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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Full Frame
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras
  • Teaser trailer - About Gaiam
  • 3 Cast/crew biographies - Rodney Yee, Suzanne Deason, Patricia Walden
  • 3 Interviews - Rodney Yee, Suzanne Deason, Patricia Walden
  • 2 Documentaries - Stress Relief Yoga Workout, How To Use Props
Yoga Journal's Yoga - AM and PM For Beginners
Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 89 mins . E . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Painful, so painful. Ewww, as if the human body can actually bend like that... wait... it feels good... ah I’m starting to feel at ease. My body is starting to relax. I’m feeling less stressed. Ah yes, I’ve just watched the Yoga Journal’s Yoga A.M. and P.M. for Beginners. And yes, to avoid strange looks from other family members, this reviewer made these odd poses, positions and movements with the door tightly shut and locked. Never having done anything to do with Yoga previously, this reviewer (among other DVDnet staff members, well one other comes to mind anyway) had a bit of trouble keeping a straight face with some of the wording, actions and footage included on this disc. But all of that silly childish humour aside (yes, however painful to say), what is included is a comprehensive and complete beginners guide to Yoga for those with a very limited schedule.

Yoga’s origins are in India, where a loose translation states “to join together”. So simply put, Yoga is the combining of each individual inner self with the Universal consciousness. In order to do this, silence must be achieved to allow entry into the boundless Universal state. In everyday life, we live through our egos, which get boosted when good things are happening. But having a big ego makes us all feel small and lonely. Our egos relate to our physical state, and will deteriorate and change over time, resulting in flat and low self esteem. The aim of Yoga is to escape from the ego-driven physical world away from fear and isolation into a total state of love, happiness and security, giving those who connect to the Universal state the ability to make better choices and more judgemental decisions with a greater understanding.

The main aim of this DVD is to provide two routines for people on the go who still want to be able to be at one, with two 20-minute routines – one for A.M. and one for P.M. as the title suggests (duh).

The A.M. routine, led by Rodney Yee, gives the chance to focus your body and mind before you start your day’s busy schedule. The three components to this morning routine are Conscious Relaxation, A.M. Workout and a Meditation. These components allow you to become familiar with your body and its ability to relax, some gentle movements to build you up to get ready for the day, and finally the meditation to focus your mind. Yee’s instructions are simple to follow for those who want to get involved with some easy Yoga, and the visual aid is handy, but it does get distracting having to watch constantly – it sort of defeats the purposes of relaxation and meditation.

The P.M. routine, led by Patricia Walden, gives the instructions to relax and calm down to a quiet state after a busy and hectic day. The three components to this evening routine are Centering, P.M. Workout and Relaxation. These allow you to start a total body relaxation and centring of your mind, some bends to improve circulation and breathing and finally a total-body relaxation to complete the transition to the quiet state. Walden’s instructions are equally simple to follow and are a great guide – cheaper than a personal trainer too. Again, the visual aids are handy, but a distraction that defeats the relaxation purpose. Still, after a week or so of doing these activities, you should have no trouble in sticking on a relaxation CD and working on your own without the interruptions of the presenter’s voices and the constant hum of the television.

  Video
  Audio
  Extras
Contract

This workout is presented in a full frame aspect, which is assumed to be the intended aspect. The image is consistently soft, probably due to the soothing and calm intended nature of the programme. This is definitely no technical blockbuster so the lack of 16:9 enhancement is hardly missed. Artefacts such as scratches and film grain are nowhere near this transfer, and it is just a pity that not all simple transfers are as nice as this. Colours are richly rendered, with solid tones and very little in the way of compression artefacts. Aliasing skips through here and there, but discretely nonetheless, however posterisation does attack some of the solid backgrounds. Only subtly, but still, its meant to be relaxing your mind, not attacking it with blocky bits. Shadow detail is sufficient given the subject matter, and provides a solid definition to the backgrounds and instructors.

The stereo audio track in English is fine for the content, but a second audio track would have been nice including some relaxing music without the dialogue. But oh well, it’s a start. The music is somewhat corny, yet soothing and soulful at the same time. Well at times anyway. Some of the music just is enough to drive you potty, and here is the perfect place to stick on some quiet ambient CD in the background, or mild chill-out material to the likes of Delerium.

Now in the extras department we have a large list, with a duration nearly longer than the two short workouts.

The Stress Relief Yoga Workout runs for 23 minutes and is a popular and simple routine to help manage stress and stress-related issues. Instructor Suzanne Deason provides clear instructions to follow, and this is a great routine for the busy worker, mad University student or just highly-strung mother. Perfect for exam time, due dates and great for the middle of the day if you can find somewhere quiet on your own.

The 24 minute How to Use Props instructional video illustrates Deason using a non-slip Yoga mat, the Yoga Strap and Yoga Bricks – three basic props to help with some more advanced Yoga routines. These are great to watch, especially for the naïve beginner such as yours truly, but still you need the props to get any benefit out of this sequence.

Three Instructor Interviews have been thrown in and give the audience the chance to find out a little bit about the three instructors on this DVD. Yee’s runs for just over eight minutes, Deason’s for six and Walden’s for seven. These are a great addition and informative to give some background to the instructors who guide you through these routines. Some text pages titled Instructor Biographies have been thrown in as well, but are not nearly as interesting as the interviews. Finally we have 45-second teaser-type thing for the Gaiam Corporation who produce these DVDs. Yahoo. Not. But all in all, a fantastic bunch of extras, with a bonus workout for those stressed minds out there. Oddly, and for this reviewer humorously, before the menus are loaded we are greeted with a Universal tag. Quite annoying and out of place for an instructional DVD.

For those wishing to get involved in Yoga, this poses as a great introductory video to provide basic relaxation and meditation techniques to start you on your way to getting your mind into that Universal state. Given the content, the transfer is great with nothing special or fantastic to write home about, however the extras on the other hand are great and must be known. A fantastic stress-relief workout is a great addition for the hectic populous of today, with the remaining features added as informative yet trivial additions. For those who are into Yoga, buying this disc is a no-brainer. For those who want to get their foot in the door, this is a great way to do it, and is worth a watch if you get the chance.


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  •   And I quote...
    "You mean the human body can bend like that naturally?"
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Philips DVD 736K
    • TV:
          TEAC EU68-ST
    • Receiver:
          Sony HT-SL5
    • Speakers:
          Sony SS-CNP2
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Surrounds:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony SA-WMSP3
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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