Yoga Therapy for Back Pain and Stress Relief

Kanta Barrios
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Yoga

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Although I was unfamiliar with instructor Kanta Barrios prior to purchasing this DVD, I did some research and found out that she is Anusara-trained, which was one of the main things that attracted me to this video. In fact, her instruction feels very similar to the Anusara classes which I have attended.

Barrios speaks with a moderate European accent. She is featured in a pretty outdoor garden setting, and she instructs via voiceover. She utilizes several props during this practice, including a strap, a yoga block, a blanket, a bolster, and a chair. When the DVD loads, in brings up a chapter menu allowing you to select any of the individual segments or to play the entire practice. I have provided a brief overview of each section below.

Introduction (1 minute)
Barrios offers a brief into about the benefits of yoga to help the back.

WARM-UP (9.5 minutes)
Barrios starts here centered for mindful breathing. She then moves to all fours for cat/cow stretches. Coming to standing, she moves through side bends and some slow, modified sun salutations which include high lunge. This segment felt very slow-moving, especially given that there are nature images (daffodils) which come on-screen as pauses prior to moving onto the next pose.

For this segment, Barrios begins by holding a low lunge position. Coming to standing, she performs side angle pose (offering excellent cuing for this) and then moves back to seated for half lord of the fishes pose. Lying down on her back, she does thread-the-needed, a windshield wiper twist, and a twist with the opposite foot on knee.

Here Barrios starts with a standing quad stretch, then moves to kneeling for a hamstring stretch. She performs a second quad stretch lying in a face-down position. Using a stretch, she moves through recline leg stretches #1, 2, and 3. She concludes this segment in staff pose.

SPECIFIC THERAPEUTIC EXERCISES FOR THE BACK (19.5 minutes; uses blanket, block, & chair)
Barrios begins with the heels on the blanket; she comes into a squat, focusing on maintaining a health lumbar curve as she places her hands on the chair in front of her; this is repeated several times. Coming to the floor, Barrios performs down dog with the block between the thighs and then cobra with the block between the calves and the thighs on the blanket. Next, returns to standing and puts the block between her thighs, squatting into chair pose; after several repetitions, she moves into standing forward bend. Barrios concludes with relaxation, resting the calves on the seat of the chair for about 3 minutes.

This brief section includes just two postures: supported child's pose (lying over a bolster) and legs-up-the-wall pose (resting on a blanket). Both are great resting postures, but by the time Barrios sets you up, you hold each pose for only about one minute, not nearly long enough.

From the Warm-Up, I thought that this DVD was going to be disappointing, as there wasn't much too it; also, although the video quality is quite good, the voiceover is rather echo-y. However, they other segments of the practice were very good; in particular, the stretches that Barrios performs with the props in the back segment are excellent. Given this, I think that this DVD fits a unique niche in my collection of therapeutic yoga practices. Therefore, I am glad to have it and would recommend it.

Instructor Comments:
Kanta seems to have an easy-going style; I like that she is often smiling while performing the postures. She provides very good voiceover instruction with excellent form cues (as is typical for the Anusara style).

Beth C (aka toaster)