Stretching & Relaxing

"The stretching and relaxing of yoga significantly reduced the pain of plantar fascitis, even after the first week of class. It feels so good to be able to walk again!"

~ Judy Covey, Big Yoga Student

Bella Online DVD Review

M. E. Wood
BellaOnline's Large & Lovely Editor

Big Yoga - Flexibility

bella_online"For those who don't look like the traditional Yoga models."

A few years ago I reviewed another yoga CD (Big Yoga - Hatha 1) by Meera Patricia Kerr and while the technique and instruction were good it wasn't really a beginner's exercise video. Big Yoga - Flexibility is more of a starting point "to ease ourselves into yoga" or any physical activity for that matter.

Meera Patricia Kerr has been teaching yoga for 30 years and is certified in Hatha 1, Cardiac and Extra Gentle Yoga, and Meditation. Her approach is not commercial but strives to include a full body experience including a peaceful mind and strong breath.

The Flexibility CD begins with adaptations to positions to ease tension or pressure on hips, knees and wrists. Meera has a belly and admits it gets in the way while doing movements but it means she cannot bring the positions as close to her core as a slimmer person could. It does not mean they are not doable or beneficial, just different.

Big Yoga - Flexibility makes sure the ankles, hips, shoulders, neck, and wrists all get some activity. The movements are performed on the floor but many moves can be done in the chair or standing position if getting down on the floor is difficult. She uses layman terms and official yoga terms to cement understanding. Throughout each movement she gives helpful prompts to enliven the lungs with proper breathing (when to inhale or exhale) and rhythm.

Following the flexibility movements Meera takes viewers through one of the most popular sequence of yoga asanas, the Sun Salute. In the Hatha 1 video she taught viewers how to do the Sun Salute with a wall. In this video she teaches how to do it with a chair. This helps to keep the momentum going and is easier than getting up and down from the floor quickly and repeatedly but it is still beneficial. As the user progresses they can eventually transition to using the floor if they choose.

One of my favorite activities at the end of a yoga class is the guided relaxation/meditation. It helps me take stock of what my body is doing. In Meera's video it is done on the floor to relaxing music but can just as easily be performed on a bed or sitting in chair. The final part of the relaxation is nostril breathing and then she goes into a lovely peace chant.

For those who want to explore the chanting aspect of yoga this CD closes with an explanation of OM Shanti chanting -- personally, I found the accompanying accordion irritating after such a lovely relaxation and I think would have been better a cappella as Meera has a lovely voice. Chanting is not for everyone and having it at the end of the video makes it easier to skip.

The CD is divided into five sections totaling seventy minutes:

    Intro - 6:22
    Flexibility Series - 26:18
    Chair Sun Salute - 6:40
    Guided Relaxation and Pranayama - 23:46
    Peace Chant - 7:41

There is the option to play the full program from start to finish or visit the specific chapters mentioned above.

Overall, this isn't your typical yoga video. There isn't a series of yoga movements to practice other than the Sun Salute but a series of gentle movements to increase the body's range of motion and full breathe. Big Yoga - Flexibility would be perfect for anyone who hasn't been active in a while. It is slow but invigorating for the whole body and would be a perfect start OR end to the day. It is good for all sizes and all ages (the instructor is in her sixties). I highly recommend Big Yoga Flexibility series by Meera Patricia Kerr (BigYogaOnline.com) for anyone who wants to ease back into being active.

Purchase Big Yoga Flexibility from Amazon.com.

Disclosure: Meera Patricia Kerr provided Big Yoga - Flexibility to me free of charge to review.

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