Deep Stretch Yin YogaMimi Solaire
Year Released: 2008
Categories: Athletic Stretch , Yoga
Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer
This workout provides three, 20 minute yoga inspired stretching sessions. It is accessible to all levels, from novices to advanced yogi's wishing for a sequence within which to really deepen their personal practice.
Mimi instructs the workout alone. She chose to do the instruction in voiceover which I felt was perfect for this type of stretching. The music offered a "new age" melody which was relaxing and soothing. The set was pure white and Mimi wore an all white outfit and performed the workout on a white shaggy rug. I thought it was visually appealling and created a sense of calmness.
You can choose to do any of the sequences from the Main Menu. The offerings are as follows: Full Program, Back Stretches, Hips & Legs, Neck & Shoulders and Bonus Super Stretch. My favorite part of the program is that throughout each pose Mimi holds each position for 1-2 minutes. This really opens up tight muscles and allows a deep relaxation to naturally occur. Mimi also ends each segment with a brief relaxation pose (she does encourage the participant to stay as long as they feel is necessary however).
Back Stretches: This practice begins with a gentle stretch while lying down with hands clasped overhead and then moves into a reclined knee to chest pose. Mimi then moves onto her stomach to perform some modified cobra sequences followed by some childs pose stretches. Next you'll move into the cat/cow. Mimi then takes you into a wonderful seated twist and then you'll move back to the floor for bridge. Still on your back, you'll conclude this session with some gentle knee to chest rocking motions and then finish with a reclined twist.
Hips & Legs: You'll start with a reclined cobbler pose (you are lying on your back with feet together, knees falling open) and focus on your breathing. Mimi then performs a gentle knee to chest stretch and further explores the hamstring of that same leg by crossing the ankle over the opposite thigh and gently pulling the working leg towards the chest. Next you'll leave the ankle crossed over the thigh and perform a twist to feel a nice stretch in the outer hip area. (perform all stretches to opposite leg) Now you'll grab a strap and perform some assisted stretches that will lengthen the hamstrings. Mimi demonstrates several stretches with the strap, each hitting different areas of the leg (you'll also feel it in the inner/outer thigh). Once the strap session is complete, you'll come to a seated position and perform a seated forward bend which is the last exercise in this sequence.
Neck & Shoulders: The first pose uses a rolled up towel for support under the neck while lying on your back. Next, removing the towel, you'll roll one arm under your back to stretch the shoulder. Mimi then performs a side lying twist. Next you'll pull both knees to chest and circle them then come to your hands and knees. Thread the needle stretch is next which opens up the shoulder and upper back. Childs pose follows. Next, sitting on knees, you'll cross one arm over the other into Eagles arms. Lying back to the floor you'll rotate your shoulders forward and back and then end with savasana.
Bonus Super Stretch: This segment offers more challenging poses so, as Mimi suggests, you may want to warmup with any of the previous sequences or even perform some type of cardio warmup to ensure your muscles are warm and receptive. Mimi begins with boat pose. Reclining hero pose is next and it is intense! (work up to this one if you have too!) The next move is down dog and then a seated forward bend. A reclined eagle legs twist follows. This segment also ends with a longer relaxation segment. (FYI-this segment was done without music, if you prefer you can use your own)
Mimi mirror cues which is helpful since it is not always wise to "strain" yourself trying to view the television to see what the instructor is doing. This was a review copy. Check out Mimi's website-www.mimisolaire.com She offers up clips on this and her other 2 workouts.
NOTE: I received a free review copy of this DVD from the web site metapsychology.net.
This DVD features Mimi Solaire, a dancer and yoga instructor who previously released a popular yoga routine for back care, Back in Shape. In this latest release, Solaire offers Deep Stretch, what she subtitles as a yin yoga practice. The video consists of three 20-minute stretching segments, each focused on a different area of the body, plus a 10-minute more challenging “bonus” sequence. When you play the Main Menu of the DVD, Solaire’s voice comes on explaining that you will need a towel and a strap for the practices; a mat is helpful as well. Solaire herself is lying on a fuzzy white rug against an all-white backdrop—although she is wearing white as well, her tank top and capri bottoms allow her movements to be seen clearly.
The Main Menu offers the following options: Full Program – Back Stretches – Hips & Legs – Neck & Shoulders – Bonus Super Stretch. For each of the above, Solaire provides voiceover instruction. Throughout the practices, the individual poses are generally held for approximately 2 minutes each. With the exception of the bonus segment, Solaire generally does not name the postures; rather, she simply describes the movements. Also, although Solaire ends each of the practices with relaxation pose (savasana), she does not allow time to stay in this pose, instead encouraging you to continue relaxing as long as desired.
I have broken down each segment in greater detail below.
This entire sequence is performed on the floor in either a reclined or seated position Solaire begins with a lying stretch, then moves into reclined knee-to-chest pose. Flipping onto her stomach, she performs several repetitions of a gentle cobra pose, and then she comes to hands and knees for cat/cow stretches. A seated twist follows, and then it is back to the floor for bridge pose, finishing with a reclined twist and relaxation.
HIPS & LEGS
Solaire begins here with reclined cobbler’s pose. This is followed by a thread-the-needle stretch and a thread-the-needle twist. She then uses a strap for an extended reclined leg series, stretching the hamstrings from several different angles. Next, Solaire comes to seated for head-to-knee pose, and she concludes the practice with relaxation.
NECK & SHOULDERS
This practice begins by using a rolled towel under the neck as a “jelly roll.” Solaire relaxes here with the arms out to the sides as well as with the hands on the forehead. Removing the towel, she performs a stretch with one arm moving underneath and across the back; this is followed by a reclined twist. Additional stretches include child’s pose with one arm stretched across the body and eagle arms performed on each side. This sequence concludes in a lying position with the rolled towel placed under the shoulder blades as a bolster.
BONUS SUPER STRETCH
Solaire cautions that you should not attempt this segment unless you have warmed up with the other sections of the DVD first. She begins with a backbend, bow pose, and then moves into a very intense stretch, reclined hero’s pose (no modifications are shown). This is followed by downward-facing dog, full seated forward bend, and an eagle legs reclined twist. A slightly longer relaxation ends this sequence.
In general, I believe this DVD definitely does deliver what it promises on the case, “a gentle and effective stretching practice that will leave you feeling relaxed…great for beginners and all levels of ability.” I do think that the three 20-minute routines would be appropriate for those new to yoga; not only are they accessible practices comprised of moves that are likely to be attainable to most people, but also Solaire’s style is very approachable and non-intimidating. I would, however, caution beginners from attempting the bonus practice. I feel that it was a poor choice to be included on this DVD at all, especially given that the first two postures (bow pose and reclined hero) are significantly more advanced than anything else on the video.
Finally, I believe it is important to address Solaire’s calling this a yin yoga practice. According to her web site, Solaire studied with Yin Yoga instructors Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers (amongst many others). Grilley’s teachings (from his web site) are that yin poses are held from three to five to ten minutes at a time; on this DVD, no postures are held for longer than two minutes. Solaire definitely has drawn her own unique style from her various teachers, and I see no need to confuse things by labeling her program “yin.” With that in mind, I would definitely recommend this DVD to both beginners and more experienced yoga practitioners who are interested in short, focused yoga stretching practices targeted to different areas of the body.
I had no problems with Mimi's instruction, but I should note that it is not overly detailed. For example, although these practices reminded me a bit of some of the practices in Barbara Benagh's Yoga for Stress Relief (believe it or not, despite the "yin yoga" subtitle here, I think Benagh holds the poses longer!), Barbara's instruction is MUCH more detailed that what Mimi provides.
This workout presents three 20-minute yoga-inspired stretching routines. From the menu you can choose any session individually, or do all three together. There is also a bonus 10-minute session of more challenging poses.
Mimi Solaire instructs solo in voiceover. She is accompanied by a New Age soundtrack (credited to Anugama) which I found soothing, almost hypnotic (a “music only” option would have been nice!). When I first viewed this DVD I was a little concerned about the set: white background, with Mimi sitting on a white flotaki rug wearing a white outfit. However, her top is sleeveless and the pants are cropped, so you can easily see what her limbs are doing. Also, since each pose is held for a while, you really aren’t looking at the screen all that much. You will need a mat or carpeting underneath, a strap, and a rolled towel (neck section only). All of the stretches are done slowly and gently.
Despite the title, this isn’t exactly “yin yoga” as taught by Paul Grilley, Sarah Powers, etc. Yin Yoga has its own set of specific poses with their own names, and each pose is held 3-5 minutes. Here, the poses are more traditional yoga-inspired stretches, held about one minute each. If Mimi names the pose at all, she uses the common English name. All of the poses are done on the floor, either lying, sitting or kneeling.
The three 20-minute sections are titled Back Stretches, Legs and Hips, and Neck and Shoulders. Here’s a breakdown:
Back Stretches: Reclined overhead stretch. Knee to chest, first one knee at a time, then both knees. Turn over onto stomach for sphinx pose, then straightening arms to cobra. Child’s pose with knees apart, then extended child’s pose. Move to hands and knees for cat/cow stretches. Move to a seated position for twisted sage pose. Lay back down for bridge pose. Reclined twist. Shavasana.
Legs and Hips: Reclined cobbler pose (soles of feet together, knees apart). Knee to chest. Ankle to opposite thigh, then lift supporting leg. Keeping same leg position, twist to side. Using strap, reclined leg stretch, first toward the head, then out to each side. Seated forward bends with one leg extended. Shavasana.
Neck and Shoulders: Reclined position with rolled towel under neck, gentle head tilts to stretch the neck. Still reclining, place forearm underneath back to stretch the front of the shoulder. Reclined twist. Child’s pose to thread the needle. Extended child’s pose. Move to a seated position for eagle pose. Return to reclined position with rolled towel under shoulders for a supported backbend, gently moving arms overhead. Shavasana.
The bonus section demonstrates some poses that those with a little more flexibility might enjoy trying out: Boat pose, saddle (this one is a yin yoga pose), down dog, seated forward bend, reclined twist with legs crossed, shavasana. Mimi wants us to be thoroughly warmed up before attempting this section.
I have a lot of flowing stretch workouts (e.g. Classical Stretch) as well as more traditional yoga, but was attracted to this DVD because it had longer-held static stretches. I also appreciate that each routine is only 20 minutes – perfect for after a workout, or to do just before bed or right after arising. I’ve previously owned some yin yoga DVDs, but while I enjoyed them I rarely pulled them off the shelf because the routines were so lengthy. This one will get a lot more use!
Mimi Solaire is a yoga teacher based in Arizona. Her website is www.MimiSolaire.com. You can view a clip of this DVD there. She has two other yoga DVDs, one for back rehab and a prenatal one.