Incredibly Well Sequenced and Flowing Vinyasa DVD
Yoga Dad | 11/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this program out of curiosity and must admit was fairly skeptical because of the title (something about "Beverly Hills" and "Yoga" being grouped together that doesn't seem quite right :)). But having been skeptical yet pleasently surprised by programs in the past (such as Kathy Smith's excellent Yoga Programs) and also because I happened to see this at a very discounted price, I couldn't resist taking a chance on it.
I have to say that I'm glad I did, because this program would have easily been worth the full retail price. While I don't claim to be a Yoga expert, I have been practicing every day for about 9 years and have over 80 Yoga programs in my home library. I feel that I have a good idea of what constitutes a sound practice.
Janis Saffell, like Kathy Smith, is a well known fitness instructor and likewise put together a really sound yoga practice. Often, it seems that fitness instructors can make a mess of a yoga program when they get their hands on it and bring that "rah rah" aerobics teacher mentality to it. Thankfully, Janis Saffell avoids that pitfall here.
Though this program leaves out the "spiritual side" of yoga, Ms. Saffell certainly maintains an atmosphere of equanimity. She gives excellent verbal instruction (with a very soothing voice) and demonstrates the poses with beautiful body mechanics, no doubt a tribute to her background in dance.
The actual sequence is very well done, in fact it's one of the most sound programs I've seen. She has lots of incremental movements that build to larger movements. She maintains a wonderful flow which keeps heat in the body and helps to gently and gradually open you up which prepares you for the more challenging poses to come.
Timing in at almost exactly 45 minutes, it's long enough to be quite thorough but not so long as to be overwhelming. I would say that it's probably a late beginner to early intermediate level in terms of difficulty (though it has two poses that are quite challenging "Side Plank" and "Revolved Crescent Lunge").
The only thing I would have liked at the end (and of course this is only a personal preference) would have been to finish off with a lying twist and then relaxation pose (Savasana). I just add those at the end on my own so it's no biggie and certainly doesn't detract from the overall excellence of this program.
I would highly recommend this program for someone who wants a flowing, moderately challenging and straightforward Yoga practice. If you do this program regularly, you should be able to increase your flexibility as well as functional strength. I can definitely see this DVD playing a regular role in my own daily practice.
Repetitive and Tiresome
fit girl | 04/24/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Janis Saffell is a good instructor and her workouts are generally well-designed; however, this video was lacking. My main complaint is it felt like half the workout was spent in the the downward-facing dog pose. This has a couple of negative aspects: 1) too much strain on the wrists; and 2) very little time in standing poses that help to open up the hips and re-energize you. I am not new to yoga, but my upper back ached the next day from all that in down-dog. There are much better videos out there. Though Janis' instruction is good, the design of the workout is lacking, and I would not recommend this to beginners."
Something is missing...
SuZen | NJ United States | 08/01/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Like half the practice.
I think this must be aimed at people who are already quite physically fit, but are beginners at yoga. There is too much instruction for an experienced yoga student, but there are some poses that are normally considered too challenging for beginners (in particular, an unmodified Side Plank).
After a decent warmup, most of the practice consists of Sun Saluations, to the point where I was really getting bored. Then there is a standing pose series -- the strongest point of the video, I thought. Finally, the instructor takes us to the floor for two quick forward bends and -- that's it. No backbends, no hip stretches, no twists, and especially, no relaxation (Corpse) pose.
This is really not a complete yoga practice."
Gentle Intermediate Workout
Rebecca Johnson | Washington State | 12/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Janis Saffell presents a calming yoga routine designed for intermediate practitioners. The relaxing garden setting by a pool adds to the nurturing aspects of the workout. The practice begins with gentle neck stretches then progresses into a series of swan dives. A vinyasa-style workout follows with an emphasis on plank and downward facing dog to ease you into various postures.
Cat/Cow appears once and most of the poses don't require extreme flexibility. Chair pose is not held for a long time and there is a modification called awkward chair pose where you are up on your toes. This creates a balance challenge that will be enjoyed by intermediates. A relaxing wide-leg forward bend stretches out the back of the legs nicely. You may also recognize triangle pose and warrior.
The poses flow together gently in a logical way and the soothing music and slower pace allows for an emphasis on breathing. This makes it a cleansing workout. You never feel rushed and each posture is held for the perfect length of time. Janis Saffell doesn't show some modifications for a few of the more difficult postures so I wouldn't recommend this for beginners.
~The Rebecca Review