DVD Review: Yoga Wisdom for Back Pain & Tight Hips, Allison Nolan (2005)

August 6th, 2006 11:59 pm by Kelly Garbato

Opens the hips, loosens the back like a charm!

five out of five stars

YOGA WISDOM FOR BACK PAIN AND TIGHT HIPS with Allison Nolan promises looser hips and a more relaxed back – and it delivers both in less than an hour! The DVD consists of two workouts: Level 1 runs 32 minutes long and is targeted at beginners, while Level 2 is longer at 54 minutes, and is meant for more advanced yoga practitioners.

Personally, I have been doing yoga for about two years, and I’d place myself in the “intermediate” category. As such, I generally stick to the 2nd level on this DVD. Level 2 begins with a gradual back warmup via The Cat/Cow pose, and then slowly builds in difficulty. Over the course of 54 minutes, Ms. Nolan guides you through a number of beginning to advanced poses, including Upward and Downward Facing Dog; Baby Cobra; Down Dog Split; Pigeon and Double Pigeon; Eagle Arms; Awkward Chair; Sun Series; and two Warrior Series, as well as a variety of forward bends and back bends. At the end of the workout, there’s also a five-minute abdominal section with the Baby Boat and Boat poses. The grand finale is a restorative segment that employs a yoga block to help you stretch out the lower back. I’ve never enjoyed a back stretch so much!

Level 1, which I’ve done several times now, doesn’t strike me as less difficult than Level 2, even though Level 1 is supposedly for beginners. In both workouts, Ms. Nolan has two models working through the poses with her; one of these modifies the poses for beginners, while the other follows along with Ms. Nolan, who is performing the poses at an advanced level. The biggest difference, to me, is that Level 1 is 22 minutes shorter. Thus, it makes for a nice, quick stretch when I don’t have time to do a full 54 minutes. It’s also a great warmup to the 30-minute Tae Bo DVDs that I sometimes use. However, the shorter workout does have one significant drawback: when you get to the more difficult poses near the end, you’re not as warm and flexible, and it’s harder to ease into some of the more advanced poses. (I find that my hips just haven’t had enough time to warm up for the Pigeon pose in particular.) Overall, though, both make for a very challenging – but do-able – workout.

As far as the quality of instruction goes, I liked Ms. Nolan’s teaching style. I didn’t find her overly peppy or annoying, and I thought her cueing was timely. I found that her descriptions of some poses helped me to better visualize and achieve them. She also avoided the standard New Age drivel that so many yoga instructors spout. My only complaint is that she tended to cycle through Downward Facing Dog / Plank / Baby Cobra / Upward Facing Dog sequence rather quickly. Other than that minor quibble, I thoroughly enjoyed the workouts, especially the longer one.

Equipment needed: A carpeted floor or yoga mat is a must for any yoga workout. You’ll also need at least one yoga block for the restorative stretch, and two if you’d like to modify the poses. Extra padding for the “sit bones” is optional.

(This review was originally published on Amazon. Please click through and vote it helpful if you think it so!)

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