Mind Body Warrior Yin Yoga

mark laham
Year Released: 2012

Categories: Yoga

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Beth/Toaster gave a great breakdown of this workout, so I'll stick with general impressions. This is a yin workout of long, deep stretches held for 3-5 minutes, broken into three practices: front line (61 minutes), back line (63 minutes) and hips and pelvis (50 minutes). There is also an option to customize your workout by picking and choosing any exercises among the three practices. I like that option for a shorter workout, but I think the three workouts as designed are excellent.

Mark Laham, a soft-voiced Canadian, instructs three female participants in each class. The setting is indoors, a neutral gray room with soft lighting and intermittent "world" music. Mark talks you through getting into a pose and its variations, and most of the time the three participants demonstrate the "standard", "advanced" and "easier" (often prop-assisted) versions. You will need a mat and one or two blocks. Sometimes a bolster or pillow might be helpful, though I used a rolled towel and was fine. Mark uses a folding chair for one pose in the "front line" practice but I was able to cobble together a modification with two yoga blocks.

All practices are well sequenced. Mark encourages you to relax into a pose and feel the changes as your body goes deeper. He does push you to get uncomfortable and "hang out" with discomfort. All the practices have short rest periods interspersed, in which you're in an easy down-dog, or lying on your back or stomach and relaxing before the workout resumes. Each practice ends in a brief corpse pose. I wish this was held for longer, but that's my only criticism of these workouts.

Mark is an excellent instructor. He guides you clearly into a pose, then offers modifications both at the beginning and after you've held the pose for 1-2 minutes and are loosening (or tightening) up. He reminds you to breathe deeply and cues the end of most poses when there are five breaths to go. Other than that, he is NOT a chatterer at all. I think he's a near-perfect yoga teacher in that he guides you through a practice instead of hectoring you or filling your head with useless talk that will become stale the more often you do the practice.

I cannot pick a favorite among these practices. "Front line" has great quad and chest/shoulder work; "back line" takes all the kinks out of my lower back and hamstrings; "hips and pelvis" is a challenge to those of us with tight hip flexors but I feel warm and relaxed at the end.

Instructor Comments:
Mark Laham is professional, knows his yoga and has a mild manner that is perfect for instructing yin class. His Canadian accent appears every so often, i.e. "come OAT of it slowly" (heehee).



This excellent Yin Yoga DVD by instructor Mark Laham offers three full yoga practices as well as the option to customize your own sequence (more on this below). This was my first experience with Laham, but you can check him out by trying one of the free routines available on his web site. He has a very calm, gentle manner which is perfect for the yin style. In these routines, Laham does not participate; rather, he provides live instruction for three yoga students. For virtually every pose, he offers modifications, encouraging to go to your own comfort level. Various props are used in these practices, including up to two yoga blocks and a folding chair.

The Main Menu of the DVD offers the following options: Introduction (brief overview by Laham), Start Practice (choice of three practices as described below), Special Features, and Music Setup (with music/voice only). Under the Special Features Menu, there is a "Make Your Own Sequence" option which allows you to select individual yoga poses to create your own customized practice.

The three main practices are as follows: Front Line Sequences (61 Minutes), Back Line Sequence (63 Minutes), and Hips & Pelvis (50 Minutes). I have listed the postures featured in each routine below. In general, most poses are held about 5 minutes; I have tried to note exceptions where applicable. In addition, in between many of the yin holds, Laham will have the class transition with a brief hold of down dog, relaxation, or other pose, and I don't always note this.

Spread-leg child's
Down dog
Flying bird (aka locust pose)
Sphinx or seal
Dragonfly (low lunge)
Half-hero (interesting variation to lie back over bolster placed over inverted chair)
Brief rest in savasana
Supported bridge (3 minutes)
Supported fish (3 minutes)
Shoulder opener with block & chair
West stretch (aka full seated forward bend)
Reclined spinal twist
Savasana (1 minute)

Spread-leg child's
Hero with arms overhead (3 minutes)
Cow face (about 1 minute per side)
Down dog
Rest in child's pose
Half butterfly (rest in down dog between sides)
Wide leg forward fold
Half smiling cow face
Head cradle (about 1 minute)
Plow (modify with feet on chair or other prop)
Reclined spinal twist
Curl head to knees
Savasana (30 seconds)

Seated windshield wiper legs
Dragon (low lunge; about 3 minutes per side)
Down dog
Relax on belly
Smiling cow-face
Savasana (1 minute)

I really enjoyed these practices. I found Laham's narrative to be excellent: he gently helps to keep you focused on the pose, encouraging you to relax more deeply into it while staying presence. And I also LOVE the option to create a custom routine, especially when I might want something shorter. The ONLY problem at all that I can find with this DVD is that the final relaxations are so short; I think that Laham sets you up for savasana and then expects you to continue on your own, but it would have been nice to at least have the music continue at that point. Still, Laham has done an excellent job overall here, and I would highly recommend MIND BODY WARRIOR YIN YOGA to anyone who is looking to practice Yin Yoga at home.

Instructor Comments:
As noted above, I really liked Mark's demeanor during these practices. First, I appreciated that he held the postures the entire time--some yin yoga practices on DVD (such as Jennifer Kries) set you up for the poses but then expect you to time them on your own. Second, I found that the time went by quickly and that his comments were always useful, whereas with the other main yin practices I've tried on DVD (Sarah Powers), I found the instruction to be more dry.

Beth C (aka toaster)