June 30, 2016
First off, I cannot SING the praises of how I feel after completing this DVD from start to finish.
I am a small animal veterinarian, and spend the majority of my day, on my feet, lifting, squatting, bending and twisting, and hunching over a surgery table. I also suffer from fibromyalgia, which affects mainly my neck, shoulders and lower back. Many days, I come home feeling positively wasted, tense, sore, and grumpy. While doing this workout, I could literally FEEL my stress and tension melting away, and the tightness in my joints and tendons releasing. Upon completion, I feel enlightened, refreshed, and energized. The "No Pain, No Gain" principle does not apply to this workout DVD.
As an avid Jessica Smith DVD and workout collector, and long time fan, I have purchased and done all of Jessica's previous workouts both on and off of DVD. Last year, Jessica released the amazing "Yoga Stretch For Beginners and Beyond" which I loved, but I felt like something was missing.....this DVD has filled that void.
The single DVD comes in a hard shell case with artwork as pictured. Running time is listed as approximately 82 minutes, and the DVD includes an introduction and four standalone routines (20 minutes each, give or take) that you can mix and match to your preferences at the menu screen. There is also an option to play all the routines in order. I have included a breakdown of each routine below. Like the photo on the cover, this DVD is filmed outdoors in a GORGEOUS private setting, next to a pool with a waterfall. The background is lush, and green, dotted with potted plants, candles, and two burning "tiki" torches. The sound of the waterfall flowing into the pool is relaxing enough, but when combined with the gentle piano and instrumental music in the background, the stage is set for an amazing yoga workout. As stated in the description, there is no chanting or Sanskrit methodology used. This is also NO TIMER (for good reason, since during these practices it's important to focus and clear the mind). Sadly, there is also NO PEANUT, although it's rumored she is in a few of the other newer Jessica Smith DVDs released along side this DVD.
Jessica is gorgeous as always, and is modestly dressed as pictured on the DVD cover, so there is no over exposed skin here!! Her gentle cueing is ever present, as is her reminders to focus on breath, as well as attention to form. Modifications are provided for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, making this DVD great for anyone. Equipment required for this routine are a yoga mat, and sturdy high back chair, which is used for some of the balance moves, as well as a few modifications.
Flow 1 "Neck and Shoulders--For me, the BEST routine of the disc since I carry most of my tension in my neck and shoulders. This routine incorporates a standing sequence starting with gentle inhales and exhales while raising the arms up and down into "prayer" pose, followed by a soothing facial massage. Gentle neck work is followed by the most delicious stretches for the rotator cuffs. The second half of this flow incorporates the use of a chair for modified planks, downward facing dog and cobra poses. These poses can be performed WITHOUT the chair for a more advance option.
Flow 2 "Back and Chest': This mat only routine begins with a flowing sequence to open the chest and heart center. This becomes the focus of this routine. Jessica incorporates gentle forward and back extension moves to open up the chest and spine, followed by "chair" pose with optional side to side twisting. The second half the routine is floor work and includes hip bridges to work the glues and lower back, topped off by a gentle modified cobra and relaxing cat and cow stretches. Over all, this routine was great for releasing back tension.
Flow 3 "Hips and Knees": My second favorite routine on the DVD, this segment incorporates a chair to help with balance, as you focus on opening up the hips and thighs, IT band, hip flexors, glutes, quadriceps muscles, knees, shins and Achilles tendons. As a former runner, with a history of tight hamstrings and shin splints, this routine hit all the right places in the right ways. Moves featured in this routine include modified lotus, tree pose, and royal dancer. Also present are runners style stretches, topped off with an AMAZING massage and stretch for the feet.
Flow 4 "Total Body": This final routine is the most "yoga-like" of all of the routines. It begins with a flowing sequence of arm raises and forward bends to stretch the back and back of the knees, and transitioned to a standing warrior series and includes the moves you'd typically see in a yoga class (warrior, triangle, downward dog, pigeon etc.) but all done in a way that is gentle and soothing to the body without overtaxing your joints or limits of flexibility. You have the option to use the chair to help with balance, as well as some of the more challenging poses like plank and downward facing dog.