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on February 21, 2013
I got this because a friend who is a yoga person said I'd like it. She was right. For those who don't know, Ashtanga yoga involves doing a predefined set of movements in sequence. It is a surprisingly hard work out that uses lots of muscle control. The idea is that as you get better and stronger, you will be able to do more of the sequence (doing all of the sequences takes several hours!). So far, I can only make it 45 mins into the sequences before my muscles get worn out but everyone one says it takes years to master so it is okay. In other words, this disc will last you years!

It is an older recording so don't expect fancy graphics or dynamic camera angles. It is very simple, a guy showing you how to get in the right positions for the ashtanga yoga sequence. There are different parts, first there is a part where he goes into detail about each position, variations of these positions based on where you are physically (I started from can't touch my toes or do a push up), and talks about breathing and movement between poses. There is another part where he just does the entire Ashtanga sequence and calls out the moves just like if you were in an instructor lead class.

This disc is a classic yoga guide for those who are just starting out (like me) and for those who are advanced but want to make sure they are performing each pose correctly (like my friend). Every ashtanga yoga person I've met so far knows David Swenson and like his instructions. It is definitely a good investment.
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on February 22, 2016
I do Ashtanga Yoga, first series with a teacher twice a week. I use this once a week and it has helped me a lot. David Swenson is amazing. He works with you at your level, and if you can't do the pose rest, watch or move on. Its an older tape, would like to get a newer one. If you are serious about your practice, this is the dvd for you.
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on March 12, 2013
I love this DVD. David's pace is quick but not impossible and his prompts are minimal but adequate and helpful. He offers encouragement and prompts to rest that are great reminders to check in with oneself.

My only complaint is that there aren't vinyasas between all of the seated postures, as I'm used to. I'm not sure if this was just something my shala did or a traditional part of the practice, but I don't feel that my body temperature stays as high--which is unfortunate for a home practice in the cold months. Very good DVD for those working on First Series!
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on February 5, 2014
I was looking for a good Ashtanga Yoga dvd so that I could do the practice everyday so that I could feel better living. David Swenson is outstanding; and I highly recommend this practice to everyone getting into Ashtanga Yoga; beginners and intermediate levels alike. He is a master; and this practice is extremely well structured in order for you to begin - really at any initial level - and to progress and build on the practice at your own pace. I cannot imagine a better practice than actually practicing with a yoga master in person :) The practice really is most healing in every aspect of life; and I continue to feel its benefits every moment!!! :D
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on July 16, 2014
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. So I have seen loads of primary series DVDs but this is the only one I use. It is the closest to going to class. The colours are a bit fade as the DVD is old but it does not disturb me. David is really good teacher, he is very clear in his instructions. His practice is very advanced which I mine is not but still I managed to follow. This DVD is in my opinion the only primary series DVD you need.
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on November 3, 2012
pros

- offers modifications so you can work up to a posture. Beginners to Ashtanga will find this particularly useful as the postures are challenging and most people will not be able to do them straight away. Most DVDs, true to the culture of Ashtanga yoga don't mention modifications so this is DVD is a jewel in this respect.
- encouraging throughout the DVD and contains constant reminders on working at your own pace, respecting your body's limits.
- likeable speaking voice.

cons

- possibly a little quick on the breath count.
- could do with a few more alignment points.

Overall, one of my favourite Ashtanga DVDs.
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on December 28, 2010
This is a great video for those who have practiced the 1st series astanga before. If you never have I don't recommend it! It is not for beginners or anyone who is not practiced yoga before. And I do think even if you practice at home you should practice under a teacher every so often. It is hard to get good at yoga without guidance and can be dangerous. If you haven't practiced in awhile I suggest doing only the standing posses the first day and easing your way into the whole practice. I am above average on the fitness scale, I had not practiced in awhile and I was very sore for quite a few days. David's instruction is great! Have fun!
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on May 25, 2010
I have been practicing yoga for 11 years and have moved to a place where it is difficult to find a good class.
This video has been a lifesaver!
The series is challenging, with modifications for less advanced students, or for those days when you just aren't feeling up to your full practice. Swenson stresses the importance of breathing, of being present, of listening to your body and all of the factors essential to a deep yoga practice. Since yoga has become so popular a lot of classes and instructors have begun to treat it as a work-out, creating a stressful, competitive atmosphere which only leads to injury.
Swenson understands that yoga isn't about pushing your body into contortionist poses, but rather using breathing and poses which your body is ready for to release your mind.
I would recommend this practice to anyone. If you just listen to the instructor and your body, you will get to where you need to be with your practice. Comparing yourself with the instructor and competing has no place in yoga. He is there to help you deepen your practice over time.
Enjoy!
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on September 25, 2010
I used to own this series in VHS form. I found it on CD and purchased it. The quality of the picture could be a little crisper but fine for its purpose. The opening sequence showing David Swenson in various advanced poses is amazing! Don't be discouraged by this demo. His introduction is very thorough and reassuring that the goal of yoga is the effort, focus and breath rather than being able to achieve a particular pose. There are variations to every pose (which I utilize) to fit everyone's ability. If you think yoga is just meditation and not physically challenging, David will change your mind! I am not vigilant with this practice but always feel much better afterward no matter how much or little I get through the series. A great adjunct to any workout regimen.
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on April 22, 2013
I had never practiced any form of yoga before buying this DVD on a friend's recommendation. David does an excellent job explaining the breathing and muscle techniques, as well as giving a number of options to cover people of all ranges of flexibility. After doing only a few weeks worth of practice, 4-5 nights per week, I am noticing a significant increase in my range of motion across my postures. The breathing practice is something you can take with you everywhere, and has even helped me with other areas of fitness and training.
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