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on January 4, 2003
I originally purchased this in VHS format. This is a very good program for absolute beginners, as I was when I started with it. However, even after using the program frequently enough that I have literally memorized it, I find that I enjoy it enough that I continue using it almost daily, although I now also have other sources of instruction. The program does progress slowly and does not focus much on the breathing, although there are breathing cues given at specific points. However, for someone who is just beginning to explore yoga, slowness is a benefit, not a drawback, and there is enough to worry about when trying to align the poses correctly without also worrying about trying to breathe in a specific manner, and the Iyengar yoga style in general reserves breath control beyond just trying to remember to breathe regularly and evenly for people above the raw beginner level. Patrica Walden does a very good job of explaining the basics for each pose, and if you read the booklet which comes with the DVD or the tape, you get a much more detailed description of each pose, as well as suggested modifications and suggested variations to try on your own. At first, if you are anything like I was (in pretty decent shape, relatively young - ok, 31 when I started with it - and not overweight but not the most flexible person on earth either), you will WANT the slowness, because you will be very tired, sore, and out-of-breath in between poses. Once you begin working more comfortably in the poses, you can use the fast-forward and skip buttons on the DVD remote in order to speed up the program and make things faster and more of a workout. Plus, the poses selected are a very good set of basic poses, primarily standing poses, and they quickly begin to build up your strength and flexibility, which makes the program a very good program to begin with. Also, almost all of the poses can be done entirely without props, although they will likely help, and the props which you will likely want can be fairly easily substituted with household items (i.e., blocks, a strap, and a chair), unlike some of the other beginner programs I have seen which utilize large bolsters in addition to blocks and a strap. In fact, I recommend this particular program so highly that I recently gave it to my own mother when she expressed an interest in exploring yoga, and I have recommended it to several friends.
A complementary DVD is Yoga Basics, also by Patricia Walden, which gives more seated poses and twists. Although there is some overlap with this DVD, the two are worth having together. As for the bonus Yoga for Flexibility program, I thought it was made fairly clear that those poses are fairly advanced ones not intended for beginners, but I like having the program on the DVD because it gives me something else to work with once I have become more of a master of the other poses.
I do recommend getting this program on DVD rather than VHS, especially with good single-disc DVD players down way under the $... mark and cheap adapters available at Radio Shack for those of us with elderly TVs. The DVD makes the program easier to fast-forward through when you are ready to work at a faster pace, and I wore the video tape just about out after using it nearly every day for months.
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on August 19, 2004
I've taken a few Iyengar yoga classes, so the material on this DVD wasn't new to me. If you are interested in getting started with yoga I would suggest taking an instructor-led class, as the instructor will be able to give you immediate feedback on your poses. Trying to copy what an expert is doing on TV is difficult at best, and you could end up hurting yourself.

Having said that, I found this to be the best DVD on yoga among the ones I've seen. Even the short opening sequence where Ms. Walden does a series of poses in Death Valley is worth watching on its own. I found her to be a good instructor, not too spacey but also warm and pleasant to watch. Don't miss the bonus interview with Patricia, as she gives some good pointers about maintaining a practice.

If you've never done yoga before, you might find some of her instructions bizarre, like "Soften the throat". In my Iyengar yoga class several years ago the instructor said the same things, so when I heard Patricia repeat them I realized that this is part of the Iyengar program. And I've also discovered that many of the seemingly odd comments are actually useful for making yourself aware of what your body is telling you, even after the session is over.

At first I was a little put off by the extended instruction given during the exercises, which others have pointed out makes this not a workout DVD at all. I disagree--you can either skip over those parts or continue holding the pose while the instruction is going on. This is something you would have to experience during a beginner class anyway, so get used to interruptions when you're first getting started.

Also, don't expect to be able to do the poses exactly the way the instructor does them (or even close). Find your own limits and don't push yourself too hard to go beyond them. This is not a competition; it's about relaxing and feeling good about yourself, no matter what your ability level.

In short, don't expect Patricia's DVD to answer all your questions about yoga, but it's a useful tool that you can use to increase your flexibility, calm your nerves, and improve your life. Namaste.
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on March 10, 2008
This is a wonderful DVD of a beginner's yoga practice. Patricia Walden takes her time in explaining each posture and on the more involved moves, she has a preview before moving into the actual posture. I was worried I would not be able to do the DVD as most of the "beginner's" practices I have seen are way too advanced. This practice actually seems to make the assumption (correctly) that you are not yet flexible enough to do all the moves. If you are interested in taking up a practice but want to advance slowly and properly, this is the one.
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VINE VOICEon January 9, 2009
This was my first yoga DVD purchase. Although it has it's good points, it' just not really what I was looking for. Here are some main points I noticed about it:
1. It emphasizes alignment to help you do the posture correctly.
2. It is very slow...some people may like this aspect, but for me it was too slow. There is so much emphasis on getting everything right that the whole practice seems like it takes a long time.
3. They emphasize the use of props.
4. The back of the case does not mention that the basis for this DVD is Iyengar yoga, which tends to be rather slow and gentle and emphasizes alignment (as said above).
5. If you need extra info on a particular pose, you can go to a place on the DVD that will explain it for a minute and then go back to where you were.
6. There are 2 sections of asanas: the first is the long drawn out explanation of all the poses. The 2nd is the poses being done without any verbal cuing or instruction and is relatively fast.

If you are interested in slow, gentle yoga this may be a good place to start. I personally am more drawn to other types.
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on August 11, 2002
This DVD contains two yoga programs that have been reviewed in VHS format:
*Yoga Journal's Yoga for Beginners
*Yoga Journal's Yoga for Flexibility.
The Yoga for Beginners DVD is loaded with over 3 hours of content. The DVD format provides flexibility in using the programs for practice - fixing one of the complaints reviewers had with the VHS format of the program. For example, the programs have sub-menus that allow you to skip the prologues (i.e. Patricia Walden practicing backbends in Death Valley) and there's a section of the DVD main menu that allows you to choose poses to practice without watching the entire program. Yoga for Flexibility and a nice interview with Patricia Walden are located in the "Bonus" menu of the DVD. There's also a booklet that describes each pose demonstrated in Yoga for beginners.
All in all this is an excellent introduction to Yoga practice and a lot of programming at an extraordinarily reasonable price.
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on August 17, 2006
This video, from 1990, is an excellent introduction to many of the basic yoga poses. Those demonstrated on this video include:

Mountain Pose (tadasana)
Triangle Pose
Warrior II Pose (proud warrior)
Side-Stretch Pose (a sort of combination of Triangle Pose and Proud Warrior)
Downward Facing Dog Pose
Standing Forward Bend
Sitting Forward Bend
Cobbler's Pose
Staff Pose, etc.

Patricia Walden has a grace and patience to her demeanor which makes this video very therapeutic, and she is an excellent teacher. The focus is on relaxation and going inward, though many of the poses, such as Proud Warrior and Triangle Pose, will give you a good workout and test your endurance and stamina. Iyengar yoga is distinguished in part by its usage of props such as blocks, straps, and cushions for beginners, and Patricia utilizes these in some of the poses on this video; thus, if you are a true beginner -- or just not that flexible -- then these props (which you can make at home with a blanket, a belt, etc) will make some of the more challenging poses easier for you. If you are looking for a very upbeat workout which will wake you up and help you burn alot of calories, this is probably not the right video for you. However if you would like a challenging, yet soothing, introduction to Iyengar yoga from one of the best teachers out there, do not hesitate to buy this video.
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on April 11, 2006
I was surprise on the negative reviews. Actually, this will be my second time purchasing this video and I really enjoyed it. I have tried other programs on Yoga and none of them had showed such a soothing and simple way to enjoy the benefits of Yoga. I had to do a fashion show and was very self conscious and intimidated by the other models. I started using this video and I developed so much self confidence and energy that I thought I could never have. Sure it's at a slow pace, but I think the video was trying not to intimidate anyone who is trying Yoga for the first time. Just this morning, I was feeling really tired. I remembered a pose for rejuvenation of the body in the video and it still worked for me like the first time I did it. That is why I'm ordering this video again because it's simple and anyone can benefit from it.
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on July 14, 2003
I read over some of the reviews below, and it is obvious that these reviewers are not following the instructions of the video. This tape is great for a beginner who is seriously interested in entering a regular yoga practice. Don't expect a "workout" at first. Yoga is not for "working out." It is a practice that unifies the body, mind and spirit, and it takes time and practice to get the full benefits of even the simplest pose. Once you master the poses more and more, you will definitely experience much greater flexibility and strength, and you will indeed experience increased body head and heart rhythm as you do the postures. I can't recommend this video enough. It's a great beginning. **Don't try doing the stretches without the brick supports recommended in this video.
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on December 21, 2008
I don't understand the negative reviews of this dvd. I used this dvd when I first became interested in the practice of yoga. I now teach yoga & this is the dvd I recommend to new students who want to practice at home but don't know what to do. Patricia Walden gives excellent direction to move you safely into and out of the postures. Walden is Iyengar trained, so she pays attention to alignment & offers different ways to explore postures. And, yes, there are a few props used. Maybe the people who wrote the negative reviews aren't interested in proper alignment or learning to "walk before running". Sometimes people want to "jump into" more challenging postures before they've explored the foundation postures. This can lead to injury.
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on October 18, 2006
If you are looking for a yoga that will make you gasp for breath and sweat like crazy, this is NOT the DVD for you. However, if you are looking for a yoga DVD will help you do the poses correctly and with the proper alignment, this IS the DVD for you.

Prior to purchasing this DVD I had only tried Rodney Yee's 3-pack Power Yoga VHS tapes. I liked his tapes because they only took about 25 minutes to do, however I was looking to expand my yoga practice. I was under the erroneous impression that in order to actually reap the physical benefits of a yoga "workout" I would have to do strictly Power Yoga. I have found this to be untrue. I have come to believe that yoga, whether vigorous or restorative in nature, helps the body in many ways, not the least of which is physical appearance. The ability to relieve stress and calm me body and mind has been surprising. I find that after I do this yoga DVD I "feel" better body and mind, and I have noticed changes in my physical appearance as a result.

I really cannot say enough wonderful things about this DVD. I know some people have commented about Patricia's wardrobe, the music, and the background; but if you are doing the poses and concentrating on what you are doing and how the poses make you feel, these other things become less important, not that any of the above even remotely affected my experience negatively.
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