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by Daniel Swiers (Director)
Tree of Fitness, 2003
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Jan 4th 2006

Introduction to Yoga DVD

The main program in this Introduction to Yoga DVD is the Workout, which lasts about 50 minutes.  Evamarie Pilipuf leads the viewer through a series of relatively gentle postures aimed at increasing flexibility and comfort with your body.  It is set in nature, surrounded by trees with a body of water in the background, which turns out to be a park in Illinois -- who knew there it could be such a pretty place?.  Birds sing, the sun dapples the yoga mat and there's a light breeze.  Light music of both classical and other genres adds to the pleasant sound background.  Pilipuf, who has 18 years of practice in hatha yoga, narrates in a voice-over while she demonstrates the postures.  She has a calm and assured voice and provides useful instructions and tips.  The camerawork is professional and thoughtful, helping the viewer get good perspectives on different postures.  My only reservation about the style of this presentation is in Pilipuf's visual presentation: she has a flowery headscarf wrapped around her head, tying back her long blonde hair that reaches down to below her waist, and she wears another loosely tied around her middle, with a rather shapeless purple garment over her athletic top and shorts.  The look is reminiscent of hippy culture, which may be fine with some viewers, but is likely to jar with others.  Pilipuf also has a very dramatic style when she talks directly to the camera, with prominent front teeth and black eyeliner that gives her an arresting startled appearance to her face.  Normally I wouldn't comment on the appearance of an instructor -- I know I don't want my students commenting on my appearance.  However, in this case of a yoga DVD, the style of presentation is an important part of the whole experience.  But to be honest, I found that when actually following the yoga workout, Pilipuf's visual appearance made little difference, especially since several poses mean that you are not looking at the television screen anyway.   As she explains later in the DVD, what is most important is to be comfortable, and she finds her clothing the best for her, so this initial reservation about appearance is probably something just to get over.

The workout starts very slowly with basics, and moves to slightly more demanding positions.  There are standing poses, lying down poses, and some on all fours.  There's the usual emphasis on breathing and consciousness of body, and even some seasoned yoga practitioners will probably find one or two poses provide benefit.  The shorter second section, "Mindfulness off the Mat," is a simple collection of tips and information about how to do yoga and get fit, as well as clothing and yoga accessories.  Most of it is not material you would need to view more than once. 

So Introduction to Yoga is a proficient and helpful DVD for novices.  Most people would soon want to move onto more demanding workouts after using it a few times.

 

 

Link: Tree of Fitness

 

 

© 2006 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.