Full Backcover Description
Yoga Body: Hip Opening Flow With Stacy McCarthy
Beginner: Just starting out, very overweight or haven't exercised in over six months.
Intermediate: Active in sports, dance or any regular exercise (2 to 3 times per week).
Advanced: Very active in sports or consistently work out four or more times per week.
Toning Emphasis: Lower Body
Upper body: Arms, chest and back.
Lower Body: Legs, thighs, hips and buttocks.
Abs: Abdominals (stomach), core and sometimes lower back.
Total body: Tones all three of the above muscle groups.
Instructor: Stacy McCarthy (Instructor Profile)
Runtime: 45 min.
Street Date: November 27, 2012
Certified instructor description:
Stacy McCarthy’s precise instruction challenges students to deeply open their hips and therefore relieve low back and knee pain. This practice is designed to benefit anyone with tight hips, including those who play sports requiring one-sided repetitive movements, or people who must stand or sit frequently. Yogis who are familiar with a vinyasa flow practice will excel in this practice and enjoy relaxation in their hips. ©2011; Optional yoga blocks, blanket, and yoga strap or towel
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The primary practice on this DVD is a short 30-minute, easy-to-follow flow. The teacher gets right to the point with a 12 minute standing flow practice of sun salutations followed by 20 minutes of practicing Plank poses and hip openers on the floor. The instruction is clear and helpful. She provides modifications for 3 different levels and demonstrates each level when possible. Practitioners with especially tight hips or hamstrings may want to warm up for 5 minutes before beginning the practice and/or follow the teacher’s modifications for Level 1.
The focus is on more than just hip openers; there are some nice chest and shoulder openers included as well. The teacher gives more specific alignment cues as the practice moves on. For example, in Cobra pose her instructions to “zipper up your inner thighs and draw your elbows towards your hips” will help keep yogis in proper alignment. Over the course of the practice, she repeats a slow 5-count progression from Plank pose through Cataranga to the ground with the same cues each time. This helps practitioners develop strength in their core and maintain the integrity of these crucial poses.
The final three-part twisting series is innovative and an excellent way to help release tension from the hips all the way to the mid-back. The teacher’s affirmations during final relaxation (svanasana) help calm a scattered mind and allow practitioners to take a break from their busy world. The addition of a bonus suggested mini-maintenance practice at the end of the DVD drives home a valuable lesson for all practitioners: that even 10-15 minutes of yoga each day is beneficial. The teacher’s suggested structure for a brief maintenance practice is simple and easy-to-remember.
The short length and mini-maintenance practice make this program great for busy people who want to ensure they practice yoga regularly. The best part of this practice is a series of several unique deep hip openers including prone poses that are usually practiced while sitting up. These allow for more intense opening of the hips without dropping into the lower back and will help yogis practice safely.
Lovers of Child’s pose will be happy with repeated holds of this posture as a break from this otherwise intermediate level practice. The teacher hits the nail on the head when she talks about finding a balance between strength and surrender in your yoga practice. Practitioners who are looking to strengthen and relax will benefit from her perspective. The teacher provides good tips on how to correct common mistakes that are helpful. She is working to ensure that practitioners prevent injury and practice safely. Her emphasis on moving with the breath ensures this practice is true to the intention of yoga.
The practice is challenging even for this experienced yogi but the deep hip openers are certainly worth it. Not only did my hips and low back feel looser and more comfortable after this practice, my shoulders were more open and relaxed as well. I appreciated the reminder to pause in a pose and hold for 5 slow, even breaths. This made me slow down even during this somewhat fast-paced flow practice, and connect with my breath. The unique prone hip openers (referenced above) were delicious stretches and a nice way to open the psoas (groin) muscle.
Yoga = 45 minutes