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by Marleen Stam Gibbs
Review by Christian Perring on Sep 15th 2009
Beginners Yoga is a nicely thought out yoga DVD with 8 sessions, ranging from 32 minutes to 85 minutes. Unfortunately the DVD menu and the insert do not say anything about what is in the different sessions, so you have to go through them yourself to find out. There is also a short 7 minute session of stretches you can do in the office, which just involve leaning against a wall or using a chair. Finally there is a demonstration section where Marleen shows how to do the different poses, each of a minute or two each.
The yoga here is simple and truly for beginners. Marleen does her demonstrations with the help of other people who are not like the strong and flexible models that one sometimes finds in yoga DVDs: these are normal people who enjoy doing yoga, and they are not necessarily strong or flexible, so they are not intimidating, and one does not feel that they are impossible ideals. The production qualities are pretty basic. This is one of the first yoga DVDs I have seen where the microphone used by the instructor was not wireless, but was wired, but she does not get tangled in the wire and the sound quality is good. The demonstrations are all shot in one corner of a wood floor room. There are a couple of camera angles used, and the switching between them is regular. Marleen's voice is soothing -- she has a slight accent which has its own charm. The routines are quite gentle and pleasing, and are not aerobic at all. Even the longest session does not go very far in stretching, although it will be challenging for some; she always has one of the others show a more moderate version of a stretch, so it will not be too daunting.
So it you are looking for a simple introductory yoga DVD with some variation in options, without background music or new age pretentions, then this is worth trying out.
© 2009 Christian Perring
Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York.