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Yoga Journal's Yoga Step By Step
with Natasha Rizopoulos

Yoga Step By Step Session 1


Inspired Instruction for Home Practice, December 3, 2004

Yoga can help you get rid of nervous energy so you can fully relax in meditation or just while reading or cooking. Your mind will be cleansed and while the world surges around you in all directions, there will be an inner calm you can carry with you all day.

While this CD may seem to be for absolute beginners, it seems to be more for students of yoga who want to "begin" their own home practice. Yes, you can follow the instructions if you are an absolute beginner because there are variations if you are just starting yoga. I'd consider myself to be intermediate and the workout on this DVD completely heated my body and was challenging at places.

Natasha Rizopoulos has a beautiful teaching style that allows you to fully experience the body mind connection. She encourages you to experience yoga in order to balance your life. After watching her Yoga demonstration you may start to think of Yoga as an art form and not just an exercise routine. She turns yoga into ballet and her upper body strength is astounding.

This DVD has interesting menu options. There are really two main parts:

A 35 minute Instruction Session - You explore the postures in depth
20 minutes of uninterrupted flowing practice

You can follow the Instruction Menu, Practice Menu, go straight to the Yoga Chalk Talk (a great way to explore the poses) or Medical Commentary. The Practice menu has four sections:

Begin Practice (Different from Begin Instruction)
Follow Jason - This is an excellent option if you want to use props like blocks.
Practice with Medical Commentary - A discussion of the nervous systems of the body and why stress hormones can affect your immune system.
Practice without Music

If you are completely new to Yoga, you might want to start with the "Begin Instruction" for the first few days (so your wrists get used to the poses) and then move on to the Begin Practice or practice along with the Chalk Talk to master the poses.

Natasha Rizopoulos teaches you about ujjayi breathing, then teaches you how to move skillfully into downward-facing dog, cobra, upward-facing dog, simple cross-legged pose, chair pose, plank, warrior I, warrior II and extended (right) angle pose.

This is the first DVD in a series of three high-quality yoga packages. You will need blocks and a mat for the first practice session. The orange mats, rich wood furniture, lamps, sage walls, sun filtering through lavender shades and a beautiful wood floor make this a beautiful and inspiring space in which to develop your own home practice.

I can highly recommend this DVD and the entire Yoga Journal's Yoga Step By Step series to beginners (if they follow the initial modifications) and intermediate students (if they want a flowing practice session to warm and energize their bodies). Advanced students may enjoy this as a refresher course. Even after years of yoga practice, it is exciting to find out there is so much more to learn. This is a must-have series for anyone who is interested in yoga.

~The Rebecca Review


Yoga Therapy


Herbal Tea and Yoga, March 20, 2005

Yoga Therapy is a revolutionary new approach to working with common physical and mental ailments. ~Peter Van Houten, M.D. & Gyandev Rich McCord, Ph.D.

There are many reasons people experience sleeplessness. The causes could range from emotional stress (anger, jealousy, worry, fear, insecurity, resentment, hurt), watching too much stressful TV before bed, pain in your body from injuries, anxiety, depression or drinking to many cups of coffee during the day. Insomnia can also be an age-related problem and it does seem that the older I get, the more difficult it is to get to sleep. Having a new kitten has taught me a lot about the joys of sleep and Meesa also seems to love sitting on the edge of my yoga mat while I do yoga.

I have noticed a direct correlation between emotional stress and a lack of sleep. When the mind is overly active trying to solve problems, it can be very difficult to fall into a restful sleep. Even answering e-mails later in the evening seems to keep me awake longer.

Yoga can magically alleviate emotional stress and give you a center of calm and a place to relax completely into the moment. It is a way of loving yourself and nurturing your body and soul. Yoga is very much about "time for you." It is a beautiful escape into your own personal power and into a place where you can feel complete peace and a sense of joy.

This book contains excellent advice from an acclaimed professional yoga teacher and an experienced medical doctor.

You will find information on the reasons people can't sleep, what the body does while we sleep, how sunlight and darkness affect sleep patterns, how to create good sleep habits, the secrets of a great night's sleep, relaxing Ananda Yoga Postures and affirmations, breathing exercises to lead you into sleep, what to do when you wake up in the middle of the night and want to go back to sleep and if you should consider a snack before bed and what type of snack?

So, if you are tired of taking sleep medications, give yoga a try. You can incorporate this into your regular exercise routine or daily routine. I like walking first to get the nervous energy out of my body. Walking also seems to make me happier and when I'm happier, I sleep better.

Yoga is a healing therapy that can truly help you to sleep. That is why I generally do relaxing yoga workouts in the evening. There are many different styles of yoga and you may find that one style invigorates your body, while a gentle practice will lead you to a place of complete joy and peaceful sleep. A cup of relaxing herbal tea and a quiet space with candles also seems essential to the process.

Gyandev McCord has also created videos to teach the Ananda Yoga routines. Look for Yoga for Busy People and Yoga to Awaken the Chakras. I found that imagining colors inside your body is actually very healing and relaxing. It might sound different, but it definitely works for me.

~The Rebecca Review

Also recommended:

Bed Top Yoga

The Metabolic Plan - Good advice for staying young and balancing your life.

Ali MacGraw Yoga Mind & Body - Hypnotic musical score.

Crunch Candlelight Yoga - Relaxing candles and soothing stretching poses.

   Hemalaya Behl's Yoga for Urban Living - Evening Bath helps you relax completely.

Yoga Zone Flexibility & Stress Release - At the end of this workout I can truly say I enter a state of bliss.



Zen Moon Water Fountain



Yoga Radiance


Yoga as Modern Art, February 26, 2007

Yoga Radiance is a collection of invigorating vinyasas for intermediate to advanced practitioners who enjoy the beauty of yoga as much as the energizing and healing benefits. The delicate lighting slipping through the sheer vanilla curtains and shades, shimmering wood floors, black sheets up against the wall and artist studio type settings give the workouts a classic stylized mood. An empty apartment and women who look like models exercise with precise movements.

This invigorating challenge with narration makes you feel like a dancer and the balance challenges are advanced. Cat, Downward Facing Dog, Cobra, Warrior 1 and Chair are included, but this goes much further. Crane/Crow posture tests your arm strength and the "Trivikramasana/Three-stride-posture" and "Half Moon/Ardha-Candrasana" provides incredible balance and flexibility challenges.

Each section focuses on a seasonal theme and there is also a beautiful Lunar segment with candles surrounding a mat with a bamboo plant. Cat, low lunge, pigeon provide a slower pace and yet I still found this segment to be warming.

During the Autumn section, it is helpful to know that you should first spread the toes before attempting to stand on one leg in Warrior III. The dancer's pose is also easier if you have learned this technique. In the section on Winter, the tortoise stretch and backbends provide a space in which to develop patience.

As an intermediate who enjoys trying out advanced exercises, I found this to be invigorating and exciting. If you are looking for a new challenge and enjoy "Vinyasa" or flowing yoga style workouts, I think you will love this series of workouts. Due to the inclusion of a few more complex exercises, this workout will be giving me challenges for the next few years!

~The Rebecca Review



Tazo Tea



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