Now this is a yoga video. Hemalaya Behl's Yoga for Urban Living has everything you need to practice yoga in your own home, whether you're a beginner or a master. The instructor obviously knows what she's presenting, and she presents it in the appropriate way, with thorough explanations and both energizing and relaxing music.
Yoga for Urban Living is broken into three main exercise segments: morning, evening, and daily. The Morning Quickie is a 30-minute session that focuses on stretching and breathing. This program energizes the body and prepares it for the day ahead. The music is upbeat, but just mellow enough to help you ease into your waking state.
The Evening Bath is more relaxing, both in poses and music. Even Behl takes a more subtle, relaxing tone in her descriptions of the moves, which are slower with more holding and breathing. This is the perfect way to wind down from a hectic day at the office. Do this 25-minute routine right before bed, and you should have an easy time getting to sleep.
The Daily Connections section is a 60-minute routine that is more difficult then the other two. This one focuses on balancing and muscle strengthening. It features tougher poses and is a heck of a workout.
One of the great things about this video is that Behl does the poses for the camera without saying a word. Instead of talking through the poses, she does them the way she expects viewers to do them, and her instructions are dubbed from a recording, almost as if she's doing a running commentary of what she's doing on screen. At first this came across as weird since the voice came from some area other than the person on screen, but once I caught on, I loved it simply because the instructor was showing the moves instead of looking at the screen and describing them.
Another reason I loved this video is the detailed instructions of the various moves, poses, and breathing techniques (see "Bonus Features" below). Behl truly makes this video work for beginners and for more advanced yoga buffs. Regardless of when you have time, there's a yoga workout for you on this disc.
Natural Journeys presents Yoga for Urban Living in 4x3 video format. The colors are bright and actually rather soothing, which is nice for the relaxing aspects of the routines. The camera really focuses on Behl as she takes viewers through each workout, and it's easy to see how each move is supposed to be performed.
I was surprised to learn that Yoga for Urban Living is offered here in 3.0 Dolby Digital sound. I was even more surprised how well the music sounded. It is crisp and clean, with just enough bass to let your sense of hearing become involved with the routines. Behl's voice, which is clear coming through the center channel, sounds as if she's talking in a small box, which takes some getting used to.
Another cool addition to this disc is the ability to choose between voice over, music, or both. Although I can't imagine a reason to listen to just Behl's instructions, the music does a great job conveying the feeling inherent in each routine. Once the routine is memorized, it would be nice to listen to that audio track alone.
THE BONUS FEATURES
This section is what sets this disc apart from other workout videos I've seen. Behl takes the time to describe the various poses and breathing techniques in two instruction segments. The pose instructions detail each aspect of the following poses: down dog, cobra, spinal twist, spinal lift, shoulder stance, reverse pose, boat, eagle, warrior, triangle, reverse prayer, and tree. Behl makes it apparent that these poses can be difficult and that no one should expect them to come easily.
The breathing techniques segment features information on the following breathing styles: 3 part breath (breathing that uses the belly, lungs, and chest), Ujjai (deeper breathing), Kapalabati (a great breathing technique for morning yoga), and energized breathing (an exercise that incorporates breathing and should not be done before bed).
Also, Behl offers an intro to this video that describes each one in turn, and also details the various precautions one should take before embarking on this yoga journey.
If you want to practice yoga, this is a great DVD. Behl shows and explains each move in a way that is easy to understand and follow. With three workouts, there is something for everyone at any point during the day and during the week. With extra instructions on each move and proper breathing, I highly recommend this one to anyone looking for a way to energize and relax the body, mind, and spirit.