Customer Reviews: Elem: Intro To Yoga (dvd)
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This DVD offers two yoga practices just over a half-hour each by Tamal Dodge, a yoga instructor raised in Hawaii. As with all the DVDs the Element series, the routines are filmed outdoors in a beautiful poolside garden setting overlooking the ocean. Dodge is featured alone in both practices, instructing via voiceover. The only props used are a yoga mat and an optional yoga block.

The Main Menu offers the option to Play Yoga Fundamentals or Play Intermediate Yoga. I have described each practice in further detail below.

Dodge begins this practice seated on his heels (option of using a block) focusing on the breath; he instructs victorious (ujjayi) breathing here. Moving to standing on the knees, Dodge performs a spinal twist. He then comes to all fours for modified chaturanga, flowing from this position to cobra pose three times. Next, Dodge comes into downward facing dog, practicing this posture with breath retention. At this point, he walks the feet to the hands into a forward bend, moving into several rounds of quarter- and then half-sun salutations. This is followed by a standing pose series. Dodge starts with warrior 1 to open warrior, then moves from a very brief warrior 2 into side angle pose. Straightening the front leg, he comes into triangle pose and then revolved triangle. He concludes the standing series with chair pose before repeating the entire sequence on the other side. Transitioning with down dog (again with breath retention), Dodge moves to seated for a seated forward bend, a bent leg seated twist, and half boat. Coming to his back, he performs bridge pose with the option of using of block for supported bridge. The final posture is a bent leg reclined twist. Dodge then cues savasana, or final resting pose. (Note: for most of the postures, he uses both the English and the Sanskrit name.) After resting for about 2.5 minutes, he comes to seated to conclude the practice.

For this routine, Dodge starts standing, again with a focus on the the breath. After performing a side stretch, he moves into three rounds of sun salutations (adding in jump backs as he proceeds), he ends with down dog with breath retention. He then performs a sequence that begins with side plank and moves into modified crescent lunge, full crescent lunge, warrior 2, triangle, half moon, standing splits, warrior 3, and chair pose; the entire series is then repeated on the other side. The standing postures are followed by three variations of standing forward bend. Transitioning with a hold of toe squat, Dodge performs a seated pigeon variation (tailor's pose) followed by balancing bound angle (feet in the air) and a seated twist with optional bind. (Note: Dodge states that some of this work activates the fast twitch versus slow twitch muscles.) The final postures include a reclined elevated tree and a reclined twist. Dodge leaves time for only a brief (2 minutes) final rest before again finishing in a seated position.

Dodge is an engaging instructor with a pleasant manner. Although he is encouraging and provides form pointers throughout the practices, he does not offer nearly he level of instruction necessary for a true beginner to yoga. Even in the Fundamentals practice, he moves fairly quickly into postures, not allowing sufficient setup time for those new to the practice. Furthermore, he includes some postures that would likely be extremely challenging for an inexperienced yogi, such as revolved triangle pose. As an intermediate practice, the Intermediate Yoga is a nice routine, but with the inclusion of even more advanced poses (e.g., half moon, standing splits), this entire practice seems out of place on a "introductory" DVD.

In terms of the quality of these practices, I would give this DVD 4 stars, but in rating the appropriateness for beginning yogis, this DVD gets only 3 out of 5 stars for me. However, if you are a more experienced beginner who is already familiar with basic yoga postures, ELEMENT: INTRO TO YOGA may work for you.
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on February 4, 2013
I have purchased the other two yoga DVDs from Tamal Dodge and I absolutely loved them, and this is no exception. Although I must say that this was a little more challenging. Which I loved it, because I was looking for a yoga DVD that could be a little more challenging. However I would assume that someone who is just starting yoga might be a little difficult for them. You hold certain poses that test you balance and it can can be a little difficult not to fall out of the pose. Tamal is great instructor and the ocean view in the DVD is absolutely stunning. I would recommend to everyone to buy his DVDs, you wont regret it.
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on March 3, 2014
Tamal Dodge is one of my favorites. His approach to every practice is so mindful & relaxing. I love his instructing style & how he's able to explain to you the benefits of every single pose. His shavasana's will put you in a trance...
As a somewhat experienced yogi, I find both Intro & Intermediate practices challenging & satisfying in their own right. If you're a beginner, you'll definitely have to warm up to this DVD, especially the intermediate. Tamal is amazing at making you constantly aware of your breath regardless of how difficult the pose is you're holding. He does not rush so you're holding each for a nourishing amount of time.
I would also recommend his Yoga for Energy & Relaxation as it is SLIGHTLY less intense.
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on June 11, 2013
This is a great yoga dvd. I have the first one by him. At first it seems really easy, but it is actually very challenging, The poses definitely challenge your balance. Anyone who has taken yoga classes before and is familiar with the poses that wants a hard workout will enjoy this dvd. I alternate this one with his first dvd to mix it up a little. Great dvd. I will get the next one he comes out with as well.
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on February 5, 2014
I love this instructor's cues. There are two programs, beginner and intermediate. Both are excellent. If you are new to yoga, this video will take you through the beginner level and into the intermediate level.
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on February 21, 2013
I used to do yoga frequently, but between life and kids it's been 4 or 5 years. I thought since it was titled as an intro, it would be relatively easy paced and he would explain what we were doing. I was very wrong. I now refer to this instructor as Mr. Gumby man on crack. You jump right into poses and movements without enough explanation to them. maybe if I had watched the video 5 or 6 times before attempting to follow along with it, I would be ok, but to just put it it and work out? Not so much. He is calming (when I'm not swearing at him) and he does seem to know what he's talking about, but this is definitely more for people with more advanced yoga knowledge.
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on August 8, 2015
I love his instruction! It's clear and I get enough time in each pose. Some videos I have move too fast for my liking. Even in a power yoga sequence, I like to stay in the pose long enough to feel it. I just wish he had a 60 minute video on the market for when I have time for an hour. I have another video from him, as well. Both are great. I will say that this grouping seems a little off because the first video is truly beginner, while the second seems quite advanced. I'm somewhere in between, so I don't go to this one as much as the other one (Yoga for Energy/Relaxation). It's another dvd with two options. I still like this video because I sometimes like to go back and review basics of posture and breathing. Plus, it's nice for a more gentle workout if I am not up for more.
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on May 29, 2014
I have yet to be disappointed with an Element DVD, and this one was no exception.

Instructor/Instruction: Tamal Dodge's voice is very soothing. It's a voice over style, which I like. His sequencing flows. His cuing is very good, but the true beginner who may want to watch this once before moving along with the DVD. He gives a lot of pointers on what the poses do to the body and mind. He doesn't always show or tell how to do some modifications though. He seems very sincere in his teaching, and I would take a class from him in person, given the chance. Each practice is about 34 minutes in length and includes a short savasana.

Setting: It's filmed outside, in a beautiful garden on an ocean. It's beautiful and soothing. Element seems to use the same place.

Music: It's new age ambient - relaxing and soothing.

Programs: There are two programs on here. The beginner program is easy but requires strength and balance. The intermediate requires more strength and balance. However, even a true beginner can benefit from both programs. Both programs will develop endurance, strength, flexibility and balance.

Props: a foam block is used for some asanas, but it's not completely necessary.

This is a nice introduction to yoga. It moves a little slow for me, but it really is good for developing a very good understanding of basic yoga poses. If you're new to yoga and seeking to advance your practice, this is an excellent choice.
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on June 18, 2016
I love the Element Yoga series. Tamal Dodge is great. I own three of his DVDs, which are all fantastic. All three of his programs give me an excellent workout, help stretch me out and help relax me at the end.
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on January 20, 2015
Have used all of Tamal Dodge Yoga DVD through the library for a couple of years and find they are the best out of all the ones I have tried over many years. I was lucky to have been drawn to these. He is so informative and he is so humble - no show pony like many other Yoga DVD's just the real deal. Thank you.
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