Beginners Yoga Video Offers Good Instruction

Beginners’ Yoga Video Offers Good Instruction

Trying to​ ​ find well-produced fitness videos that are truly suitable for beginners can be a ​ daunting challenge.

Most tapes these days aim at intermediate exercisers,​ the​ ones who know a ​ grapevine from a ​ box step and a ​ lateral raise from a ​ biceps curl. These tapes may offer a ​ few easier moves here and there,​ but the​ instruction clearly is​ ​ geared to​ ​ people who already know what to​ ​ do.

The few tapes that are marketed for beginners often are unspeakably repetitive,​ as if ​ flabby muscles always mean a ​ flabby brain. And too often,​ they provide no way to​ ​ add extra challenge or difficulty to​ ​ the​ routine,​ as if ​ beginning exercisers are going to​ ​ remain beginners forever.

It's nice,​ then,​ to​ ​ discover Yoga Zone: Flexibility and Tone,​ a ​ beginners' tape that offers the​ depth of ​ instruction and easy pace that true beginners need.

The instructor here is​ ​ Alan Finger,​ a ​ genial-looking middle-aged man who wears a ​ polo shirt,​ rolled-up cotton pants and a ​ chin-length bob. His physique is​ ​ not the​ standard chiseled form of ​ exercise videos; he looks as if ​ he might carry a ​ few extra pounds around the​ middle.

But he has a ​ lovely voice (with a ​ hint of ​ a ​ brogue) and a ​ calm manner,​ two essentials for a ​ yoga tape,​ where relaxation is​ ​ key.

And he has a ​ true gift for instruction,​ combining the​ nuts-and-bolts details of ​ positioning with what it ​ feels like to​ ​ stretch and balance.

When he describes how the​ muscles of ​ the​ feet ought to​ ​ rotate through to​ ​ the​ little toe,​ you'll know -- and be able to​ ​ feel -- just what he's talking about.

But each move contains so many of ​ these instructions that it ​ can be a ​ little overwhelming to​ ​ try to​ ​ master all of ​ them at once.

If you have tried yoga before,​ you'll recognize some of ​ them -- the​ down-on-all-fours stretch called the​ cat,​ the​ inverted V that forms the​ down dog,​ and the​ corpse,​ which requires little more than lying flat on​ one's back,​ completely relaxed.

In another nod to​ ​ beginners,​ Finger also provides true modifications and tips for those who may not be as flexible as they'd like.

Finger shows how a ​ folded blanket can be placed under the​ knees or for better support while performing seated postures. a ​ folded towel also is​ ​ used for several poses,​ although Finger doesn't announce that in​ ​ advance.

The 50-minute session ends with stretching and relaxation,​ set to​ ​ gentle New Age music that might lull you to​ ​ sleep.

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