This workout will improve your posture and strengthen your neck and spine. Workout includes an energizing prewarm-up, a standing warm-up, muscle firming, and lengthening mat work, a 6-minute deep abdominal workout that tig... more »htens the abdominals while it strengthens the back, and a restorative section with relaxation.« less
Actor:Allison Nolan Genres:Exercise & Fitness Sub-Genres:Yoga Studio:Bayview Films Format:DVD - Color DVD Release Date: 04/26/2005 Release Year: 2005 Run Time: 1hr 30min Screens: Color Number of Discs: 1 SwapaDVD Credits: 1 Total Copies: 0 Members Wishing: 0 MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated) Languages:English
Two otherwise standard yoga practices include some unique up
Beth Cholette | Upstate NY USA | 01/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD by yoga instructor Allison Nolan includes two practices: Level 1, a 36 minute "Beginning" practice and Level 2, a 48 minute "Intermediate to Advanced" practice. Personally, I would rate the practices more as experienced beginner (the Level 1 isn't really suited to someone brand-new to yoga) and low intermediate--the main thing that's more challenging about the Level 2 practice is that it's longer and it includes some binds in poses.
Both practices follow the same format. Each begins with some warm-up stretches (cat/cow sequence in both; a few additional seated stretches in the intermediate version) and then moves into a sun salutation series. I was disappointed that this section was so lengthy in (about 12 minutes in the first practice, closer to 20 minutes in the second). Allison leads a pretty standard vinyasa flow, and although the sun salutations make a nice warm-up, I didn't expect to spend so much time on them here given that the title of this video implied an upper body focus.
Thankfully, the next section of each practice does specifically work on the target areas, although much more the shoulder than the neck per se. Allison begins by using a strap for about 3 minutes of shoulder work, basically moving the strap above your head and then down behind your back. This is followed by a really nice series of floor stretches (about 16 minutes in the beginning practice, 19 minutes in the intermediate). The only thing I didn't like about this section is that Allison does vinyasas between some of the stretches, which felt awkward to me now that you are settled on the floor. The stretches in the two practices are similar but with some variations. In the beginning pratice, Allison performs cow face arms while seated in a half-straddle position (this felt awkward to me). She then does eagle arms seated in hero, and finally, a great, unique upper body twist: you are seated in a position similar to pigeon except your thigh, not your shin, is parallel to the front of the mat. You then lie down and twist, raising one arm overhead--very intense! In the Level 2 practice, Allison starts with a down dog split (3-legged down dog), goes into a down dog with head-to-knee, and moves into pigeon pose. She again does a nice twist here, this time putting one arm underneath your shoulder, placing your head and shoulder on the floor, and raising the other arm overhead; you bind in this position by grabbing your toe if possible. Next, she does a seated half spinal twist with bind, cow seat with eagle arms, and simple sitting pose with cow-face arms. Throughout all of the stretches, Allison shows you how to use a strap if needed to extend your reach or to assist with the binds.
Each practice then moves into about 4 minutes of abdominal work consisting mainly of variations on boat pose; the Level 2 practice is definitely a bit more challenging here. Allison then moves into what she calls a "restorative" segment which consists of a single posture, reclining over blocks. She does offer several different options for how to perform this pose, but it is held only briefly and then is followed by an even shorter savasana.
In both practices, Allison has two assistants, Jo-Jo and Judy, with Judy providing occasional modifications. The background music was at times a bit too loud and glaring for my tastes, especially during the sun salutations. However, I expect that I will use these practices for the floor segments only, which will provide me with two very nice upper body stretching sessions of approximately 25 minutes each; I definitely recommend this DVD for these segments alone."
Not for people with problems
D. Myles | ca | 04/21/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this because I have neck and shoulder problems, and was most disappointed to find this dvd a waste. The poses are far too advanced, impossible for neck/shoulder patients to use, and no props or modifications of the poses were used. No neck stretches were demonstrated. Had I done any of these poses I would have injured myself. Not a dvd for neck/shoulder people and was a complete waste of money"
Actually helped my tight shoulders
S. Robertson | 09/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are the least bit flexible, this workout will help with tight shoulders and especially neck discomfort. While somewhat repetitive, the flow of the postures, and the repetition actually does loosen up shoulders and neck nicely. Recommended for those with shoulder tightness or poor posture. Probably not the best if your pain is from an injury or chronic condition."
Chase that upper-body pain and stiffness away!
Kelly Garbato | Kearney, MO USA | 12/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"YOGA WISDOM FOR NECK PAIN & TIGHT SHOULDERS, with instructor Allison Nolan, is a great complement to Nolan's other 2005 release, YOGA WISDOM FOR BACK PAIN & TIGHT HIPS. I own both DVDs, and together they help ease the aches and pains that occasionally bother my shoulders, back, neck, and hamstrings.
NECK PAIN & TIGHT SHOULDERS follows the same basic format as BACK PAIN & TIGHT HIPS. The DVD contains two different workouts. The first, Level 1, is the shorter of the two (at 36 minutes), and is aimed at beginners. Level 2 is only slightly longer (48 minutes), and is a bit more advanced. However, Nolan works with two "models", one of which modifies the poses for the beginners in the audience. The second model generally follows Nolan's intermediate-to-advanced lead, and Nolan sometimes pulls ahead with more advanced versions of the poses. Thus, a wide range of difficulties is demonstrated throughout, making both levels fully workable (and challenging) for all.
Many of the same poses used in BACK PAIN & TIGHT HIPS are repeated in NECK PAIN & TIGHT SHOULDERS. However, Nolan introduces some subtle variations that target the upper body, particularly the shoulders and arms. NECK PAIN & TIGHT SHOULDERS also includes some poses that BACK PAIN & TIGHT HIPS does not, such as stretches with a resistance band that works the shoulders, neck, and arms.
Overall, I think I enjoyed BACK PAIN & TIGHT HIPS slightly more than NECK PAIN & TIGHT SHOULDERS; it seems like the former did a better job of stretching and loosening the promised areas than did the latter. Even so, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend NECK PAIN & TIGHT SHOULDERS to anyone who's suffering from stiffness or tightness in the upper body. It's really a gratifying, effective workout.
My only quibble: all four workouts contained in BACK PAIN & TIGHT HIPS and NECK PAIN & TIGHT SHOULDERS use the exact same musical track. Since it's not really possible to keep my eyes glued to the tv while I flow through the poses, I've learned to pick up on auditory cues to help me anticipate when a transition from one pose to another is ahead. Of course, this leads to some confusion and the occasional misstep when four workouts, all led by the same instructor (with the same voice, vocabulary, and speaking style), are set to the same score. At almost $20, you think they could have sprung for four unique compositions instead of one!
Equipment needed: A carpeted floor or a yoga mat; one to two yoga blocks; and a yoga/resistance band.
- Kelly Garbato"
Tiny Yogini | Boston, MA | 06/10/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The warm up is very long, followed by (what I think) is a fairly short amount of time spent on shoulder and neck stretches- more on shoulders, barely any on the neck.
The rest of the routine is pretty basic and frankly, not worth the money. As a yoga instructor, Allison sounds like an aerobics instructor who switched to yoga because that's where the money is at. She talks too much, too loud, and too dramatically (like a broadcaster) in metaphor, with contrived spiritual speech, rather than just giving sincere instruction.
I found her talkativeness and description of the poses confusing. I was confused getting into poses I've been practicing for years! For example, she tells you to sit instead of telling you to go into chair pose. I had my butt on the floor before realizing what she meant. lol She tells you to resist the floor instead of lowering yourself into chataranga dandasana. Weird. She also doesn't spend enough time telling you when to breath during sequences she created.
I found the music annoying and at times, too loud and dramatic. It was a low-production, midi-like recording. Not intolerable, but also distracting.
Overall, I'd rather continue my regular practice (vinyasa and ashtanga) and supplement it with Yoga Zone's "Yoga for a Strong and Healthy Back". The reason I bought this DVD was because I thought it would help me more, but it really doesn't.
I gave it 3 stars because some folks might like it and might like her peppy attitude. I also think it could be good for people who aren't into the spiritual aspect of yoga. Namaste. "