Terra Entertainment, www.shopterra.com; (310) 268-1210; 181 minutes; 3 CDs.
This ambitious package, a very successful effort, includes two 70-minute asana sessions–”Empower: Dynamic Vinyasa Yoga Core Practice” and “Enlighten: Gentle Vinyasa Yoga Yin Practice”–and a 40-minute breathing-based practice, :Breathe: Pranayama for Meditation.” As the titles indicate, the asana practices are organized as vinyasas, or flow series. Each begins with a five-minute seated breath-awareness exercise. The “dynamic” session proceeds to a few simple warm-up exercises, including a long Downward-Facing Dog and Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), in preparation for two Sun Salutation series, lettered A and B. The first of these, repeated five times, consists of a more or less conventional sequence, while the B series (the longest track on the CD) integrates a half dozen or so familiar standing poses into the flow. This is followed by a pair of seated forward bends, a pair of backbends, Shoulderstand and Plow Pose, a reclining twist, yoga mudra–a forward bend in Lotus with the hands wrapped behind the back–and relaxation.
The lineaments of Ateeka’s “gentle” sequence are similar to those of the dynamic. After the opening breathing exercise, the asana work again begins with a few simple warm-up exercises, followed by a gentle Sun Salutation. The remainder of the session consists of a three-pose standing sequence, two baby backbends, a seated forward bend, a pair of groin openers, Shoulderstand and Plow Pose, a reclining twist, yoga mudra, and final relaxation.
The third CD is a nice complement to the asana work. It includes simple breath and seated awareness exercises, a three-part “yogic breath” exercise, alternate-nostril and deep abdominal breathing exercises, and a 15-minute meditation.
Ateeka, a certified Integral Yoga instructor, has a unique approach to the practice, always with an eye to its divine undercurrent. She provides clear, detailed instructions, supported by some strikingly poetic images and all the necessary cautions. I especially enjoyed her emphasis on intense self-awareness and self-acceptance. These practices are appropriate for experienced beginners all the way up to advanced students.
Richard Rosen, who teaches in Oakland and Berkeley, California, has been writing for Yoga Journal since the 1970s.