Top positive review
215 people found this helpful
Excellent beginner program
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.