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Lights! Camera! Asana!

Go behind the scenes for the inside scoop on the making of Yoga Journal's Yoga Step-by-Step video series.

By Phil Catalfo

All of which illustrates the sharp contrast between the finished product and the process by which it was created. "The filming was choppy and discontinuous," Crandell says, "but the video looks really smooth."

Apart from tedium, the models faced challenges large and small, from striving to take poses skillfully to figuring out how to position themselves so that the cameras could fully present them. The script called for Crandell to use specific props but not how to manage them while filming (so they wouldn't block any shots, for one thing); that meant he had to deal with positioning them on the fly.

Alvarez's greatest challenge came when she was required to model the arm balance Bakasana (Crane Pose), which she calls "my most hated pose." She had been practicing up to three hours a day off the set to enhance her ability in this and other poses, but still dreaded the moment she'd have to move into Bakasana on cue.

When the time finally came, she says, "everybody held their breath. The camera focused on my buttocks lifting and tucking, my arms strong and unshakable. There I was for a full three seconds, living a glorious triumph over my most dreaded pose. Then the director, Michael Kirk, yelled, 'Cut!' and I collapsed in relief to cheers and applause. Everybody walked onto the set and, instead of handing me flowers and tossing confetti, they each did Bakasana, as a tribute to me and my dread."

Under the circumstances, the most remarkable thing, surely, was that Crandell and Alvarez were able to summon the presence of mind to perform yoga so adroitly. "I was surprised," Crandell remarks, "at how internal I felt while we were filming."

YJ asana editor Todd Jones, who attended the shoot as a "spotter"—helping the models adjust their poses just so—elaborates: "When you're really doing yoga, you drop within yourself, and anyone who's watching can see that happen. When you're doing a video, there are all sorts of technical requirements, like precision of the pose, lighting, sound, and camera-angle adjustment. Somehow, the models need to be aware of all that and still drop within and do yoga. And Autumn and Jason just nailed that."

YJ senior editor Phil Catalfo is the star of his own ongoing production.

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