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Yoga Emergency – The 12 Minute Workout is a five-part video collection offered by yoga instructor, wellness consultant, certified Reiki practitioner, and hypnotherapist Kristen Eykel. Each DVD in this series follows the same format, providing an approximately 12-minute yoga practice focused on one particular area of the body, a relaxation centered on that same area (about 2 minutes of guided relaxation continuing with 8 minutes of nature sounds), and finally, a few short "stressbusters" designed to help you learn how to live without stress in your life. In addition, the Special Features menu includes a brief (5 minutes) interview with Eykel in which she talks about the benefits of yoga, particular with regular practice. One additional note: during the workout portion, Eykel does not mirror-cue the yoga postures.
The Pregnancy practice is set up a bit differently from the others in the Yoga Emergency series; when you select "Workout" from the Main Menu, there is first a brief introduction by Eykel. Also, following the conclusion of the practice, the meditation (which talks about feeling the connection to your baby), begins immediately. The Pregnancy yoga routine itself is 12.5 minutes long. Eykel is not pregnant (at least not visibly) while performing this practice. Although she does talk a little about how this practice can provide relief both during pregnancy and with labor and delivery, at no point does she mention whether any of the postures might need to be modified and/or avoided depending on your specific trimester.
Eykel begins the practice seated in easy pose for a dynamic move that involves stretching and releasing alternate arms for approximately one minute. After a stretch to either side, Eykel performs another more active pose, a seated spinal rock moving forward and back, again for about a minute. She then comes to a hands and knees position for an exercise that consists of rocking the knee in towards the chest, first on one side, then on the other. This is followed by a brief rest in child's pose (Eykel does suggest the option of using a pillow here if needed). Next, Eykel comes into a squat, holding this position for the optional practice of Kegels. Coming to standing, she does a bouncing move in and out of a half-squat position. The final move of this workout is performed for three full minutes: seated with arms out to the sides at shoulder level and thumbs up, you will make circles with your wrists. Eykel insists that if you can survive this exercise, you can survive a contraction! At the conclusion, Eykel ends the practice with a final "sat nam." There are two Stressbusters on this DVD, each about a minute long (these are not specific to pregnancy): 1) Journaling, using writing to both decrease tension and improve the immune system, and 2) Music & Relaxation, which recommends rhythmic chanting (of any type) to foster relaxation.
I should be clear that I am presenting this review as someone who is not (and has never been) pregnant. Despite this, I am fairly knowledgeable about yoga, and this practice is not what I would have expected from a routine targeted towards pregnant women. In particular, it was quite dynamic, most likely related to Eykel's background in Kundalini yoga. Although this might be appropriate for an active mom-to-be and/or one who already is experienced with yoga asana, the practice which Eykel presents here might be a bit more intimidating to those who have never practiced prior to their pregnancy. Also, I do believe that it would have been appropriate for Eykel to talk more about any potential contraindications to the poses. Still, some pregnant women are certainly likely to benefit from this short practice, and those who value a holistic wellness approach might also appreciate the bonus meditation and stress relief features on this DVD. Furthermore, Eykel donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of all of her DVDs to Conservation International, which may further appeal to some users.
© 2009 Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students at SUNY Geneseo. She is also a Top 100 Reviewer at Amazon.com and the official yoga media reviewer for iHanuman.com
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