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"I have a boatload of Yoga videos that I alternate with (over 70) and I just practiced with this tape for the first time this morning. It was outstanding! You will definitely sweat and feel exhilirated after this program!
As usual Baron has put together a routine that is challenging but sane. He has a knack for being able to communicate thru the video medium that makes you feel like you almost have him teaching you in person. His is a compassionate approach which stresses working at your own pace and ability, yet he encourages you to push yourself to your edge and a just a little beyond, while being mindful not to go too far.
One important thing I particularly enjoy about Baron's videos and book is that he focuses on poses that most people can achieve to some degree as long as they put in the work. No legs behind head stuff or ridiculous pretzel poses. Still, you will be challenged with the likes of Crow pose, many balancing poses and variations of more standard poses.
The overall routine covers a lot of the Program that he lays out in his excellent book "The Power Within" which I am still currently reading and learning a tremendous amount from. If you like Baron's teaching style there is a lot to be gained from getting his book because he gets into a lot of excellent details regarding alignment and the mental approach to the practice.
Anyway, back to the video "Soul Of Strength Live":
If you are looking for an intense vinyasa Yoga experience that will thoroughly move your body thru every range of motion that you can imagine you will love this video.
Also, the "live" classroom setting is very inspiring because there are students of all levels doing various modifications during the class. I found that this was very encouraging because on any given day, depending on my level of energy or strength I will often use many of the modifications (both simpler as well as more challenging.)I find that having real students demonstrating these various modifications right in front of me was tremendously helpful.
Other excellent, relatively short but intense Yoga video's that I'd highly recommend are Rainbeau Mar's "Pure Power" and "Pure Sweat" videos from her "Sacred Yoga" 4-tape series. Yoga Zone's "Fat Burning" tape is surprising challenging considering each of it's two routines are only 20 minutes long (they feel longer because they are pretty tough :) ).
Of course if you would like something along Ashtanga Yoga lines, David Swenson's Short Forms video is amazing and has 3 routines: 15, 30 and 45 minutes plus a long deep relaxation at the end. This tape is great in and of itself (David is one of my favorite Yoga teachers) and it is also meant as a preparation to move into the Primary Series. The introductory footage is also incredibly inspiring w/David demonstrating some incredibly advanced Asanas.
If you want something a bit longer at an intermediate level, check out Sherri Baptiste Freeman's (Baron's sister) "Baptiste Power Of Yoga" video. Sherri is an outstanding teacher with a deep knowledge of yoga, and a true master teacher. Her program is very different than any other program available. It's challenging yet very realistic and her instructions are crystal clear and inspiring!
Vigorous vinyasa practice led by an excellent instructor
Beth Cholette | Upstate NY USA | 08/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was hesitant to try this video at first given that I had seen it rated as "advanced"--although I had been doing yoga for over two years when I first tried this practice, I still considered myself to be at an intermediate level at most. While I definitely found this workout to be challenging, as it says on the cover, it really is appropriate for all levels of yoga students. Baron Baptiste is an excellent, down-to-earth instructor who moves around the class offering pointers, tips, and modifications to his students. He repeatedly emphasizes the importance of going at your own pace, and he calls out frequent instructions to beginners (e.g. "those new to the class, do this..."). The video would not be appropriate for those completely new to yoga, as it assumes basic familiarity with the poses, both the majority of the poses are accessible to beginners/intermediates. Although Baron does include a few more challenging moves--eg, crow and wheel pose--he pushes his student only to go to their "edge," never further. In addition, Baron is quite encouraging and completely non-intimidating as he praises his students for working to the best of their abilities.
The practice moves along at a steady pace, but it was much easier to follow than some of the other lightning-fast vinyasa-style workouts I've tried. My one complaint about the video was that it moved too quickly was during the practice of crow pose: Baron offered excellent guidelines for how those new to this pose (like myself) could work their way into it, but he moved so quickly into the next pose that I didn't have the opportunity to practice his suggestions. In other instances, however, I was able to attain some difficult poses that I had never managed before, such as reverse triangle. This is definitely a rigorous workout that will cause you to work up a sweat; I found that the sun sequences at the beginning of the practice really challenged my endurance, particularly given the frequent repetitions of downward-facing dog held for extended periods. I still use this video on days when I want an exciting, energetic, and challenging yoga practice."
I can't get enough of Baron!!
Yoga Teacher | OM-aha, Nebraska | 06/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
I bought this DVD after some hesitation. I usually practice with Shiva Rea, Eoinn Finn, Bryan Kest. For some reason, I thought Baron was all about ego.
Well, I was wrong. His practice is wonderful in this DVD. I love the way if flows, and it really hits all the body parts. It is a very balanced practice, working the major standing poses, balance poses, twists, backbends, forward bends, stretches, and some flowing salutations. It will get your heartrate pumping. The only downside is that the relaxation segment at the end is pretty short.
I would say this DVD is great for the intermediate student, or perhaps an experienced or athletic beginner.
If you loved his book, which I did, you will love this DVD too. He makes references to ideas in the book, which just help make the points all the more meaningful and present.
If you consistently do this workout, you will see amazing results. If not today, when???"
Baptiste: Decent workout, but too chatty to leave you calm.
M. McCracken | Highlands Ranch, CO USA | 07/22/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Good: The moderate pace keeps you in some poses for a while, adding a nice challenge to the practice. Real students demonstrate pose modification. At about and hour, the workout is pretty good for beginners and some intermediates.
The Bad: The shaky camera work bothered me as I watched to get prepped for the practice. Baptiste doesn't always call out poses, and unnervingly never stops talking. The flow feels stunted at times, as some simpler poses take just too long to get into.
The Verdict: Baptist, like Kest, delivers a good workout-though one full of chatter and silly euphemisms ("Angels fly because they take themselves lightly"). You'll get a good workout, though I doubt you'll feel calm and refreshed after listening to Baptiste's non-stop commentary.
Full Review: Baptiste holds a real, in-classroom yoga practice. The variety of students range from somewhat-new to experienced, though most are pretty toned. Baptiste introduces a decent variety of poses, and the flow is moderate to slow. During the practice, he uses constant commentary, and a "hands on" approach with his students-something not everyone will appreciate. He doesn't consistently call out the poses by name, something that bothered me as I tried to keep the flow going without looking at the screen.
On the plus side, he does present modifications for poses-something beginners will appreciate. Moving into some basic poses seemed to take much longer than necessary, stunting the flow. The workout starts slow with some salutations, moves on to some strength and balancing poses, some back-bends, and finishes up with a (disappointingly) brief hip-opener section.
If your considering this video, I suggest you borrow it from the library first. While I had high expectations, there really wasn't anything new here. Your going to have to gauge whether Baptiste's voice will wear on you, since you hear it constantly. For now, I'll keep working with Rodney Yee-who's videos leave me feeling like I should after a practice: clear, calm, and refreshed.
Excellent workout with an excellent teacher
Nicole L. Mark | Carrboro, NC United States | 12/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the only yoga DVDs I have tried that is really, truly challenging. I am an intermediate level yoga practitioner, and I find most yoga DVDs and videos too easy. This one really helps me work up a sweat when I can't get to class. Baron Baptiste gives clear instruction and offers variations for less experienced yogis. I highly recommend this one."