This DVD begins with an introduction by Deb Dobbin sharing her philosophy about yoga and recommendations for the viewer on how to navigate the DVD and proceed with the exercises. The menu itself is easy to navigate and includes a pose guide with information about each pose (i.e., benefits, common mistakes, variations, alignment). The pose guide is detailed and helpful for the viewer who is beginning yoga and/or practicing without an instructor. I would recommend to the viewer to have a full-length mirror available to check positions with the ones shown in the video. Additionally, having a person observe and monitor transitions in poses would be helpful in ensuring that the alignment and breathing patterns are correct. The DVD includes the first sequence of 39 minutes that includes a warm up routine and basic poses. This section focuses on poses designed to slowly and intently stretch various parts of the body. The second sequence of 71 minutes includes more difficult poses requiring a more advanced level of balance and flexibility. The final sequence of 70 minutes includes the most advanced poses requiring the ability to support and balance one's body weight in various positions as well as transitioning between a series of difficult poses.
Throughout the DVD, Dobbin talks and encourages the viewer through every aspect of the poses. Her voice is calming, and she provides tips about achieving each pose. I appreciate the flow of the routines presented in this DVD. Rather than being a series of poses, Dobbin transitions smoothly into each position with minimal pauses. This allows the viewer to appreciate the intent of Vinyasa which is, in part, to move in one continuous flow while maintaining a steady pace of breathing while simultaneously feeling the muscles in one's body stretch fully. Additionally, Dobbin speaks to the viewer about relaxation techniques throughout the routines indicating that part of the intent of the routine is to incorporate meditation.
Overall, I found this to be a well put together DVD that not only speaks to strengthening the body but also the mind. The routines are paced so that the viewer can move alongside Dobbin. The pose guide is invaluable for understanding the purpose and benefits of each pose. Although, the cover states that this DVD is for Intermediate to Advanced practitioners, I feel that a beginner could start on the first sequence, principally focusing on the poses, and once having mastered the basic poses, focus on the achieving flow and transitions before moving to the more advanced levels. Vinyasa is a form of yoga that I would recommend for individuals looking for a form of physical mediation that truly works each section of the body smoothly and slowly. I would liken it to a very slow dance in which each move is calculated and exaggerated in order to achieve the full effects of each pose, requiring the body to use it's own weight and resistance to build strength and flexibility.
© 2008 Natalie A. Emmons
Natalie A. Emmons is a post graduate student at the Institute of Cognition and Culture at Queen's University in Belfast. She has a background in evolutionary psychology and is currently studying cognitive universals of religious thought. Her work focuses on a multidisciplinary approach to understanding religious thought and behavior in addition to synthesizing multiple levels of cognitive processing.