Video Fitness


John Schumacher

I recently purchased a set of 3 CDs by John Schumacher. They were $45 total (or $15 a peice - they can be purchased separately). They are:

Volume 1: A Basic Daily Routine
Volume 2: Foundations: Standing Poses: Upright & Inverted
Volume 3: Pranayama: Preparations and Beginnings

You can purchase them by snail mail by printing out a form on (his website). I sent in a check and got them just over a week later (very prompt!).

While Volume 1 has been around a while on cassette, Volume II and III are relatively new.

First a few comments about the practices. The asana practices in Volume I and II are pure Iyengar. This is not power yoga - no sun salutations - just moving right into each pose. The instruction is extremely detailed which is a signature of the Iyengar style and the cues are not typical of aerobics or weight lifting - the language is different.

There is no background music, just John's voice giving detailed instruction. The asana CDs only have 2 tracks - both spilt into standing poses in the first track and seated or inversions in the second track. The Pranayama CD has 15 tracks and they can be used together or in various ways after a practice. All the Volumes are 1 hour long.

Second comment: If you are not used to Iyengar yoga, it would be worth taking a class from an Iyengar teacher or reaching one of the great books on / by Iyengar. I know for me, I was doing all power yoga videos (Baptiste, Kest, etc) and did not have the maturity or concentration to do these types of practices. They don't burn a ton of calories but if you give them your undivided attention, the rewards are amazing. I always feel a wonderful sensation after I finish Iyengar yoga - my yoga teacher says it is the "prana" flowing around my body. Despite my saying this, there is no woo-woo factor in these - just pure detailed instruction.

If you like Anasura yoga, or Kest's Long Slow Deep or his Spinal Strengthening CD, or Eric Schiffman's Live or Backyard series, you may like these. These are also like John Friend's Alignment and Form - one of the only other pure Iyengar videos that I know of.

So - as you might be able to tell - I loved these CDs. I can't pinpoint the magic of this style of yoga - if you watched me do the CDs they would look like very simple movements. The attention to details make it easy to concentrate on what you are doing and not all the spurious things that go through your mind.

So here goes:

Volume I: track 1 -
- Mountain
- Tree
- Triangle
- Warrior 1 & 2
- Intense Side Stretch
-Extended Leg Stretch
- Standing Forward Bend
- Leg Lifts
Track 2
- Thunderbolt
- Hero
- Sta
- Downard Dog
- Four Point Sta
- Bridge
- Twist
- Head - Knee Posterior Stretch
- Corpse

Volume II
Track 1
- Mountain
- Triangle
- Flank Stretch
- Warrior 1
- Half Moon
- Warrior III
- Revolved Triangle
- Intense Side Stretch
- Sanding Forward Bend
Track 2
- Thunderbolt
- shoulder stretch
- easy pose on both sides
- cow face on both sides
- hero
- Forward bending hero
- Sta
- downward dog
- head stand
- shoulder stand
- plow

There is no savasana on this CD.

Volume 3
This is the paranayma CD but it really is a mix of relaxation and breathing exercises. I have Richard Freemans pranayama set and I prefer the instruction to this one. I can't pinpoint it but I'm literally gone from the outside world when I do parts of this CD. This is an excellent addition to my collection becuase I tend to focus on the physical side of yoga.

He has several savansa tracks and several breath awareness tracks and then several tracks with special breathing exercises. There are 15 tracks in all.

There are very few pure Iyengar practices available - if you like Iyengar, you will love these practices.

John, like Eric Schiffman, has a unique way of teaching - you can't pinpoint it - but the style works.

As you can tell - I strongly recommend these practices.

Instructor comments: John is a respected Iyengar instructor so it was a great to be able to practice with his instruction

Christine Miyachi