by Jeffrey Hewitt (Director) Yoga for the Young at Heart, 2003 Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Oct 12th 2005
In this second DVD from the Yoga
for the Young at Heart series, Susan Winter Ward gives an hour yoga
class. It is definitely more demanding
than the first DVD, and people who do it should be comfortable with doing
simpler yoga positions first. Ward
leads a class of two men and two women, looking to be in their forties or
fifties. The yoga mats are arranged in
a rough circle, and the setting is simple: a studio with sheets draped around
and soft lights illuminating them. The
music is Indian, apparently composed especially for the DVD. The DVD has no
extras, and plays like a video.
The class lasts less than an hour,
and includes sitting positions, standing positions, and some on all fours. They
start out simple, but soon become surprisingly challenging. The participants strengthen their stomach
muscles by sitting on the floor and lift their legs in the air with arms
extended forward. Ward suggests leaning
back a little until the stomach muscles start shaking, and those of us whose
abs are not very tight may find that happens quickly. She moves to flat-footed squats, which some people find easy and
others find enormously difficult. The
participants do forward folds with wonderful ease, managing to stand with
straight legs and their palms flat on the floor, which is admirable. They also manage to do Warrior poses with
stunning ease, with no discernible groaning noises or exclamations.
People using this DVD might wish
that Ward provided a little more guidance.
She recommends sitting cross-legged and then leaning forward, and doing
this, you wonder exactly how the legs should be placed so that the pressure of
one on top of the other does not completely stop the blood flow. She leads her group kneeling down and then
leaning back onto their elbows, and people who cannot keep their knees on the
floor when doing this will want to know whether it is okay to lean back with
their knees up in the air. When doing
the Warrior poses, people need to know how the feet need to be lined up in
relation to each other, but Ward says nothing about that.
However, for people who are
somewhat practiced with yoga and have done with most of these poses before will
already know how to do them without hurting themselves. The first time you go through the positions
as Ward sequences them, you may well find it difficult to keep up with the
class at various points. Some of the
positions may be unfamiliar and difficult at first. But with some practice they become familiar and the body learns
how to get the most out of them. The
strength of this DVD is that it provides an interesting and reasonably
challenging yoga class, and it bears repeated viewing.
Christian Perring, Ph.D., is
Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island, and editor
of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on
philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.