Ashtanga Yoga: 2nd & 3rd Series
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This DVD contains the complete Second and Third Series of Ashtanga Yoga. It is designed for those already proficient at First Series. Ashtanga Yoga should be learned under the guidance and supervision of a qualified instructor and then this program may be utilzed as a tool to enhance personal practice rather than the sole avenue of learning.
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The Second and Third Series of Ashtanga Yoga as presented here by David Swenson is obviously a work of love between David Swenson and Ashtanga Yoga. David is an accomplished practitioner of Ashtanga Yoga, even presenting on another dvd even more advanced postures than on this dvd. Throughout the dvd, David keeps up a running commentary on the postures and some alternate postures – most demonstrated on the dvd – that is excellent, non invasive, helpful and informative.
David Swenson, according to the dvd box, started Ashtanga Yoga at age 13. Judging from his appearance, I am going to guess he is near 60. He studied in India with K. Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, India, learning the entire system of Ashtanga Yoga.
The Yoga practitioner needs to realize, and the box so states, that this is very advanced Yoga. In fact the common individual doing Yoga in the usual gym or YMCA will recognize only two or three of the many postures David demonstrates. This level of Yoga requires competency in several foot behind the head postures, at least seven different headstand postures, and the ability to stand on one's hands and swing either or both legs into many difficult and challenging positions moving from one to the other posture without dropping off the hands. Just doing gymnastic tiger bends is barely scratching the surface of this practice. The ability to jump the legs through under the body into different positions is taken as basic and integral. The only other practitioners I have seen make their practice at this level public is Rodney Yee on his “Advanced” dvd and also friends of David Swenson with David, all direct students of K. Pattabhi Jois, who put on examples of the Ashtanga Yoga Advanced Series on another one of David Swenson's Ashtanga Yoga dvds.
David also states emphatically that this is not an instructional dvd, but a practice meme. And that any person desiring to practice at this level needs to find a qualified instructor before even beginning. Very few individuals claim to be doing this level of Yoga.
So that all being said, the dvd is well done, well shot, well formatted, informative, entertaining for those who are curious about advanced Yoga. The only way to improve it that I can imagine is putting the English names of the postures in subscripts.
Note this dvd is copyright 2008. I have another dvd of David Swenson also doing the 2d and 3d series of Ashtanga Yoga, copyright 2002. While I did not compare the 2 dvd's in detail, they appear to be the same session as the setting and clothes are identical.
The production quality is POOR, a dark interior background with clay pots sitting around. The video is grainy, like it was videotaped back in the 70s and more recently unearthed and dubbed to DVD.
The photo and intro sequence shows a pastoral scene by a lake - but that ends there. The rest of the DVD is just ugly. I actually felt sick after watching it and trying to follow along and I've practiced yoga for 20 years. It's like watching a master contortinist with no expression or joy. Finally i said why am I doing this. THis is terrible. I can't believe I paid for this DVD.