Element: Yoga for Stress Relief & FlexibilityAshley Turner
Year Released: 2010
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Note: I received a free review copy of this DVD from the web site Metapsychology.net.
This is the first DVD I have tried from the Element series. This one features features yoga instructor Ashley Turner, who also appeared in Element: Yoga for Weight Loss. Here Turner offers two yoga routines which can be used either together or separately to enhance relaxation, stimulate circulation, and increase agility. Turner practices outdoors in an attractive poolside garden setting with the Pacific ocean in the background. She teaches via voiceover and offers mirrored cuing, sometimes using only Sanskrit names for the postures, sometimes adding in the English translations as well. Other than her yoga mat, Turner does not utilize any props, although she occasionally makes suggestions for how props (e.g., blocks) could be used to modify some of the postures.
The Main Menu of this DVD offers the following options:
*Play Yoga for Stress Relief
*Play Yoga for Flexibility
*Play Complete Program
I have broken down each of the practices in greater detail below.
YOGA FOR STRESS RELIEF
This is the longer of the two practices at just under 36 minutes; virtually the entire routine is performed seated on the floor. Turner begins with instruction on ujjayi breathing, taking time to cultivate this breath. After a few head rolls, she performs a single "ohm" and suggests setting an intention (sankalpa) for the practice. This is followed by a seated side bend, simple seated twist, and a unique seated twist with an emphasis on stretching the upper back/shoulders. After using Lion's breath to promote cleansing, Turner continues the seated postures with head-to-knee pose, half Lord of the fishes, double pigeon, wide-legged seated forward bend, and revolved head-to-knee pose. Finally, Turner begins a series of finishing postures: first, she comes to hands and knees for a cranial massage, and next, she moves to a reclined position for windshield wiper legs and knees-to-chest. After a brief rest in reclined cobbler's pose, Turner comes into savasana with an optional self-massage (4 minutes). She concludes the practice seated with a final ohm.
YOGA FOR FLEXIBILITY
Turner also begins this practice seated with instruction on ujjayi breathing. She moves into a standing forward bend/half forward bend sequence before coming to standing at the front of the mat to set an intention and to chant a single "ohm." (Note: Turner has her mat placed parallel to the mat; placing your mat perpendicular to your TV may make it easier to follow along with this routine.) From here Turner flows into a standing series which moves from low lunge to half split to standing splits. Turner then performs eagle pose on both sides before repeating the lunge series on the opposite side. The next sequence adds in some gentle backbends: Turner starts in down dog and moves into baby cobra, a cat/cow series, a locust variation, and some brief free form work. Coming back to seated for hero's pose, Turner offers the option of moving into reclined hero. She concludes the practice with a lower back release, a reclined twist, and a short (about 2 minutes) relaxation, finishing this 33-minute practice in a seated position with a final ohm.
Overall, this DVD offers two very nice yoga practices providing exactly what the titles suggest--i.e., the opportunity to decrease stress and enhance flexibility. Although Turner does suggest some modifications as well as offers tips on form, her level of instruction is not appropriate for those brand-new to yoga. However, this would be an ideal DVD for anyone with some basic yoga experience looking to enhance their practice and move on to the next level; moreover, intermediate practitioners such as myself are likely to find a place in their home practice for these enjoyable routines.
This was my first experience with Ashley, and I liked her very much. I thought that she cued quite well, and enjoyed the fact that although the practices were fairly basic, Ashley didn't hesitate to incorporate a more balanced approach--i.e., adding in chanting and pranayama. I am impressed with this DVD and believe that it will fit in nicely with my collection.
Ashley Turner, 2010
This dvd has two 35 minute yoga w/os: one focuses on stress relief and the other on flexibility. Ashley works out alone outdoors in a beautiful outdoor garden overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There are tons of trees, flowers, and lush greenery! You won't need any props for this workout. You can play "all" or play the workouts individually. The dvd is voice-over.
Yoga For Stress Relief: This workout is at a slower pace and you will hold each pose while focusing on releasing your stress. There is a focus on breath work and includes lions breath. Ashley has you focus on observing and releasing tension in your mind and body. Poses included are: lots of nice lower back stretches, double pigeon, side and leg stretches, alternate nostril breathing to clear & balance your mind, head massage while on all 4's, butterfly pose, headrolls for you neck, shoulder and upper body stretches, face massage, and finishes w/ corpse pose.
Yoga for Flexibility: This is a very relaxing yoga workout that will definitely improve your flexibility over time. You start with breath work and you will focus on becoming more flexible physically and in all aspects of your life throughout the workout. You will perform poses such as: forward folds, 1/2 splits, baby vinyassa, eagle pose, low cobra, down dog, runners lunge variations, and she explains the purpose of each pose.
Ashley does a great job of cuing and you can tell she is a seasoned instructor. I would rate this an intermediate yoga workout that includes some "ohm's" and is more mind/body than athletic in nature. Great for recovery and stretching days. She includes the sanskrit name of each move as well. I received this dvd from Anchor Bay to review.