommends Thomas Hanna's book "Reawakening the Mind's Control of Movement, Flexibility and Health". This book is a priceless addition to this DVD and teaches you everything about somatic exercise. The famous somatic "Cat Stretch" workout in the back of the book can be done in 5 minutes. Many of the book exercises are in this DVD.

Instructor Comments:
Thank you so much Christa for a wonderful DVD on somatic exercise.

Mandy AKA username F


Yummy Yoga is not exactly yoga, nor is it traditional stretching; rather, it is based on a technique called Somatics, which involves increasing your neuromuscular awareness through contracting and releasing muscles throughout your entire body. This is an excellent method for targeting chronically tight areas of the body and retraining the muscles to relax.

Yummy Yoga is led by Christa Rypins, who instructs via voiceover with a small group of participants who are lying in a circle. The entire practice is performed on the floor, mostly lying, but with some seated segments as well. Although it is broken up into two 20-minute sessions, Lower Body and Upper Body, the segments flow into each other without interruption, and each includes full body stretches in addition to targeting the lower or upper body. Christa leads you slowly and gently through each movement, often having you move your body in opposition (eg, stretching your right arm and left leg, twisting your head in one direction while your torso moves in the other, etc.). I found some of the moves for the shoulders and upper back area to be particularly unique.

The upper body segment is a little shorter overall than the lower, as Christa spends the last 6.5 minutes leading you through a guided relaxation: she has you focus on and release each individual muscle of the body in turn. Although this was definitely relaxing, it also felt a bit repetitive, as Christa says the exact same thing each time; a brief final stretch follows the relaxation. After the practice ends, Christa spends a final 2 minutes reviewing some of the principles of Somatics. This video is probably best-suited to those who have chronically tight muscles and thus are unable to engage in traditional stretching. For those (like myself) who already are participating in regular activities to increase flexibility, such as yoga, this video might feel a bit too gentle and slow-moving, although it is still likely to foster relaxation.

Instructor Comments:
Christa has a soothing voice, and overall, her instruction was fine. However, it was sometimes a bit difficult to understand exactly what she was doing, and her voice tended to get a bit monotone at times.

Beth C (aka toaster)


I'm not sure I know how to describe this video. First, it's not yoga in any traditional sense. It's not strenuous, but some of the moves are hard to accomplish just because your body doesn't move that way normally. There is a dated feel to the workout. Sometimes I just felt dorky to be doing this tape.

BUT...oh my goodness...if you have chronic muscular tension this is amazing. It's the opposite of most relaxation techniques which focus on stretching. Instead you're fully contracting and exhausting the muscle so it will eventually relax.

The technique is a mix of yoga and somatics. Somatics is a neuromuscular reeducation technique which teaches muscles to let go and relax.

My neck and shoulders are always very tight. When I go to a massage therapist, they do their best, but eventually concede that the muscles are chronically tensed. Years of traditional yoga, stretching, massage and medication hasn't really done much to help. After doing a few contractions of trapezius muscle from this workout I felt my trapezius fully relax. I'm in awe.

Whatever I paid for this tape it was worth it for even a few minutes of relief.

Instructor Comments:
I think it's mostly a voice over. Honestly, I didn't notice much of anything.



This is not your usual relaxation yoga video. It combines yoga (breathing and gentle stretching) with somatics (a system of neuromuscular re-education). The movements are all done lying on the floor, and are slow-motion tensing and relaxation of muscles, and gentle twists, which are meant to wake-up habitual muscular tightness—what Thomas Hanna called “sensory-motor amnesia”. Somewhere, I read a review that "its not real yoga" and I disagree with that statement. When breathing and body awareness are in unison, that's yoga to me.

For more information about somatic movement, see “Somatics” by Thomas Hanna. Chapter 14 of the book details his exercises, many of them have been re-named, and are done in the video.

The video has two 20-minute segments, first Lower Body, then Upper Body. There are 4 other participants, and they are positioned in a circle, on a carpeted area. You hear Christa’s voice in voiceover. It sometimes looked like synchronized swimming. Here are the names of the movements:

1. Tighten and release
2. Propeller Feet
3. Shorten side of body
4. Psoas Release
5. Sloshing
6. Marionette legs
7. Sloshing
8. Arch and Curl
9. Side Head and Ankle Lift—lying on right side
10. Piriformis stretch—lying on right side
11. Side Head and Ankle Lift—lying on left side
12. Piriformis stretch—lying on left side
13. Sloshing
14. Infant development movement
15. Star-Gazing Arch and Curl
16. Twisting—to right and left—knees crossed
17. Twisting—to right, knees crossed, bottom foot off floor.
18. Twisting—to right—ankle on knee, bottom foot off floor
19. Arch and curl—ankle on knee
20. Twisting—to left, knees crossed, bottom foot off floor
21. Twisting to left—ankle on knee—bottom foot off floor
22. Arch and curl—ankle on knee
21. Seaweed legs.

1. Shoulder blade squeeze
2. Propeller arms
3. Arm Rolls
4. Combine arms rolls with arch and curl
5. Wring arms like a towel
6. Wring Arms like a towel –with knee rolls
7. Star-gazing Arch and curl
8. Neck rotation—to the right
9. Neck rotation—to the left
10. Rhomboid release
11. Side neck release
12. Trapezius release
13. Relaxation

Instructor Comments:
Christa Rypins’ website is:

She has a very pleasant, clear, and calming voice, and it really is yummy yoga.

Katie W