Release, A Beautiful Journey to Bliss

Erin Kirk Patrick Goudeau
Year Released: 2013

Categories: Yoga

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I really enjoyed it a lot. I should start out by saying that I do not consider myself an experienced yogi, but I do do yoga generally on at least a weekly basis. I have never been to a class but I have many dvds. Some of my favorite instructors would be Eoin Finn, Zyrka, Sara Ivanhoe, Jason Crandall, Barbara Benagh, Tamal Dodge, Ashley Turner. I also enjoy Les Mills Body Balance.

Okay, so Release is not really Power Yoga, but there are some sun salutations in the beginning, and later on she sometimes transitions with chaturanga to up dog to down dog. Release kind of reminded me of Body Balance in that she covers a lot of bases. I liked it better than Body Balance, though, because Body Balance gets really formulaic after a while. Whereas Release flowed a bit differently so it felt fresher.

She starts with some Tai Chi type movements which is a way I really like to start a practice. There were some new (to me) moves which I always relish since so many yoga practices seem too similar. A couple of little hops while warming up can be modified out. One potentially problematic but fun move is going from chair pose, to rolling onto your back, then swinging back up to standing chair pose. It was fun to me, but someone could easily just hold chair pose instead. There is also a pretty long balance section, which was nicely challenging, and another of my favorite things about yoga. I loved the abs section, because I was afraid it was going to be a bunch of crunches which is a pet peeve of mine in yoga workouts. Instead it was variations on boat pose, it was tough and didn't last too long. Throughout, there are plenty of stretches for the chest, shoulders, hips, quads, hamstrings. She does a good job of using the background exercisers to show the easier to harder versions of the stretches. The Savasana section at the end is quite long. I know some people were turned off by her chanting in the short preview clip. I am happy to say that it was a very brief chanting that only happens once at the very end, before we sit back up and bow our heads. It only lasted 30 seconds, tops.

The dvd menu offers you a chance to pick a single chapter or a combination of chapters to do. You can also pick to do the complete practice. The chapter titles are:

Starfish Sun Salute
Floating Moon Balance
Eagle's Flight Balance
Wing Opener
Core Power
Hip Opener
Letting Go

If you do the entire thing, it runs 57 minutes.

It was the perfect practice for me today, because I wanted a Feel Good workout. I would not recommend it to a beginner at yoga. For example, my husband sometimes does yoga with me and we do the stretchier more relaxing type. I don't think this would be suitable for him, because she does not do a lot of basic instruction on fundamental poses.

In terms of intensity, I would say that the strength part of it was enough to warm me up enough in a cold workout room, and enjoy the stretching. But the Savasana was long enough that by the end I was lying there getting cold. I did not sweat enough to need to wash my hair afterwards. Although, if I was doing this in the summer I might have.

Erin Kirk is pleasant. She has a habit of trailing off into a whisper, which is still audible but kind of weird. I think it's supposed to be calming. She clearly enjoys practicing yoga, and it comes across in a quiet way. It always adds to my enjoyment of a workout when the instructor is enjoying him or herself. She does touch her backgrounders to emphasize an area of the body in a stretch that she is talking about, for example. That doesn't bother me, but I have seen people on VF say that that bothers them, so I thought I'd mention it.