Calm Body, Clear MindJillian Pransky
Year Released: 2014
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NOTE: I received a free copy of this DVD to review for the web site Metapsychology Online Reviews.
Prior to trying this DVD, I was not familiar with the instructor, Jillian Pransky. Pransky, an expert in restorative yoga, is the director of Restorative Yoga teacher training for YogaWorks, and she had previously released a guided meditation CD entitled "Relaxmore." In her introduction to this video, Pransky describes the practices she offers here as "simple yet powerful." The three routines can be used individually or together as a complete 75-minute practice.
The Main Menu provides the following options: Slow Flow - Restorative Poses - Relaxation - Props (a short segment by Pransky describing substitutions for yoga blocks and blankets, such as pillows and towels). For each of the routines, Pransky is featured alone in a small, pleasant studio with wood floors, and she teaches via voiceover. I have described the three practices in greater detail below.
SLOW FLOW (30 minutes)
Pransky begins seated; she spends about four minutes engaged in a gentle, breath-focused meditation. After moving through a few cat/cow stretches, she performs several series of flows, including a crescent lunge flow, a chair flow, a standing side bend flow, a warrior 2/side bend flow, a wide-legged standing forward bend, a down dog/plank flow. Pransky finishes with several floor postures--wide cobra, seated cat/cow, cobbler's pose--and then concludes the practice with a final seated meditation.
Note: each of the three restorative poses is introduced separately on-screen.
RESTORATIVE LEGS UP (10 minutes)
This posture requires three blankets and two blocks. The blocks are placed at the end of the mat with the blankets just ahead of them. The pose is performed face-up, shins resting on the blankets (with one blanket wrapped around the legs for support), heels of the feet resting on the blocks.
RESTORATIVE SURFBOARD (10 minutes)
Three blankets and two blocks are needed for this posture; one of the blankets is rolled. The two blocks are again placed at the end of the mat, this time with the rolled blanket on top. The other two blankets are stacked lengthwise at the other end of the mat. This is a face-down pose: the tops of the feet rest on the blocks, and the torso is on the blankets, with one blanket tucked up to support the head.
RESTORATIVE GODDESS (10 minutes)
This pose also requires three blankets and two blocks, with one of the blankets being rolled. The positioning of the props is exactly the same as in the previous posture. The main difference is that the body is face up, with the heels of the feet resting on the blocks and the back of the body over the blankets in a heart-opening position.
DEEP RELAXATION RECLINED (10 minutes)
For this relaxation pose, the rolled blanket remains over the two blocks, but Pransky relocates the position to under the knees. She suggested the option of resting extra blankets on the pelvis for weight and/or holding an eye bag in each hand to help ground the arms. (Personally, I preferred use of an eye bag over my eyes for all of these restorative postures, but I also found that holding a very light weight in each hand was nice for this relaxation.)
I performed this entire routine as one practice and enjoyed it very much. The music was both calming and complementary, and Pransky's voice was soothing and helpful. She does not mirror-cue, but there were very few times in the routines when this was an issue. Her use of props benefitted the practice without being cumbersome. Some pre-existing knowledge of yoga certainly would be helpful to those interested in this DVD, but otherwise, I would recommend Calm Body, Clear Mind to any level practitioner looking for a centering, relaxing practice.
As noted above, I thought that Jillian had a calming, soothing voice which fit the practice well.