I love this yoga DVD. No qualms about it, for people who want to practice yoga at home, this is unreservedly the best yoga DVD I have ever seen for this purpose.
Granted, I haven’t seen more than a handful of yoga DVDs, but I will be recommending this DVD to people.
Hillary Rubin teaches for the beginner, but her teaching style is so rewarding that even experienced practitioners will enjoy using her Yoga Foundations DVD – I know I did.
When you begin the DVD you can choose whether to run the class with or without pose demonstrations. If you run it with them, there are “breakouts” before the pose is done in the class where Hillary demonstrates in detail, talking you through everything you need to know. This is a fantastic option for people who have never done yoga before. A total beginner could feel completely comfortable doing this DVD.
But even if you don’t choose that option, and just go with the class of five people, Hillary’s verbal teaching style and pace is so measured and descriptive, that a total beginner would feel comfortable following along with the postures. And that’s a great thing in a yoga DVD where it can get awkward straining to look at the TV and follow along at the same time.
The class itself consists of five people being verbally instructed by Hillary. Each person has a different level of flexibility and strength, and some of them use props whenever they need to. This wide variety of experiences is one reason Yoga Foundations is so accessible – no matter what your starting point, you can do this DVD.
Hillary’s teaching style is relaxed, methodical, informative and inspirational. In keeping with the Foundations theme of her DVD, she reminds us often that we are supported, and that we need to honour where we are. Her dialogue is paced to give students lots of time to find their way into and out of postures – something that’s crucial on a beginner’s yoga DVD. She also sometimes uses two different statements to verbally cue students into the same movement – this means that the way that makes sense to the student is the one which is heard. I love this – it’s such an embracing and responsive method of teaching..
Some of the asana that Hillary teaches I haven’t seen before, and she uses fantastic transitions to gently flow from one posture to the next. These transitions are added by the camera work, which flows just as smoothly as the yoga. Great thought has obviously gone into the setting for the class, and I would love to be able to practice where it’s filmed. Over all, the production standards of thisyoga DVD are out-standing.
All through the class, gentle reminders of the the depth of yoga take the class past the physical aspects. Hillary even reminds us to “lift the corners of your mouth” in some poses. She refers to the courage and strength that we each have buried deep inside of us. Her ability to integrate asana and philosophy in an unobtrusive way means that even if you only want to get a “workout” you’ll find nothing offensive about this yoga DVD, and will be unconsciously assimilating the deeper aspects of yoga. “Know that you can shift your attitude, and know that you can shift the way you feel.”
At 60 minutes including a lovely savasana, this DVD is easy to do 3 or 4 times a week. Hillary ends with just one Om, and a heartfelt smile – but it’s not the end of the DVD. It also includes a variety of extra features, including a breakdown of the various postures used in the class and chair yoga where Hillary talks about how we take our yoga off the mat and how we sit. She uses demonstrates some chair yoga, recommending that we do it whenever we need to open up the body and reconnect with our self. As many of us spend far too much time sitting on a chair, this is a great addition to the DVD, and provides something we can take away with us and do in the office. At 8 minutes, it’s short, it’s useful, and it’s something that might help the less mobile slowly move into the longer 60 minute class.
Another extra feature on the DVD is healing with breath – Hillary talks about the importance of the breath, deepening our knowledge of how important breathing it. She takes us through a short session focusing just on the breath, and how it relates to our gift of life. Throughout this, we’re lying either on our stomach or on our back, before moving into child. It’s only a five minute session, but it is awesome for beginners.
The final feature is a chance to met Hillary, and the students in her DVD. Hillary has used yoga to help manage her Multiple Sclerosis, and it’s interesting to hear her talk about that. She’s clear, but cautious, stating that she hasn’t been cured, but that she’s worked hard to respect her body and do what needs doing to heal it – something that’s taken discipline and time.
Hearing the yoga stories of the other students was one of my favourite parts of the DVD – including these interviews is a fantastic way to share the amazing benefits of yoga, especially those benefits that go past the physical. For the beginning student, the variety of stories, and benefits and just the joy the students have about yoga is so inspiring.
While this DVD is aimed at the beginning practitioner (which is about 90% of the world!), it’s style means that an intermediate practitioner looking to solidify their foundation of yoga would also find it highly enjoyable. I would recommend it to people who have never tried yoga before, and people who have just started out and who would like to practice on their own in between going to classes. It would make a great Christmas present to a loved one who’d been thinking about starting yoga. Even just watching the interviews with the student and with Hillary is inspiring.
I wish Hillary all the best with this DVD – I hope that it reaches into the lives of many people. See a trailer of this DVD here.