by Daniel Swiers (Director) Tree of Fitness, 2003 Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Jan 4th 2006
The main program in this Introduction
to Yoga DVD is the Workout, which lasts about 50 minutes. Evamarie Pilipuf leads the viewer through a
series of relatively gentle postures aimed at increasing flexibility and
comfort with your body. It is set in
nature, surrounded by trees with a body of water in the background, which turns
out to be a park in Illinois -- who knew there it could be such a pretty
place?. Birds sing, the sun dapples the
yoga mat and there's a light breeze.
Light music of both classical and other genres adds to the pleasant
sound background. Pilipuf, who has 18
years of practice in hatha yoga, narrates in a voice-over while she
demonstrates the postures. She has a
calm and assured voice and provides useful instructions and tips. The camerawork is professional and
thoughtful, helping the viewer get good perspectives on different postures. My only reservation about the style of this
presentation is in Pilipuf's visual presentation: she has a flowery headscarf
wrapped around her head, tying back her long blonde hair that reaches down to
below her waist, and she wears another loosely tied around her middle, with a
rather shapeless purple garment over her athletic top and shorts. The look is reminiscent of hippy culture,
which may be fine with some viewers, but is likely to jar with others. Pilipuf also has a very dramatic style when
she talks directly to the camera, with prominent front teeth and black eyeliner
that gives her an arresting startled appearance to her face. Normally I wouldn't comment on the
appearance of an instructor -- I know I don't want my students commenting on my
appearance. However, in this case of a
yoga DVD, the style of presentation is an important part of the whole
experience. But to be honest, I found
that when actually following the yoga workout, Pilipuf's visual appearance made
little difference, especially since several poses mean that you are not looking
at the television screen anyway. As
she explains later in the DVD, what is most important is to be comfortable, and
she finds her clothing the best for her, so this initial reservation about
appearance is probably something just to get over.
The workout starts very slowly with
basics, and moves to slightly more demanding positions. There are standing poses, lying down poses,
and some on all fours. There's the usual
emphasis on breathing and consciousness of body, and even some seasoned yoga
practitioners will probably find one or two poses provide benefit. The shorter second section,
"Mindfulness off the Mat," is a simple collection of tips and
information about how to do yoga and get fit, as well as clothing and yoga
accessories. Most of it is not material
you would need to view more than once.
So Introduction to Yoga is a
proficient and helpful DVD for novices.
Most people would soon want to move onto more demanding workouts after
using it a few times.
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.