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Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice--First Series With David Swenson (2008)

David Swenson , Ashtanga Yoga Productions  |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: David Swenson
  • Directors: Ashtanga Yoga Productions
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Ashtanga Yoga Productions
  • DVD Release Date: April 20, 2004
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1891252143
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,635 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

This DVD contains the complete First Series of Ashtanga Yoga preceeded by a 30-minute introduction explaining the foundations of the practice. David's delivery of the basic principles is clear and down-to-earth. He opens this practice to a variety of levels by offering varying degrees of approach. After the introduction there is a fully guided First Series practice in the traditional flowing rhythm inherent to Ashtanga Yoga. The session ends with a guided deep relaxation.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
137 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great ashtanga dvd July 17, 2008
Verified Purchase
I've practiced yoga for many years and Ashtanga yoga, specifically, for about two years. I still go to class at a studio once or twice per week, as a DVD cannot substitute for an actual teacher. However, classes are pricey, so I purchased this DVD to motivate myself and friends to do the practice at home. This DVD has been perfect.

The beauty of this DVD is that you don't have to be familiar with the Ashtanga practice to follow it. Prior yoga practice is recommended, however. A friend participated who had never practiced yoga, and he joined in and followed through the entire primary series. However, he thought it was difficult and would have preferred starting out at an easier level. That said though, you can watch the intro which explains the poses before doing the practice itself, which is a separate video on this same DVD.

Also, beginners and advanced Ashtanga practitioners can practice TOGETHER using this DVD since advanced and beginning poses are cued throughout the practice. This is wonderful because my friends and I are all at different levels but can follow the DVD together each week at my house. I LOVE THIS!! Typically, this is not possible in a class; I notice that when new students show up for class, the teacher tones the class way down, leaves out poses, etc. Now the option to do beginning and advanced versions of each pose is available.

One reviewer mentioned that this DVD gets hard at the end. Yes, the primary series is a difficult practice. But, the great thing is that you can do just the sun salutations at the beginning and consider that a full practice as long as you follow it up with corpse pose. So don't be intimated! Just stop the DVD and fast forward to the finishing sequences if you get to the point where the practice is too difficult.
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96 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is Ashtanga, the original Power Yoga February 23, 2008
This is a DVD of the Ashtanga Primary Series targeted to those who already do, or are already in the process of studying, the practice. (If you are unfamiliar with Ashtanga don't let the word "primary" fool you: this is a serious and challenging workout).

Ashtanga is a set series of poses (ie the same poses every time). It is an active, moving type of yoga. You get very hot and sweaty as you simultaniously build strength and flexiblity.

Ashtanga is a daily practice and should be learned from a competent teacher. If you are studying Ashtanga and can't make it to class every day this DVD is an excellent way to practice at home to supplement your time in class. But a live teacher is essential to make sure you are doing the practice correctly.

IF YOU ARE A YOGA BEGINNER OR NOVICE THIS DVD IS NOT TARGETED TO YOU (so please don't complain that it is too hard, too fast or lacks explanation). This is NOT meant to be a step-by-step intro to yoga in general or Ashtanga specifically.

It is an excellent DVD for those with Ashtanga experience who want to do a "led primary series". Or for those who are wondering what a full-fledged Ashtanga practice looks like.

But, if you are starting out, this is not a detailed instructional video on how to do each pose. It is a quickly moving, "led primary series" (and if you don't know what that means this DVD is probably not for you...yet anyway).
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful January 16, 2012
This is a great ashtanga dvd. Swenson is a delight to watch and is a great teacher. I love how he keeps his pace throughout the whole practice. Keeps the breath count and the calmness. This, along with Richard Freeman's dvd, are my favorite dvds on the primary series. Where Freeman is (even!) calmer and allows you to slip into the moving meditation that is ashtanga, Swenson is gentler. He is very compassionate. For all the poses he gives variations, while constantly reminding the student to be happy at the stage he/she is -and that with practice all will come.
Before the practice begins there is also a 24 minute introduction given by Swenson. He explains the bandhas, the ujjayi breathing that is to be used during the session, how to execute or modify the jump backs and jump throughs, etc.
The whole practice is about 1hr and 40 minutes long. The primary series is the first of the six series taught in this lineage. It is called 'yoga chikitsa', which apparently means 'yoga therapy'. It is designed to cleanse the body, strengthen it and make it supple. It is the very base to get the body ready for the next practices. In this series the emphasis is in forward bending and twisting -both actions cleanse the inner organs, specially the digestive system, according to the book Yoga Mala, written by the asthanga guru Pattabhi Jois. And it develops the strength of the abs through the jump throughs and jump backs, the occasional handstands and navasana. It also introduces one backbend at the end of the practice: urdva dhanurasana (the second series focus is backbending and inversions).
This video starts with sun salutes (5 of the A series and 5 of the B series) to get the body warm.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's so good it may be discouraging April 10, 2008
By yep
Although this is the first series, it's probably not the best video for a beginner. The first half of the video is simple enough, but many poses toward the end of the session seem impossible. If you've done yoga at least a few times and are looking to push yourself, then Swenson is the man to watch. If you get discouraged by watching exceptionally talented people, then you should go to a local yoga studio and not get this video. I like the video because Swenson is amazing and I can see exactly how postures should be done.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for all levels
Great for all levels. David offers options for the beginner student through the advanced student. David's voice is also very calming, which is one of things I look for in an... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Rachel M.
5.0 out of 5 stars The only first serie you need.
I can not always afford to go to classes and sometimes I don't think the teachers are that great so I have a tendency to invest in DVDs rather than classes. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Agnès
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful DVD and instruction by David Swenson!
Published 2 months ago by Tone Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars authentic and true to the tradition - great teacher and no ego
i chose this product as i do a self-practice of ashtanga yoga and felt i needed an infusion of energy from the master - i live in africa and cannot just drop in on a David Swenson... Read more
Published 6 months ago by angeline engelbrecht
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you could want and more! :D
I was looking for a good Ashtanga Yoga dvd so that I could do the practice everyday so that I could feel better living. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Lesley Wheatley
5.0 out of 5 stars haven't watched yet
We haven't watched this video yet but we watched one of david's before. My girls like his videos. They are really difficult moves. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Karen R. Roach
5.0 out of 5 stars Smooth and clear guidance
I use it everyday and six days a week! The picture quality looks old but that does not matter to me!
Published 8 months ago by rose
5.0 out of 5 stars David Swenson is the best
I bought 2 because I only had this on tape and wanted it on DVD. I also bought one for my son. It is a wonderful series taught by David.
Published 14 months ago by Judith
3.0 out of 5 stars very advanced-expert level yoga
I've never taken an Ashtanga class, so with that being said maybe this eval may not be very accurate on that specific type of yoga. Read more
Published 14 months ago by debbie
4.0 out of 5 stars David Swenson is incredible!
I love this DVD so much that when i lost my first copy in a move I didn't hesitate to purchase it again! Read more
Published 15 months ago by Moni Rose
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