Customer Reviews: Yoga Zone - Flexibility and Tone (Beginners)
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I'd been doing yoga for a year and a half when I decided to switch to Pilates. Previously I did a steady routine using the Yoga Zone home videos in combination with a local weekly yoga class and, though I saw results (legs were stronger, I was much more flexible and my arms looked great), I was impatient and wanted those long, lean muscles NOW. So, for two months I put away my yoga tapes and worked on those muscles and soon realized exactly what yoga had done for my emotional well-being. Without yoga I became irritable, headachy and slightly overwhelmed by my busy life. So, last week out came my trusty old friend "Yoga Zone: Flexibility & Tone". This review is a love letter to my all-time favorite yoga tape (and I've tried quite a few).
Everything about the video, the spartan studio, the low-key music, the slightly pudgy, sweet faced, pleasant voiced instructor Alan Finger, his two beautiful silent assistants, is soothing to me. Not to imply that this tape is a snooze-fest! In fact, it's quite strenuous as my aching muscles can attest after returning to this tape after my two month hiatus. When I finish this routine my mind and body feel refreshed and de-stressed and I always feel like I've done something incredibly good for myself.
The instructor and his assistants lead you through a (roughly) 50 minute routine that stretches and strengthens nearly every muscle in your body using seated stretches, downward dog, cat pose, sun salutations, proud warrior and many other challenging (but not overly difficult) poses. The tape ends with "corpse pose", where I must admit, I usually fall asleep because I'm so relaxed at that point. However, I don't think beginners should start out with this tape without first trying one of the Yoga Zone videos made specifically for the beginner. This tape sometimes flows rather quickly from one pose to the next and it may be confusing and possibly slightly discouraging for the new yoga student especially when you're in a sideways (or upside down) pose and can't get a gander at the tv. But once you've mastered the basics it is very easy to keep up with the instructor's voice cues.
While you may not see overly drastic physical results with this video the emotional results and the flexibility you'll attain can't be beat! I highly recommend my beloved video!
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on July 30, 2000
I own all of the Yoga Zone series videos, and this is one of my favorites. Alan Finger is a WONDERFUL instructor; his voice is very soothing, and he's not intimidating in the slightest. He is not overly buffed; he's just your run of the mill pudgy 50 year old, but if you watch the clips at the end, you'll see that he has amazing strength and can contort himself into some very twisted poses. If you're new to Yoga, I'd suggest working with the Introduction to Yoga video in this series. I used that tape 3-4 times a week for about 2 months before I advanced to this one, and by the time I finally did, I found that I was very ready. The Introduction to Yoga teaches you most of the basic postures, and this video expands on them, but it's also a lot tougher. Having done the ItoY video though, I could progress through most of the poses easily and fluidly. And yes- you WILL feel the stretch in your muscles. Alan also guides you through a great breathing introduction in the beginning and a relaxation at the end.
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on January 13, 2001
I have done yoga off and on for over 20 years and this is one of the best videos I have found--good for beginning-intermediate yoga practitioners or someone like me who is restarting yoga after some time off. Alan Finger does a wonderful job of patiently guiding you through the poses. But the best thing about this videotape is that by the time you are finished with the 55-minute program, most all the muscles in your body feel stretched and loose and you feel great both physically and mentally. It's a very well-rounded set of poses. I would recommend it highly.
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on January 8, 2002
Could be my preferences, but this isn't the best of the YZ tapes I own. It seems to flow less well, the poses aren't held long enough, and though the instruction from Alan Finger is great (as always), I just always feel like I want more after doing it. I want to do sun salutations more than twice, for instance. For strength, the Power Yoga for Strength and Endurance is much better. For relaxation, Conditioning and Stress Release leaves this one in the dust. I'm a high-level beginner in yoga, and I only do this one occasionally, and only for the poses that aren't included in my more-favored tapes (cow's head, seated spinal twist).
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on January 28, 2006
I recently got the four tape Yoga Zone Beginners Set. So far I've done three of them (Introduction to Yoga, Conditioning and Stress Release and this morning Flexibility and Tone).

By way of background, I've been doing Yoga every day for the past 9 years, both with an extensive collection of programs (over 90 VHS/DVD) and many years with an amazing teacher!

I can't express enough how great a teacher Alan Finger is and how great Yoga Zone programs are in general. From these longer programs to the shorter ones (which usually have 2-20 minute programs) they are masterfully sequenced and lend an incredible amount of variety to enable one to keep their practice interesting, to fit them into one's schedule and to choose one that best fits one's needs on any given day.

This program in particular is about an hour long,which allows the pace to be very relaxed and the poses to be held nice and long. Of the three I've done from this set it is the most physically challenging while still being very doable. For someone who is a stone beginner I would recommend starting with either Yoga Zone "Basics" or "Introduction To Yoga" to get a feel for what Yoga is about. Still, it wouldn't take long before they'd be ready for this program.

This particular practice session has Alan Finger leading Michelle Carillo (who shows modified postures) and Lisa Bennett (Matkin) through the practice. They both have a beautiful practice and I find them inspiring to work with along w/ Yogiraj Finger.

It starts with seated ("Potted Palm") movements to gently warm you up into the practice. After that you move into all fours for cat stretches, lunges, dog pose etc. eventually leading to Sun Breaths and Sun Salutes (he calls them Sun Worship on this program) and then standing poses (Triangle, Intense forward bend (Parsvottanasana), Side angle pose and Warrior 2 pose). You then work back down to the floor and end in Cow Face pose, seated Forward bending and end with a nice guided Savasana. I'm sure I left quite a bit out, this is merely an overview of the structure of the practice.

I find Alan Finger to be a true master teacher and a true Yogi (as opposed to a fitness person doing a Yoga program, though some, such as Kathy Smith and Janis Saffell, have excellent programs).

If you have an hour to spare and want to take yourself on a wonderful Yoga Journey then I highly recommend this program.

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on March 17, 2006
After not practising yoga for 20+ years, I have recently returned to practicing yoga. Although I was an intermediate yoga practitioner back then, I knew I needed to start at the beginning so I bought the Premiere Collection from Yoga Zone. What a gem it is!

This is the perfect program to follow Introduction to Yoga. It has the right balance between exercises to tone and exercises to increase flexibility for beginners. Alan Finger is a very low key instructor who does not get into the viewer's face, but at the same time suceeds in giving clear and thorough instruction for each pose.

Anyone who finds this program boring just doesn't understand the nature of this style of yoga. If you have never done yoga before, or if you are accustomed to power yoga, you need to understand that there are different styles of yoga. This style of yoga is done is a slow, almost contemplative style that concentrates on correct form and on breathing. If you do the postures correctly, you can spend a lifetime doing them and still find small adjustments to make every time you do the posture. The object of this type of yoga is to assume the posture, and make small corrections to your posture while also concentrating on your breathing. The goal is to occupy the mind with the minutiae of correct posture and breathing so that the mind is stilled and the practitioner is immersed in the present, rather than letting your mind run on about other things. This is not a simple exercise, even for the simplest posture. If you are bored, it's because you are not doing it right, plain and simple.
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This is a great dvd for those new to yoga as Alan Finger directs 2 women while they do the poses while he speaks.
Other reviewers wrote the poses, so I'll just add, if you like lengthy instruction above & beyond the basics & no silence, this is for you. If you like less talking, try Gaiam's or other beginner yoga dvds.
Yoga Zone relies heavily on using mats, straps (you can use a belt instead), blocks & blankets. Don't feel you have to go bankrupt & buy these in order to do the poses correctly. Just do the best you can & through practice you'll get better.. it's doing it that feels wonderful, being aware of your body & getting the circulation going, not concentrating on being perfect, just don't do anything that is painful.

You can see a preview at eztakes com
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on January 19, 2006
I read about how yoga is supposed to relax you and help you become more toned and flexible. I picked this video up at my local library and immediately popped it into my VCR. I fell in love with it! The master, Alan, is a put it mildly. He walks you through the yoga exercises and makes you feel so relaxed. The soft background music is the perfect addition to help you relax. Some of those reviewers who said the video was too "boring", I dunno what they were thinking about. Yoga is about the breathing and rejuvenation of mind and body...not some bouncy, high energy workout with fast paced music..this isn't aerobics.

I did the entire workout...roughly 55 minutes. I have to say afterwards, I felt like a new person. My body was more energetic, I was a lot more flexible...and my emotional health was better too. I wasn't cranky or irritable. This video is wonderful. If you have an hour a day to do it, I strongly suggest doing the whole workout. But even 15 minutes a day can help too.

I would STRONGLY recommend this video/dvd to anyone...beginners, intermediate, masters. If you're a yoga practicer, don't miss it!
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on March 27, 2006
I just recently bought this video and can't believe the difference it's made! I'm more flexible than I've ever been, and my legs are firm and strong again.

While this is a good beginner's video in terms of learning the postures effectively, I don't recommend buying this as a 'first-time' video, as some of the postures may be a bit tricky or confusing. However, if you're in the process of learning, this tape is for you.

This routine doesn't do much for abs or upper body toning, but your legs will get worked. And, it definitely delivers on the flexiblity. A great program!
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on April 17, 2014
I needed to start doing a yoga/stretching regiment as per my physical therapist's instructions. I was looked a lots of yoga DVDs at the library, and they were all a little to "intense" for me. I just need to get loosened up, I don't need a new religion. Yoga Zone seems a good balance to me. It just helps me stretch out without being to "new age-y"
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