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I have many yoga DVDs, and though it's not my favourite (I really like Eoin Finn's DVDs), I do reach for this DVD often. It is quite challenging, but it's great for variety when I'm feeling strong. I find that the cueing is good, not great, but good enough once you've done the DVD a few times. You may need to look at the TV screen at parts in the beginning just to fully grasp what the narrator is trying to convey. Definitely worth a try for those looking for a challenge and variety.
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84 of 88 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful DVD offers a wonderful intermediate-to-advanced yoga practiceJuly 12 2006
Reviewer Dr. Beth (Ph.D.)
- Published on Amazon.com
This DVD, which is subtitled "Four Seasons of Renewal," lead you through four segments of intermediate vinyasa flow yoga--Spring (10.5 minutes), Summer (16 minutes), Autumn (6.5 minutes), and Winter (15 minutes)--plus includes Lunar (25 minutes), a restorative flow. Each segment features one of three different instructors (Genevieve Fischer, Ester Hillebrand, and Carolina Vivas) alone in a softly lit room with beautiful soothing music playing in the background; a single instructor (I'm not sure which one) provides voiceover cueing throughout the practice. The DVD includes a chapter menu which allows you to play the entire practice (all four seasons plus Lunar) or to select any of the five segments individually. Spring and Lunar in particular work well as stand-alone practices; the other three simply require the addition of your own warm-up/savasana.
The Spring segment begins with some simple seated stretches and then moves into a series of the traditional "B" sun salutation. This section moved a bit fast for my liking; I think a slightly gentler opening would have be more appropriate. Summer and Autumn, both of which focus on standing postures, were my favorite segments. These segments move at a slower, more measured pace, but be prepared to do many chatturanga-updog-down dog vinyasas in-between the standing poses. Summer includes basic standing postures such as warrior 1, warrior 2, right angle, and triangle plus twisting postures like revolved triangle and revolved half-moon. It ends with some more advanced postures, including tripod headstand, side crane (crow), and bird of paradise. The short Autumn sequence consists of challenging standing balances such as standing hand-to-foot, warrior 3, standing splits, and dancer's pose; it ends with variations on standing forward bend. Winter is the backbending/inversions segment, with camel, bridge, a long hold of wheel (upward bow--5 breaths!), shoulderstand, plow, and fish pose. It finishes with happy baby pose, reclined twists, and a short savasana, so you can either end your practice here (approximately 50 minutes) or go on to the Lunar segment for a longer practice (75 minutes). This final segment is very relaxing series of gentle, flowing stretches to prepare you body for a more lengthy (5 minutes) savasana; postures here include cat, down dog, a lunge series, pigeon, double pigeon, seated forward bends, reclined leg stretch, modified shoulder stand, and reclined twist. During the savasana, images of the three instructors performing asanas from the video flash on screen; there is no further instruction at this point, but the music changes once the credits begin.
As an intermediate yogi, I consider this practice to be prefect for my level. There were some postures that I couldn't do--tripod headstand is an impossibility for me, I can do crow but not side crow, and my version of bird of paradise is quite stooped and crooked--but I enjoyed attempting the more challenging postures and feel that I can grow with this practice. I especially liked the season breakdowns, as I know I will utilize these for shorter yoga practices when I have less time (Lunar in particular is an excellent stand-alone practice, especially as a cool-down after a more traditional workout). Finally, the inspiring asana displays of the three instructors combined with the beautiful music serves to make this DVD totally captivating. However, it should be noted that the sequences on this DVD form a continuous flow, with little time for detailed instruction. Therefore, although I definitely recommended this DVD, I would limit my recommendation to yogis at an intermediate level and beyond.
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Yoga Radiance is the pure joy of yoga!July 19 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
As a yoga practitioner who frequently does yoga at home, solo and with friends, I am always looking for NEW "classes" in which to participate. YOGA RADIANCE is an excellently narrated program. The narrator has such a calm, lovely voice and the cues are timed appropriately. The instruction is so complete that one doesn't constantly have to look up at the screen to see what the very achieved yoga teachers are doing...but I highly recommend VIEWING this DVD on occasion to gain increased perspective of HOW some of the poses are properly accomplished. The instructors move at a CONTINUAL PACE...not too fast....so that the viewer can reap the benefit of seeing how positioning is accomplished. The changing camera angle adds increased awareness of body positioning, which is extremely helpful. The FOUR SEASONS are a good practice in themselves, with SPRING being the warm up. Proceeding through SUMMER, FALL and WINTER, the body, mind and spirit will be invigorated. When time is limited one can do the SPRING warm up with another season or just do the added special restorative Lunar flow alone....but when time allows, I prefer doing all four seasons plus the lunar flow. IT GIVES A COMPLETE, BALANCED YOGA SESSION for the intermediate level practitioner. The complete practice takes about an hour and ten minutes, which for me is perfect! THIS IS NOT A BEGINNER DVD! ...and there are no alternative poses for the positions, therefore this DVD is for those who have experience in knowing how to modify positions for their own bodies. The background music is absolutely beautiful...and peaceful. There is nothing special about the yoga studio...but it's fine and is not distracting by any means. It is NOT like the fabulous coastal backgrounds of SHIVA REA'S DVDs, but Shiva Rea is in a category all by herself...THE BEST! So, if you are an intermediate level yoga practitioner and want some variety in your practice... (The same ol', same ol' gets a bit boring from time to time!!!)...I highly recommend YOGA RADIANCE be added to your collection.
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
delicious and inspiring practice dvdAug. 13 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
this dvd is a delightful presentation of a fluid and yes, radiant, practice of yoga. it is less an instructional dvd and more an offering of yoga practice--strong, serene, and beautiful.
the practice is divided into sequences based on the four seasons plus a lunar segment. creation of the sequences is credited to two male instructors we don't see on the dvd. one of three graceful and beautiful yoginis, instructors in their own right, performs each segment. the cues are few, but accurate, and narrated by a fourth woman with a voice made of honey, against lovely atmospheric music. both the narration and score seemed to be weaved through the practice and are an integral part of it without being in the least bit intrusive. the set is simple and warm looking--either a bare room with wood floors and white walls or a studio with wood floors and olive backdrop. the lunar segment has tealight candles encircling the practice space. the photography is rich and inviting. the end result is actually a yoga film--a delight to practice to be sure, but also a joy just to watch or even listen to. you really can learn from watching these women go through the practice--they are strong and know their stuff, and you can clearly see them consciously place themselves in and work with each pose.
as for style, this is a strong vinyasa practice, building from basic to more challenging asanas, all interlaced with vinyasas (flowing sequence based on plank, upward dog, and downward dog between major asanas). vinyasas are particularly prominent in the summer and autumn sequences, but are also present in the others, in subtler form. none of the poses are modified or explained in much detail, so if you are beginner or prefer precise instruction on breathing, alignment, and movement into and out of the poses, this is not the dvd for you. the cues are more in the nature of reminders than instruction. for practitioners with a foundation in the asanas, however, it is a great complement to yoga instruction from live teachers and other more alignment focused dvds. that incredible voice accompanies you unobtrusively through a gorgeous looking, creatively designed, deeply satisfying practice. intermediate practitioners will find a good mix of familiar poses to work oneself into more deeply and more challenging poses to stretch the boundaries of practice. advanced yogins will welcome a moving meditation practice more in line with their level than the norm.
i am an intermediate practitioner, and find the practice itself powerful and challenging but not overly taxing. some poses are currently beyond my reach, but i appreciate the opportunity to either work towards them or modify them as i have been taught elsewhere, depending on where i am that day. the warming repetition of vinyasas leaves my muscles far more flexible and supple than more static practices, so i am able to work more deeply into the backbends and forward bends of the winter and lunar segments. when doing the full practice, i end up feeling as though someone had buttered my muscles and gently but deeply massaged my spine. i also like the option to do one or two segments (especially the spring and lunar sequences) if i lack time or want to add them to my personal practice sequences. my quibbles: you can select any one or all of the segments, but cannot string them together to form a customized practice. the winter segment has a short Shavasana, and the lunar segment a longer one, so you are on your own if you want to do just one of the others, but this is hardly a tragedy. while i am fine with the minimalist voiceover cuing, it is sometimes out of sync with the actual practice, or even just plain missing. this should have been attended to more carefully. overall a great addition to a personal yoga dvd library.
for those who like a detail of the asanas, here's a summary of each segment, not including the vinyasas connecting the poses. SPRING [Genevieve Fischer, 11 minutes]. Child's Pose, Seated Side Stretches, Alternate Arm and Leg Balance, Standing Forward Bend, Modified Sun Salute B. SUMMER [Esther Hillebrand, 16 minutes]. Sun Salute A, Single Legged Down Dog with Alternate Arm Balance, Warrior 1, Warrior 2, Reverse Warrior, Triangle, Side Arm Balance Right Angle Pose, Half Moon, Squat Twist, Revolved Right Angle with Hands in Prayer, Standing Wide Angle Forward Bend, Tripod Headstand, Revolved Triangle, Revolved Half Moon, Standing Split, Side Crow, Bird of Paradise. AUTUMN [Esther Hillebrand, 7 minutes]. Tree, Standing Hand to Foot Pose, Warrior 3, Standing Splits, Dancer's Pose, Standing Forward Bend. WINTER [Caroline Vivas, 15 minutes]. Side Lunge, Tortoise, Standing Wide Angle Forward Bend, Child's Pose, Hero with toes tucked, Camel, Down Dog, Single Legged Reclined Hero, Bridge, Upward Bow, Single Legged Upward Bow, Happy Baby, Shoulderstand series (including Plow, Shoulderstand, Single Legged Shoulderstand, Shoulderstand in Cobbler or Lotus, Upward Facing Padmasana, Knee to Ear Pose), Fish, Knees to Chest, Reclined Knee over Leg Twist, Reclined Cobbler's Pose, Shavasana. LUNAR [Caroline Vivas, 25 minutes]. Child's Pose, Cat, Threading the Needle, Down Dog, Hero, Twist, Modified Lunge Salutes, Hero Pose with back bend and forward bend, Shoulder stretch in Cat Pose with arms clasped behind back, Pigeon, Double Pigeon, Open Squat, Seated Forward Bend, Head to Knee Single Legged Forward Bend, Knees to Chest, Reclined Leg Stretch series, Half Shoulderstand, Reclined Knee over Leg Twist, Head to Knee Pose, Reclined Cobbler, Shavasana.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
I suppose, its many flaws aside, worth considering. But where`s the fire?Dec 5 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
For a more complete overview and description of both the disk and each of the five sessions I`ll leave you to also read and consider at least a few of the other reviews preceding this one.
That said, following are a few of my concerns (hopefully helping explain why I`ve given this disk only a 2 star rating).
While there certainly is a good deal worthwhile here - the yogis are each skilled and capable, and both the second (Spring) and fourth (Winter) sections do include some interesting and novel poses and transitions - both the pacing and narrative, on a whole, come across as rushed and at times even forced. An example. At only 10 or so minutes long the warmup (Spring) is simply inadequate (too short in duration) and, in my estimation at least, doesn`t nearly prepare the student for the more challenging poses soon to follow.
Section Two (Summer) does lead in with a short series of warrior poses but then all too quickly follows with - of all things - a side arm balance with leg lift! How strange. I simply can`t imagine many students (no matter how accomplished) would be nearly warm enough to do this level of pose so early in the session. I also have to take issue with the inclusion of the tripod headstand here (that is, at about half the way through the section). In my many (now 30 plus) years of practice and instruction I`ve yet to encounter more than a handful of students who (I felt) could safely do this pose, especially as part of a flow, without also having either a spotter or support (such as a wall free of obstacles) nearby, for the sake of their own well being. Including this pose here is, in my opinion at least, simply fool hardy, and perhaps even irresponsible.
(The student could, of course, always choose to skip the disk forward or, better yet, continue on with their own variation of choice. Even so...)
I did find interesting that the yogi chose to include the wonderful pose know as "Bird Of Paradise" also in this (Summer) section. While I would prefer it be immediately preceded by some sort of more moderate rotation (perhaps Chair With A Twist?), its inclusion is most welcome nevertheless.
The third section (Autumn) starts out curiously with Tree Pose followed by a standing side leg lift (in keeping with the theme, where`s the preparation?) though the quick transition through to Warrior Three I thought fun. Not long after Dancers Pose comes and (sadly) goes. (Again, all too quickly). These few criticisms aside, I`d have to say the third section was, by far, my favorite. (Though, at a scant 7 or so minutes, also far too quick to come and go.)
Note: Because I still didn`t feel nearly warm enough, I decided to stop the disk here to do my own series of Sun Salutes and related warm-ups before proceeding.
In my estimation, the forth section (Winter) is inappropriate for most beginners. Tortoise (what I know as Frog) Pose at the start can be rather demanding and, without sufficient warm up, injury can easily occur as a result. One other concern here: preparation for Upward Bow (with lifted leg) was very much lacking (though again, one could perhaps stop the disk and move about and warm themselves better on their own before proceeding). I did appreciate the way the yogi moved into Camel Pose though, and the One Sided Heroes Pose was a welcome inclusion.
The fifth (and last) section called Lunar is one I might try another time on it`s own - perhaps at day`s end. I really don`t have any concerns or issues with anything in this section. It`s the sort of nice, calming yoga I usually include in my own restoration classes and sessions.
On a whole I`d say, my above noted concerns included, this is a fair to good quality self-instructional disk. While I personally didn`t much care for the accompanying music (clearly made using "new agey"/soft computer synth sounds with nary a single acoustic instrument to be found), that`s strictly a personal preference.
I will take issue with the accompanying narrative (at both the start and the second sections in particular). There were times when, curiously, it simply didn`t match up with what was happening on the screen. Whether this is a fixable technical glitch, or simply a matter of poor execution and production, I really can`t say.
As for who, in my opinion, might consider purchasing this disk, I suggest, for starters, those intermediate to advancing students who are looking for something (if not altogether new) a bit different to reference to and add to their existing collections. The less flexible and those just starting out might, I suppose, also find some worth here as well. For instance, the fifth section (Lunar) could easily stand alone as a cool down or "off day" rejuvenation session.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Simple makes it beautiful, yet not for beginnersJune 19 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a DVD that simplicity makes it beautiful! The instructions are very clear through out the entire practice yet it does not give much of alternative moves for beginners. If you are in intermediate/Advanced level and just need a good session of flowing yoga practice, this is the one for you, but if you just started practicing yoga, and still have trouble to balance in tree pose, please think over one more time before you decide to buy this DVD. I particularly like to do the lunar session before I go bed, it really helps me to let go my body and mind...