Patricia Walden instructs the basics of Hatha yoga in a precise, easy-to-follow, and safe way. A full range of yoga postures and relaxation techniques allows viewers to create their own personal programs.
Pros: May be a suitable tape for actual readers of the magazine
Cons: Will not push any fence-sitters on over to the Yoga side
I am not quite sure how I ended up with this tape; it is certainly not something I would have bought on my own...
...and therein lies the rub. Having no particular interest in Yoga, I've been unable to interest myself enough to regularly go through the careful but surprisingly tiring moves required by 'Yoga Journal's Yoga Practice for Beginners.'
I should be the target market for a Yoga how-to: I grew up in an era when a 'Sesame Street' magazine feature showed Ernie in a variety of Yoga poses, and now live on the periphery of Los Angeles, with all the wide variety of alternative what-not that involves.
Like a bad vegetarian magazine, Yoga Journal has been unable to shake the irritating 'new age' aspect that most people take as part and parcel of Yoga. The tape embraces it to a point that tries the nerves of this pseudo-Californian, and I'm sure more than one 'Type A' personality has flung the thing out the window. I am already repelled by health clubs with their strange music habits, and 'Yoga Practice for Beginners' has just served to reinforce my belief that exercise is something that should happen naturally in the course of partaking in enjoyable activities, not as strange organized ritual.
At this point even the most patient reader has probably done an eyeball roll and wondered why on earth I put the fool thing in the VCR at all, having no interest in Yoga and minimal interest in exercise. Okay. It claims to be for beginners. I figured an outfit publishing a magazine called Yoga Journal might have some sort of interest in getting non-Yo...yo...Yogis? off the couch and on to the mat (er, carpet) to have a go at regaining the flexibility of youth. Before puberty and its accompanying ennui set in, I took lessons in everything from diving to ballet and could twist myself into any position I liked; Ernie's pretzels in Sesame Street magazine were simple. These days, I am lucky to manage a bridge, and remain grateful that 'Robaxacet' brand back pain remedy is over-the-counter in Canada.
'Yoga Practice for Beginners' is, quite discouragingly, not for any but the most determined beginner. Apart from being insufferably dull, it is a surprisingly harsh work-out for the lazy -- and it sneaks up on you; not a good deal for the 'beginner.' At least with equally idiotic activities, like jogging, your body will at some point let you know in no uncertain terms that it is not having fun, and you can stop and do something useful, like reading cereal boxes. Every time I tried to haul my bones along to 'Yoga Practice for Beginners,' I (admittedly foolishly; I think I was expecting that my stamina would have improved from the previous attempt) found out that I had over-done things only when it was far too late, and the day after saw us not flexible a la 1970s-era Ernie, but reaching for the aforementioned 'Robaxacet' and promising to relocate away from the Yoga fumes of Los Angeles as soon as possible.
Given the pleasure that is simple stretching, I would welcome a thoroughly bastardized version of Yogic instruction; a notch or two simpler even than anything contained in the 'For Dummies' franchise of "books." Hence my disgust with 'Yoga Practice for Beginners' -- few things have done so very much to put me right back on the couch.
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