This DVD is up for giveaway.
In terms of pace and physical intensity, the Earth practice feels quite similar to a lot of the sequences on this Rodney Yee DVD. It’s a single longer practice instead of multiple shorter practices, but at least for me, it ends up being on the gentler, more restorative end of things.
Specs for Total Yoga: The Flow Series – Earth:
Yoga Style: Fairly traditional hatha.
Suited To: In terms of familiarity with yoga, I do think this DVD would be suitable for even new beginners (people starting an asana practice for the first time). In terms of of physicality, the instruction calls for some standing postures, some gentle backbending, and some postures that require some upper body strength (like downward facing dog).
Props: A wall — or reasonable approximation — for legs up the wall. They also suggest a blanket and/or strap as options in forward folds.
Run Time: Amazon and the DVD cover tell me 55 minutes. I think that must include either some of the opening visual instructions, all of the savasana and credits, and/or the “bonus segment” from the Water DVD (the next DVD in the series). I get about 42 minutes from the opening narrated instructions to the end of the narrated portion of savasana (though the savasana itself continues well beyond that).
Before the practice starts, there’s an on-screen recommendation to view the entire DVD once before attempting to follow along. This is because it sometimes offers a few different modifications for the same pose, and one might find that the best modification for them is the one mentioned on the second repetition or the second side. Additionally, for some of the poses — locust, bridge, legs up the wall — it’s not always easy (or possible or safe) to be both in the pose and turning to look at the screen. It’s good advice, particularly for anyone who is very new to an asana practice.
That said, I ignored the instruction and started right away. I like to live dangerously.
The practice itself is designed to be practiced as a single segment and would probably work best that way. However, the DVD menu does offer chapter options with different segments highlighted. It would be possible to, say, only practice the sun salutes at the beginning or only do the floor work toward the end. I’m not sure if it would feel awkward or incomplete, but in terms of technical DVD access, it would be pretty easy to do.
The segments of the practice are as follows:
Breathing — A seated tutorial on ujjayi breath and three-part breath. I’m glad this is here since a lot of other yoga DVDs skip over pranayama; it’s nice for people who want to pay more attention to it to have that option.
Sun Salutes — A total of eight sun salutes, presented with modifications. There are options to roll the spine up or down from tadasana, to keep the knees bent during uttanasana, to move the hands and/or bend the knees during ardha uttanasana, and to rest in either tabletop or child’s pose if holding down dog for the entire time (about 5 breaths per sun salute) isn’t the best option. Additionally, no chaturangas (though there are some high planks, not held beyond an inhale, though): in one series, they’re skipped completely, in the other, the only given instruction is for knees-chest-chin instead.
Standing Poses — A fairly short sequence involving warrior 2, triangle, and straddle forward fold twist.
Floor Work — Some more active poses like lying boat/locust pose and bridge pose, where 3 different variations are offered. Also includes some more restorative poses like forward folding, lying spinal twists, and legs up the wall. Additionally, the video moves through different leg positions in legs up the wall (the traditional as well as straddle and cobbler’s), so that segment is really nice.
Savasana — Like I mentioned, the savasana on this one is fairly long — more like what I’d expect in a 90 minute class, not a 40 minute DVD. (Like opening breathing and centering, savasana tends to be abbreviated on DVD practices.) There’s a guided relaxation that lasts for a minute or two, then a music-only savasana continues for at least another five minutes. I never make it longer than that. My history involves practicing to yoga VHS tapes, where if you enjoy your savasana a little too long, it runs out of tape and an obtrusive BOOOOOOOP ensues. So I get nervous. To whoever ends up with this DVD from the giveaway, I would appreciated it if you could solve the mystery of what, exactly, is at the end of it.
In terms of body diversity and positivity, it does slightly better than average. The two instructors, Ganga White and Tracey Rich, are both thin and flexible. However, some of the modifications they offer — like explicitly saying your feet can be hip width apart in down dog or forward fold — are friendlier toward bigger bodies. And there is no weight loss or body-negative talk either in the DVD itself or on its packaging.
If you’d like to be in the drawing for this DVD giveaway, please leave a comment either here, on my Facebook page — or both for two entries — by Sunday, June 17. I will announce a winner on Monday the 18th. Additionally, due to the fact that I will be traveling, there may be a 1 week delay between announcing the winner and me being able to ship the DVD.