This DVD uses yoga to reduce stress. It has two main practices, one for stress prevention, the other for stress relief, both 35 minutes long. There are also 3 briefer practices for breathing, relaxation and meditation, along with a short introduction and an interview with Baxter Bell, the yoga practitioner and doctor guides the viewer. There's a built-in timer, to use if you want to extend some of the postures, and alternate audio tracks to use once you are very familiar with the DVD. There are also a few html articles on the DVD that can be viewed on DVD-compatible computers.
The two main practices are aimed at a basic level. The stress relief practice is not demanding, using some seated positions, mini sun salutes, a downward dog, a couple of forward folds, and a few stretches. They require the use of a yoga mat, a block and a firm bolster cushion, to lean against or rest on in relaxation. It is possible to use folded blankets instead, but these may not be as helpful as a specially designed bolster. The stress prevention practice is a little more strenuous, including standing poses such some of the warrior poses, more downward dogs, lunges, energetic twists, locust poses, and some balances.
Bell leads the practices, with two women behind him. One of the women does modified versions of poses appropriate for less flexible people, and the other does slightly more advanced poses than Bell. Bell mostly gives instruction through a voice-over, although he occasionally speaks in the room where the practices were filmed. It is an attractive room, part of a real house rather than a artificial studio, with a wooden floor, white walls and French windows; through the windows we can see a garden on a beautiful sunny day. There is gentle guitar music added to the background; this is pleasant although a little bland.
Personally I prefer not to use yoga props such as bolsters, and so their use made this yoga DVD less attractive to me. Other people may be enthusiastic about them. The stress prevention practice is nicely designed, and is especially good for those times when you do not have much time to devote to a healing yoga workout. The short breathing, relaxation, and meditation exercises -- about 6 or 8 minutes each -- are also nicely done. All through the DVD, Bell uses simple language and has an engaging manner, so it is easily accessible to the yoga novice.
For those whose lives are full of anxiety and emotional difficulty, and who are looking for non-medical ways to feel better, this stress management DVD could be helpful. The production quality is strong, and the DVD is easy to use.
© 2006 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.
Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Reviews. His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.