Yoga for Stress Relief (DVD)

Does a Jedi master need stress relief?

Yoga instructor Barbara Benagh and the folks at BodyWisdom Media set out to create this DVD with a big goal in mind: to make it one of the most comprehensive yoga DVDs on the market, with a combined focus on various forms of stress relief and the overall basics of yoga. And, yes, it is comprehensive. There are more than 20 routines here, in easily digestible chunks ranging from 15 to 60 minutes each. These are divided into four sections:

• Beginning and ending your day
• Neck, shoulder and back issues
• Easing your mind
• Stomach and digestion issues

The routines, filmed on a beach at Half Moon Bay in Antigua, are indeed very basic, without getting into elaborate pretzel-y poses that yoga is sometimes known for. Because a lot of routines are just “hold this one position and breathe for a while,” Benagh’s narration offers little insights about relaxing and calming yourself. Because the routines are reasonably short, and because they’re so many of them, viewers are able to mix and match various routines, finding the right combinations for them. Beginners are kept in mind as well. Benagh might suggest, for example, that if you can’t touch your toes, it’s OK to bend your knees a little. (Why couldn’t my ninth grade gym teacher have had that same attitude?)

The picture quality is so good you can make out individual waves as they hit the beach far off in the background. The stereo sound is unnaturally loud, so I had to turn it down well below my ordinary “watch the news” volume. So you’ll have no problem hearing the instructions. In a bonus interview, Benagh again discusses the hazards of stress, and the importance of finding a way to relax. Of particular interest to many viewers (I’m assuming) is a 30-minute short documentary featuring the Dalai Lama, who speaks to a group of students about meditation and its role in achieving happiness.

If you’re a yoga enthusiast, or just yoga curious, this DVD should meet your yoga needs.

The Verdict

Not yoga guilty.

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