Yoga Journel Pose Encyclopedia

Jason Crandell
Year Released: 2010

Categories: Instructional / How To Videos , Yoga



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This DVD is also presented as part of the 2-disc package : Yoga Jouornal's Complete Beginner's Guide (reviewed separately). It works well within that context, but doesn't succeed, in my opinion, as a stand-alone production.

In no way does this DVD seem to have been intended as a follow-along guide to practice. But I can see it functioning well as a reference point for the exploration of individual poses. Very hard to demonstrate the body in space in standard yoga photography. A lot is going on in even the most basic of poses. I like the around-the-world presentation.

But do go for the 2-dix version!

Sharon Frost

05/22/2011

NOTE: I received a free review copy of this DVD directly from Yoga Journal.

This Pose Encyclopedia is the latest DVD offering from Yoga Journal magazine; it is instructed by Yoga Journal contributing editor Jason Crandell. The aim of this DVD is to offer a reference tool of 35 essential yoga poses, presenting each posture individually and offering 360 views, thus allowing the student or teacher to gain a greater understanding of the pose. To facilitate this, Crandell cues the poses via voiceover while a single model, Cortney Cantrell, displays all of the postures.

After a brief disclaimer, the Main Menu appears. On the left-hand side, the Menu offers the options of Welcome (a brief introduction, also done in voiceover, by Crandell), Credits, and a complete pose list in either Sanskrit or English. On the right, the postures are broken down into the following submenus:

SUN SALUTATION ESSENTIALS
Three Poses

STANDING POSES
Eleven Poses

BACKBENDS
Three Poses

TWISTS
Three Poses

FORWARD BENDS
Three Poses

OTHER ESSENTIALS
Six Poses
(includes Corpse Pose, Shoulder Opening Series, & Victorious Breath)

In general, each individual posture breakdown is approximately 2 1/2 to 3 minutes in length. For poses that are intended to be performed on both sides of the body, such as Extended Triangle, Crandell will state at the end "Now practice your second side," but the second side is not shown. The model's movements are well-timed to Crandell's instruction, and when Crandell mentions modifications, these are shown by the model as well--for example, using a block under the hand (other props include a blanket and a strap). What the model does NOT show is the WRONG way to do the posture--i.e., occasionally Crandell will make a statement such as "be sure that you are not doing ____," but in these cases, the model does not provide an example of the incorrect stance for comparison's sake.

Although the pose descriptions themselves are fairly well-done, I found the way in which the submenus were organized to be frustrating. First, when you select a particular submenu--for example, "Standing Poses"--there is no "Play All" option. Given this, you are required to select each of the poses individually and return to the menu EVERY time, which is quite cumbersome. Another problem I had was with how the postures are organized within the segments themselves. Again using "Standing Poses" as an example, this section begins with Chair Pose, while Mountain Pose (which I think most yoga instructors would agree is the foundational standing posture) does not appear until fourth on the list. Also, when he is instructing Warrior 1, Crandell refers to the previous work on Warrior 2--but this posture comes AFTER Warrior 1 on the menu.

Unfortunately, I believe that the difficulties in navigating the menus of this DVD significantly limit its usefulness. Although it may have some value as a reference tool for beginning yoga students, the layout of this "encyclopedia" prevents it from being utilized effectively as a follow-along practice. Finally, while I am generally a fan of video media, in this instance, I think more experienced students or teachers looking for a reference manual would be more likely to benefit from one in book form, such as Judith Lasater's excellent 30 Essential Yoga Poses or even the more lighthearted Cool Yoga Tricks by Miriam Austin.

Instructor Comments:
Crandell teaches the entire DVD via voiceover; he never appears. Although his instruction is fine, I can't help but to find it to be a bit dry, from the basic nature of his descriptions to the cadence of his voice.

Beth C (aka toaster)

08/06/2010