Customer Reviews: A.M. Yoga for Your Week
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on June 12, 2008
This yoga dvd follows Gaiam's usual formula - beautiful scenery, voice-over instruction, and soothing background music. A new feature is the ability to choose between detailed or minimal audio instruction - very nice once you've practiced the routine a few times. The interview with Rodney Yee gives some good insight into his path toward yoga. The best part is the routines themselves. New yoga concepts are presented, not just a re-packaging of the many titles featuring Rodney Yee that you may have seen and practiced. He offers advice during the routines that seems small but makes the poses work so much better.
The twists segment is my favorite.
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on July 23, 2008
We must confess that Rodney Yee is one of our favorite DVD-Yoga-Teachers. This DVD is great for three main reasons: 1) variety of routines = 5, 2) ability to have either detailed instruction or limited instruction, and 3) the routines are NEW. Gaiam has often repackaged routines from their library & so in the past you may have thought you were getting something new to add to your dvd library and you were actually getting something you already had. Very pleased with the purchase.
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on July 15, 2008
In this DVD, you can do a different sequence each day of the week. As I interpret the default order of the choices, they are just right for the five-day workweek: standing poses to get your motor runnin' first thing Monday morning; backbends on Wednesday (over-the-hump-day) to counteract the effects of slumping over the computer; hip-openers on Friday to open you up after a week of being chair-bound. The twists (Tuesday) and forward bends (Thursday) are delightful additions and could be done interchangeably. Take advantage of extra time on the weekends to do more than one of the sequences.

On days that I prefer a more well-rounded morning practice, I do the A.M. portion of the Yee/Walden A.M./P.M. Yoga for beginners CD, then follow it up with a more targeted sequence from Yee's A.M. Yoga for Your Week. That combination loosens me up and primes me for a more challenging workout later in the day, whether it be yoga, pilates, kickboxing, hiking, whatever.

Oh, and the cinematography is as breathtaking as the music is enchanting. A delightful experience!
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Rodney Yee, a veteran yoga instructor as well as the featured instructor of many yoga videos and DVDs, has recently released this new offering, AM Yoga for Your Week. The intent was to provide five 20-minute practices (but note that the actual practice times vary from 22-26 minutes) which could be used during busy weekday mornings to get the day off to a good start. In reality, these five excellent yoga sessions, each of which has a different focus, are appropriate for use at ANY time of the day. Although each individual practice revolves around a specific body area/group of postures, each are well-rounded, stand-alone yoga sessions. I have described the five practices briefly below.

STANDING, 22.5 minutes
Standing postures include standing forward bend, tree, triangle, side angle pose, warrior 1, and warrior 2; standing forward bend is performed in-between some of these poses. The standing poses conclude with chair and wide-legged standing forward bend before moving to the floor for hero and then finishing in relaxation pose. Yee offers some particularly nice form pointers while holding the standing poses.

TWISTS, 26 minutes
This practice opens with a series of reclined twists (one of which uses a strap). Yee then transitions to standing with down dog and standing forward bend for revolved prayer twist and crazy dog. Coming back to seated in cobbler's pose, he performs a twist in wide-legged seated pose and two variations on Sage 3 posture. This practice finishes with half Lord of the fishes, cobra, and relaxation pose.

BACK BENDS, 25 minutes
Yee starts here by rolling two blankets together to create a bolster for under the upper back; he lies over this for a gentle lying backbend. Coming to standing, he moves through a variation on sun salutations which include standing backbend, chair, down dog, warrior 2, side angle, warrior 1, and crescent lunge. He then moves to the floor for cobra, bow, and camel. After finishing with the backbending work, Yee nicely stretches out the body with cobbler's pose, simple seated twist, reclined leg stretch (using a strap if needed); he finished with relaxation pose.

FORWARD BENDS, 24 minutes
This practice begins in a reclined position for a series of moves that felt more like hip openers than forward bends: reclined leg stretch (using a strap if needed), happy babies pose, and thread-the-needle. Next Yee gradually transitions to standing through child's pose, down dog, standing forward bend, wide angle standing forward bend, and 3-legged down dog. Coming back to the floor for seated forward bends, he performs a simple cross-legged forward bend, head-to-knee pose, full seated forward bend, cobbler's forward bend, and wide-legged forward bend, finishing with a brief rest and then relaxation pose. To my surprise, this segment was probably my favorite, as it had a great mix of postures.

HIP OPENERS, 26 minutes
This segment uses a yoga block. It starts with a seated opening vinyasa in which Yee flows from staff pose to cobbler's to wide-legged seated pose, gradually speeding this up and also adding half-boat pose. He next does a simple cross-legged forward bend before incorporating the block. Keeping one leg stretched straight out in front, he first rests the other knee on the block, then brings the knee out to the side at a right angle. He also uses the block for cobbler's pose with the block between the feet. Additional postures which follow include pigeon, revolved crescent lunge, double pigeon, half Lord of the fishes, wide-legged seated forward bend, and cobbler's forward bend. The practice concludes with lightning pose, hero's pose on the block, and relaxation.

Despite Yee's long history of making yoga videos, he has still managed to offer something that feels fresh and new here. As always, his cueing is impeccable (although mirrored cueing would be even better!), and he offers wonderful form pointers which help you to get into the postures more deeply. Although I wouldn't recommend this DVD for those brand-new to yoga (Yee doesn't give quite that level of instruction), more experienced beginners and beyond should do fine. In conclusion, the practices are amazing, the instructor is extremely skilled, and the scenery is breathtaking--what's not to like? Highly recommended!
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on December 8, 2008
Well the scenery is beautiful, but I wasn't thrilled with the presentation. I thought it would be 5 mini-sessions modeled after Gaiam's "AM & PM yoga dvd" that I love and recommend to everyone. That DVD had a 20 minute full body session that warmed you up, had great hip openers, back bends, twists, etc and had a bit of meditation at the end. I thought this DVD would be like that one, having a warm up and a meditation for each, but focusing on different areas/stretches each day. It's not. When you start, say, the "hip openers" selection, Rodney Yee is already warmed up and going super fast for someone who just woke up (it is AM yoga after all, and I get up at 4:45 AM) then he slows down later but by then you are all frazzled and trying to keep up and the whole idea of starting your day with some tranquility and a nice little stretch is out the window. The stretch is there, but I am recovering from an injury so I need the warm up so that I don't re-injure myself. I guess I could do a warm up before the DVD, but I bought the DVD for this purpose so I guess I'm a little disappointed... Plus, they say it is 5 - 20 minute sessions, but they are closer to 30 minutes each, which is nice to get more than you expected, but not when you're trying to get out the door on time! I guess I'm back to the same routine from "AM & PM yoga" every day w/ Rodney.
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on October 26, 2009
You won't find many surprises in these five 20-minute yoga sequences, just solid sequencing of bedrock poses--not a bad thing in my book. The pace of each practice is moderate, with medium length holds of poses (a possible exception is the repeated cycles within the hip opener sequence, which some may find a bit quick). Despite the short time frame and leisurely pace, each sequence manages to pack a surprisingly good selection of asanas within its particular theme: standing poses, twists, backbends, forward bends, or hip openers. The standing sequence is fairly standard, but each of the other series is more creative. Twist incorporates reclining, standing, and seated twists. The backbend sequence is dynamic and graceful. The forward bend sequence includes both standing and seated asanas. The hip opener series works repetitively and progressively. Sequences can be strung together for a longer practice, but only manually. The music is pleasant and unobtrusive, mostly wind instruments with some drums. The scenery is typical Gaiam-beautiful.

I don't notice anything especially "A.M." about the sequences--they can each be done at any time. If anything, all but the more fluid backbend sequence could use a warm up, so time permitting, I do a few sun salutations first, or start with backbends when linking multiple sequences. The "full instruction" audio track assumes some knowledge of the asanas, and consists mostly of cues for moving between postures and helpful alignment reminders within each pose. There is also a "minimal instruction" audio track that is nice once the sequence is familiar. Some asanas reappear in a number of sequences, allowing for increased familiarity and progress over time. I was pleasantly surprised to find a Spanish language audio track as well, well translated and cued in a pleasant voice that matched Rodney Yee's own rather nicely.

Overall, this is a decent addition to my yoga library, which I use mostly for quick fixes, lazy days, or as a stretch or cool down after a workout. I am an early intermediate yoga practitioner, but can see this being of use to most levels of practitioners, from slightly advanced beginners (those with basic familiarity of the asanas) on. Here is my best shot at an asana list, not including linking or repeated poses: STANDING SEQUENCE: Mountain, Standing Forward Bend, Down Dog, Lunge, Tree, Triangle, Standing Forward Bend, Side Angle, Warrior 1, Standing Forward Bend, Warrior 2, Wide Angle Standing Forward Bend, Chair, Hero, Relaxation. TWISTS: Reclined Mountain, Reclined Bent Knee Single Leg Twist, Reclined Bent Knee Double Leg Twist, Reclined Single Leg Stretch, Down Dog, Standing Forward Bend, Single Bent Legged Down Dog Twist, Crescent Lunge, Standing Forward Bend, Cobbler's Pose Forward Bend, Seated Wide Angle Forward Bend, Simple Cross-legged Twist, Sage Twist, Half Fish Twist, Cobra, Relaxation. BACKBENDS: Supported Reclined Mountain, Mountain, Sun Salutations, Side Angle Pose, Warrior 1, High Cobra, Bow, Camel, Cobbler's Pose, Bent Knee Twist, Reclined Single Leg Stretch, Relaxation. FORWARD BENDS: Reclined Single Leg Stretch, Happy Baby Pose, Thread the Needle Pose, Rock Up to Sitting, Child Pose, Down Dog, Standing Forward Bend, Standing Wide Angle Forward Bend, Single Leg Down Dog, Simple Cross Legged Forward Bend, Seated Single Leg Forward Bend, Seated Forward Bend, Cobbler's Pose Forward Bend, Seated Wide Angle Forward Bend, Reclined Cobbler's Pose, Relaxation. HIP OPENERS: Cycle Repetitions of Staff, Cobbler's, and Seated Wide Angle Pose, first two also interspersed with Boat, Simple Cross-legged Forward Bend, Hip-Knee Rotations, Cobbler's Pose, Down Dog, Pigeon, Reclined Pigeon, Crescent Lunge, Simple Cross-Legged Forward Bend, Half Fish Twist, Seated Wide Angle Forward Bend, Cobbler's Pose Forward Bend, Hero, Relaxation.
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on July 7, 2008
Rodney Yee's DVDs are all great, but this is my favorite because there are five 20-minute routines - one for each day of the week Monday through Friday. Though they are easy, they are beyond my current fitness level. Nevertheless, the instructions are clear and I'm never encouraged to do more than I can. I have never gotten injured while using a Rodney Yee DVD.
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on August 2, 2008
If you are a procrastinator, busy or new to yoga, this is the best DVD you could possibly purchase to integrate yoga into your life. I'm a procrastinator and, while I always -want- to do yoga, I always find 800 things that need to be done instead. This DVD, though, presents 20-minute yoga sessions to be done in the morning. No more daunting 60 minute commitment. I can have my yoga, coffee and shower within an hour of waking up, causing no interruption to my routine.

The box claims that there is a bonus "daily deep breathing and meditation guide" but I can't find it (and I've done all of the sessions, so the bonus isn't like some secret level that gets unlocked when you complete all your missions). My suspicion is that the box is referring to Rodney Yee telling me to breathe as part of the routine instruction and doing relaxation work at the end. I consider that standard, however, and will continue to believe that there is, in fact, no bonus feature as claimed.
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on February 18, 2010
I've been practicing yoga on and off for about five years now, and have used some of Rodney Yee's DVD's before. I just didn't care for this one. I didn't like the Grand Canyon setting, I didn't really like the music, and in my opinion, the stretches and poses were a little intense for a "right-out-of-bed" workout. It left me feeling stiff instead of limber and relaxed, and it was more difficult than I thought it would be. This is probably my fault for not going with something labeled BEGINNER or GENTLE POSES, but be ye warned: if you're looking for a gentler, more meditative start to the day, this is probably not for you.
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on January 28, 2010
This is my hands-down favorite DVD, but it does have one flaw. Fortunately, I've just found Yoga - Core Cross Train, which addresses the missing element of "AM Yoga for Your Week."

AM Yoga contains five short workouts (around 25 minutes) suitable to do at home in the morning before you go to work. This is the only reliable time I have to exercise, and I simply don't have time for a 60 to 90 minute workout. Each of the five workouts focuses on one aspect of flexiblity, and each contains a secondary emphasis on strength using isometric exercises. The first is standing poses (for overall flexibility and balance), the second is forward bends (flexbility in your hamstrings and back), the third is for flexibility in the hips, the fourth is backbends to open your shoulders & upper back & chest, and the fifth is twists (looser movement).

Taken together, these five workouts are almost (oh-so-close) to being ballanced. But after doing these AM Yoga workouts most mornings for about 6-months (yes, really!), I noticed that while most of my body felt better and more flexible, my upper back still felt relatively tense and inflexible and often tense by the end of the day. Intermediate workouts (e.g., focusing on the plow or headstand) focus on the right area, but there is a large jump in flexibility from AM Yoga to a headstand. The missing element is present in Yoga - Core Cross Train. I highly recommend getting that DVD to compliment this one.
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