Simon Low's yoga DVD is 1 hour 35 minutes from start to finish. It has two practices: first yang, lasting half an hour, and then the yin sequence, lasting an hour. Low, who is from England and has a distinctive accent, narrates the DVD in voice over with new age music in the background. He performs the sequence accompanied by two women: they each sit on their own platform on a beach, making it a distinctive production of director James Wvinner. The camera work is professional and the editing is smooth. The DVD is easy to use and has a few extras such as explanations of possible modifications. Both sequences are quite introductory but can also be used by the experienced practitioner. The yang sequence is a nice flow, with an initial stretching portion followed by a vinyassa that can be looped as many times as you like. It is pleasant and reviving, with an emphasis on elegant motion rather than pushing you to get to extreme postures. The longer yin sequence involved holding positions for a longer period of time, generally three to four minutes, with the aim of stretching all parts of the body, including the deeper musculature. It requires using a yoga bolster and yoga blocks, so the DVD will only be of use to those who have the appropriate supplies. The three practitioners show different variations of the postures, keeping in mind that people have varying levels of flexibility and may react quite differently to yin yoga. Although the idea is that the postures should be actively relaxing, it is not unusual for people to react to them with some agitation, since after a few minutes one's body can start to find these positions challenging, and the busy mind can find them very strange. I have found myself experiencing powerful emotions while in these positions, and also becoming quite jittery as my body settles into an unfamiliar position. Part of the experience of yin yoga, as with meditation, is learning to accept these events in our minds and letting them happen, without holding onto them. Low focuses on the positioning and the comfort of the body while holding the yin postures rather than the mental experiences they can cause. It is a good introduction to a yin sequence, which is certainly worth trying a few times at least. So this is a nicely made DVD that will be helpful people wanting to try a relatively gentle form of mind-body yoga.
Link: Simon Low website
© 2008 Christian Perring
Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York.