Shiva Rea: Flow Yoga for Beginners
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A superb introduction to one of the most beneficial and rewarding forms of yoga
Flow yoga, also called vinyasa yoga, combines flowing movement with rhythmic breathing for a dynamic mind-body workout. Like a moving meditation, flow yoga unites mind, body, and breath. Your mind clears, your body calms, even as your pulse quickens.
Renowned and innovative flow yoga teacher Shiva Rea leads this introductory practice, filmed amid breathtaking scenery on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. She begins with a seated mediation that teaches you how to link breath with movement. Three more segments introduce her flowing approach to classic poses. Transitions from pose to pose are graceful and easy. You may not have Shiva's flexibility (yet), but you can follow her lead in ways that work for you. Feel yourself becoming stronger and more supple. Sense your new energy and find the fluidity that has always been yours.
The title, Flow Yoga for Beginners, is slightly oxymoronic, as "flow" yoga, at least as practiced by many yogis and yoginis, is by its very nature more aerobic, vigorous, and difficult than the yoga undertaken by most beginning students. But leave it to Shiva Rea, whose growing series of home videos is arguably the best on the market, to reconcile those two disparate factors--for the most part, anyway. Rea defines the flow concept as "the ability to move freely in an unbroken string of awareness"; in more pedestrian terms, its a continuous sequence of poses, one moving freely and naturally to the next, which tends to generate heat and deepen control of the breath. The breath, specifically ujjayi pranayama, is the centerpiece of Reas introduction to this 70-minute program; her instructions in the use of this basic but hard-to-explain technique are excellent. Thereafter, she spends about 20 minutes on backbends (from simple standing and lunging backbends to poses like cobra, bow, locust, and camel, which can be very challenging for inexperienced students); this segment also includes a few twists. Next, the "Relaxing Flexibility Flow" sequence consists mostly of counterposes such as the "happy baby" and badakonasana (cobblers pose), while the "Standing Pose Flow," the longest and best of the lot, focuses on poses including and derived from virabadrasana II (aka warrior II), one of the common standing positions. Its all good, but while Rea provides detailed instruction and simpler variations for many poses, genuine beginners would do well to study the program closely before attempting it; and even then, poses like chaturanga dandasana (a lowered pushup) are rarely taught in beginners classes, even in their easier versions. As for the lush Hawaiian scenery, well, great, but the practice of hatha yoga ultimately depends on going inside, even to the point of doing it with eyes closed. Still and all, while its not quite up to the standards of Shiva Reas other videos, Flow Yoga for Beginners is a winner. --Sam GrahamSee all Editorial Reviews
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You have to be a 'committed' beginner in order to get the most out of this dvd. If you're afraid to try, or easily put off, this may not be the one for you. Be patient with yourself if you're a true beginner. Do a little each time and you'll see how fast you catch on and you'll see yourself improve. I get a wonderful stretch and I feel so good when I'm done. I love that she gives short rest breaks.
I'm so glad I bought this. I plan to purchase more of her products.
This is a good DVD, not too challenging, easy to follow, excellent form to follow. While I prefer a bit more of a challenge I think I can integrate parts of this into my training, perhaps even as light strength & flexibility training on cardio days.
The instructor is easy to follow, has a pleasant voice, and does a good job of cueing moves and transitions. I would suggest this for beginners and those of us who are returning & need to build back up to full practice.
I have followed this DVD for several sessions and have not been let down. It is basic, beginner level at a slow pace and well instructed. Vinyasa can be difficult for a beginner, but this DVD is a very good sample of what a beginner Vinyasa class would be like. I follow at my pace with my limited ability (due to injury) and find that I get a very well rounded practice. The video is broken down into segments and there is plenty of rest after challenging postures. With this I will be back to intermediate in no time at all.
But then again... Shiva is a great instructor. Her voice is very calming yet lifting. The workouts are professionally filmed with beautiful sceneries, and the background drumming music is subtle yet energetic.
Though some reviewers commented rather negatively on some of Shiva's ambiguous instructions such as "temple of heart", "open heart", "root your feet" etc., I found them to be interesting and at times helpful. Those are abstract, conceptual ideas that are not meant to be scrutinized and taken literally. When the music starts, I get into the mindset and know what to do with my body, everything falls into the right places, and I'd be good to go.
The workouts could be a bit more varied though. In the third section Shiva introduces a routine that combines Chataronga, Cobra with Warrior Poses (etc...). I'm pretty sure that she means to go through it a couple of times so the routine becomes familiar and begins to flow. But still it's a tiny bit too much repetition for me.
However I did bought Yoga Shakti, Shiva's highest ranked DVD with 3.5 hrs of routines... So i've got nothing to complain :)