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by Jeffrey Hewitt (Director)
Yoga for the Young at Heart, 2005
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Oct 20th 2005

Every Day Yoga for Every Body DVD

In Basic Series 3 for Yoga for the Young at Heart DVD, Susan Winter Ward continues her classes for people in midlife and beyond.  She starts with standing poses and moves to some floor positions.  The pace is reasonably slow, but some of the positions are challenging.  She leads four people with their mats arranged in a semi-circle, on a set with white sheets hanging around and pleasing lighting.  In the background is unobtrusive music with a new-age flavor.

I found this DVD less useful than the Basic Series 2, for a number of reasons.  First, some of the instructions Ward gives are rather confusing.  For example, when she says, "Draw your kidneys up to your shoulder blades," I'm at a loss to know how to do that, since I have no direct control over my kidneys and if I am going to bring my kidneys and my shoulder blades together, I'll do it my moving my shoulders.  Often she says "inner spiral your upper thighs," and again it is hard to know what that means.  On occasion she clarifies by saying, "bring your upper thighs back behind you," but unfortunately that doesn't help.  At another point she says raise your arm in the air, without saying which arm. It would be possible to work out which arm by looking at the TV screen, but the pose may be requiring you to look away from the TV, so that solution is not always possible. 

A second problem stems from the camera work, which often focuses on the man on the far left of the group, who unfortunately seems to be following the instructions in different ways from the rest of the group.  For example, sometimes his toes are curled up when he is on his hands and knees when others have them flat on the ground, and so it is confusing as to how the pose is meant to be performed.  When you are contorted in a yoga pose and you are trying to make sure you are getting it right by getting a glimpse of the people doing the class, it not helpful to see someone doing it in the wrong way.  It seems that the class could have done more practice before going to filming.

A third reason I am less enthusiastic about this DVD is that I don't like some of the poses.  That's partly because of some of my own inflexibility but Ward has a preference for some poses where legs are crossed or stretched behind you while sitting, and then leaning forward to stretch the back.  I find this drastically reduces blood flow in the legs and causes pins and needles, which does not seem very rejuvenating.  Furthermore, often she is not very clear about the positioning of body parts when doing some standing poses.  For example, in doing triangle poses, she does not say much about how the legs should be aligned with respect to each other or how much of a leg stretch you should aim for.  Of course, all yoga requires that you experiment and see what is comfortable, but it would be helpful to know which compromises are good to make and which should be avoided. 

This DVD does have some good stretches and may suit some people who want to do a 50 minute session (not 58 minutes as stated on the box), especially if they liked the previous two DVDs in this series.  However, I'd recommend that those who are somewhat new to yoga or who are searching for a single DVD to help them with their practice should look elsewhere.

 

Links:

·        Yoga for the Young at Heart 1

·        Yoga for the Young at Heart 2

 

© 2005 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

 

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island, and editor of Metapsychology Online Review.  His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.