Flow Yoga for Beginners

yogaI rarely even look at workouts with the word “beginner” attached to them but this was recommended on a fitness forum I frequent as something even experienced yogis would enjoy. I am not an “experienced” yogi but I am not new to the practice either. And this sounded like just what I was looking for at this time. Let me explain. I am in the middle of a very tough rotation. It is a 3 month rotation. I am now in the second month. It is a hybrid of Body Beast, Weider Ruthless and PiYo. And it is tough and not relaxing at all. I have been incorporating more stretching and one “rest” day a week in which I do a gentler yoga (PiYo is not gentle or easy and right now is giving me serious DOMS). So when I heard about this I decided to give it a try and see if it would work for my rest day yoga. And it did. It was very relaxing and just what I needed after a week of being torn up by Body Beast, Weider Ruthless and PiYo.

Flow Yoga is led by Shiva Rea. This is my first yoga DVD by her but apparently she has a lot of them out there that are more advanced. It is described as an introduction to the practice and since I am not new to yoga, that is what I found it to be. It stuck with the basic moves and was very flowing. She gave lots of modifications for people who are new to yoga and do not have the strength and/or flexibility for the poses. It is beautifully produced. The setting is outdoors on an island in Hawaii. It is done with a voice over, leading you through the moves. There is a lot of yoga terminology that I am not familiar with but it didn’t bother me. She did use the common terms, but also lots that were new to me.

What I really liked about this is that I am already familiar with yoga, but it let me go at my own pace. I wanted something relaxing so I often did the lower intensity versions and when I wanted a deeper stretch, I did the “normal” version of the pose. The workout is 70 minutes and broken into 5 segments: Foundation Flow, Beginners Backbend Flow, Relaxing Flexibility Flow, Beginners Standing Flow Pose and Shavasana.

Foundation Flow is about 14 minutes and focuses on teaching you about breathing, cat and cow, a modified plank, child’s pose, several variations (modifications) of chatarunga and down dog. Beginners Backbend Flow is about 22 minutes and you do standing backbends, rolling down/folding forward until your hands are on the ground. You’ll do shoulder and arm stretches. You will go into “lunge.” I use quotations because some (but not all) of the lunges done in this workout will have your knee on the ground. In lunge you will stretch you arms and chest, pulse (slowly) forward and backward, stretching the hip flexors. You will move into half splits, stretching the hamstring and calf. Half chatarunga and cobra. You will do a variation of the lunges on the other leg with different arms movements. Standing again, you will do side bends, standing back bends, chair pose with twists, twisting lunges, boat pose, camel. Lying on the back, you rotate you knees side to side. Relaxing Flexibility Pose is 10 minutes. While lying on your back, you will do various stretches for your lower body. It is very relaxing and does a great job of stretching out the hips and hamstrings.  Beginners Standing Flow Pose is 21 minutes and introduces you to warrior and flowing from chatarunga to down dog to warrior 2. Your warrior poses will begin on one knee (modified lunge) the first time through, then she brings you to full warrior 2 on all of the other flowing passes through the series. Shavasana is the final segment and the shortest. It is only about 2 minutes before the credits start rolling. You basically lay on your back in dead man’s pose while it goes between views of the ocean and views of Shiva laying there, relaxing. The music and voice over continues, very relaxing.

It’s a great, relaxing workout for a real “rest” day (rather than an active rest day) in which you still want to do something but take a break from a brutal rotation. Since it is chaptered you can also go in and use different segments for add ons. For example, Relaxing Flexibility Pose, which is only 10 minutes would be a great after a lower body workout, or a tough plyomentric workout.


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