Year Released: 2005
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first off, I think this was a pretty expensive dvd considering the practice is only about 30 minutes long. But, it is very relaxing and she explains how forward bends stimulate the 'yin' for calm and relaxing and she modifes the poses with a chair and folded blankets so if dealing with props bothers you this isn't for you!s he goes slowly and holds the poses and I felt so nice and stretched out afterwards. she helps you get in the pose with details about the leg positions, etc and has a very soothing voice. I'm not sorry I bought this but think they could've just done the dvd by itself and left out the book and all for a cheaper version!
Very soothing and laid back.
I am a yoga dabbler – I have a few yoga tapes mainly for stretching and a couple I use periodically for strength work when I don’t feel like lifting weights. The concept of a yoga workout that would make me sleepy, not relax me, but actually make me sleepy was new to me. I would guess regular yoga practitioners may be familiar with this concept and would find this workout a bit basic for them.
The main menu includes:
Play The Yoga Sleep Ritual (the “main” practice)
You, Yoga, and Sleep (an introduction by Ann to the concept)
Breathe Back to Sleep (a breathing ritual to help you fall back to sleep when you wake up)
Guided Savasana & Nada Brama – A yoga lullaby
Also included with this package are a booklet that explains the moves more fully and a CD with a guided relaxation.
In this DVD, Ann is by herself in a workout space with a dark blue backdrop. She explains each move and gives lots of form pointers – both for the yoga moves and for how to prepare for sleep. To me, she comes across as someone who knows what she is talking about, yet she seems totally grounded and accessible. I love her voice; it is very soothing. The moves mainly include gentle twists and forward bends.
The main practice lasts about 40 minutes for the poses, followed by the guided relaxation. It is longer than I have most evenings, but I found only 20-30 minutes gave me good benefit and helped relax me and make me sleepy.
I will save this workout for those periods when I am having trouble sleeping and/or have the time to invest. I really do like this workout and the instructor, Ann Dyer.
I REALLY like her in this practice. She is down to earth and seemingly interested in helping people learn to rest. She also seems well-informed and very competent.
I'm reviewing this workout after doing the main yoga program and the accompanying
CD once each; I've previewed the rest.
General workout breakdown: The main yoga routine, lasting about 40 minutes, consists primarily of forward bends and gentle twists to induce calmness and even drowsiness. After some centering and chanting Om, Ann leads you through a warm-up (modified standing forward folds using the chair?this adds some nice shoulder stretches), modified downward facing dog (using the chair), standing one-legged forward bend, seated forward bend, inverted lake (aka "legs up the wall" pose), inverted bound angle, downward-facing crossed leg (i.e. forward bend onto chair in crossed leg position), supported reclined twist, supported child's pose, and corpse. Ann takes some time to set up each pose and holds that pose for several minutes. She doesn't rush anything, which is appropriate for this routine.
Level: I'd recommend this to anyone, although it probably more geared towards beginners through intermediates. Some yoga experience is probably best but not absolutely necessary. I consider myself a low intermediate in yoga; I have over three years of experience but am still working on my strength and flexibility. I found this video appropriate for me, although I adjusted one or two poses either to get a little deeper stretch or to accommodate my props.
Class: Ann alone, instructing "live."
Music: none during the asanas. (Surprisingly, I didn't even notice the absence of music.) The menu and savasana segments have Ann playing a sitar and singing (in Sanskrit?). I'm not one for sitar music, but I found Ann's music understated, calming, and even beautiful. (Ann is apparently a concert artist as well as a yogini-oh, to be so talented!)
Set: The interior set has dark blue fabric hung all around; Ann practices on a raised wooden platform covered with mats. Little candles appear in clusters around the space. Off to one side is a potted plant; off to another hang gold chains. It's not dark, like Kripalu Gentle Yoga, but it's not so bright that it's distracting if you turn your lights off before doing this.
Production: crisp picture and sound, no distracting camera work, etc. - very well produced.
Equipment: yoga mat (or equivalent), sturdy chair (one with a wide, straight back is best), and blankets (Ann uses two; you?ll want something that's not too poofy). Ann is barefoot.
Space Requirements: enough room to lie down with your legs extended. You should have space to maneuver freely around your chair, too. Access to a wall may be helpful for some poses.
DVD Notes: There's a 30 second intro before you can hit "main menu." The DVD contains the main program, "You, Yoga, and Sleep" (Ann tells you a little bit about the program), and "Breathe Back to Sleep" (Ann helps you relax and shows you some breathing techniques to help you get back to sleep when you wake up in the middle of the night). The main program is divided into two chapters: one for all of the poses and one for the corpse pose; you can select the corpse pose alone from the main menu (where it's called "Guided Savasana & Nama Brama - A Yoga Lullaby."
This is a boxed kit. The DVD comes in a folded cardboard and plastic holder, which also contains a CD with a guided relaxation sequence done in corpse pose that lasts over 20 minutes. (This begins just like the savasana on the DVD, but Ann continues deeper. This would actually be a great add-on to any yoga practice with too short of a savasana or for use after a practice you've designed on your own; there's no mention of getting sleepy, so you could pop it in anytime.) Also in the box is a 26-page booklet, containing a forward by the producer (who has actually taken Ann's classes), an introduction about the importance of sleep and doing yoga by Ann, "Before You Begin" (the steps Ann recommends in order to get the most from using this practice), and Ann's descriptions of each pose (including in writing the benefits, an explanation of how to perform each pose, and suggested modifications and then in pictures Ann performing each pose). The booklet is well done, and yoga instructors should take note of it because it adds so much to the practice. (I know it's a lot of work to put something like this together, but I'm now going to be disappointed when a yoga program doesn't come with even a list of poses.)
Conclusion: I think this is a keeper. It's very well done, for starters, and between the DVD, CD, and booklet I'll probably get some use out of the program. I don't plan on using this regularly, because I tend to get bored and burned out easily if I use something a lot, but it'll be good to have on hand when I know I need a good night's sleep or after I've had a few restless nights.
You could certainly devise your own routine based on these principles and don't *need* this kit. Personally, I'm lazy when it comes to designing my own programs and tend to get too wound up in what comes next, so I'll rely on the media until I feel more confident in my practice.
I have to admit that the first times I used the DVD and CD I didn't fall asleep immediately, but I did feel very relaxed and calm, breathing deeply and slowly until I fell asleep naturally within a decent amount of time. Oddly enough, I remember dreaming (something which doesn't happen often to me) while lying half-asleep before my alarm went off. I can't say I felt particularly rested or refreshed the next day; I suspect I slept more lightly than I do normally (hence the dreaming). Whether that's a good thing or not I have no idea, but my guess is that it'll take a few more times until I get used to the routine and its effects and thus until I fall asleep quickly and sleep deeply after this practice.
This does have a brief chanting section and some discussion of yogic traditions and beliefs, but none of that made me particularly uncomfortable.
Ann is comfortable in front of the camera and comes across as down to earth and approachable as well as compassionate and intelligent. She instructs well, and she writes even more information about the poses in the accompanying booklet. She has a pleasant, soothing voice which she uses as if in a quiet conversation with you. Her manner doesn?t seem forced or affected at all. I love the fact that she looks "normal" rather than like some fitness model. After all, Ann's a real yogini who hasn't been selected by some producer because of her looks but rather by people who appreciate her knowledge and desire to use her routine to help more people.