Reviews

Book Review: The Yoga Bible by Christina Brown

I was pleased to see a copy of my favourite yoga book at the Semperviva Sun Studio the other day. Now that everybody is in a Christmas list mode, I would definitely suggest it if you want to make a yogi friend happy.

The Yoga Bible (c) 2003 Godsfield Press

A friend gave it to me for my birthday two years ago and it follows me everywhere. I take it from one room to the other and has become a bit of a comforter blanket. Whenever I feel bored, I just reach for it and flip through it until I find something that draws my attention: a posture, a breathing technique, a mudra, or even the introduction.

It serves as a reminder of things I have heard or read many times, but tend to forget. It deepens my knowledge of asanas, gives me ideas for my self-practice and whenever I’m in doubt, I refer to it.

It’s simple to use and can be read in many ways. Its main section describes and illustrates over 170 asanas. The author always suggests ways to make postures more or less challenging depending on your level. I find the last section incredibly useful as it offers different tools: ideas for meditation, a selection of mudras, a guide to bandhas and drishtis, but also, ‘yoga with a special focus’ i.e. what asanas are more suitable if you suffer from insomnia, stress, indigestion, back pain, jet lag, etc.

Spine and covers are resistant to everyday read and tear and its format makes it easy to carry around everywhere: on the mat, on the sofa, on a road trip,  to the coffee shop, and to the beach in the summer!

Namaste DVD Season One, Disc One

The lovely folks at Vancouver’s Omni Film Productions sent me their Namaste DVD Season 1, Disc 1 for review. I was excited to received the DVD in the mail, as it gave me a great excuse to transform our living room into the ultimate yoga zone.

After I created a zen yoga space, I popped in the high definition, 6 episode disc into my DVD player. Over the course of one week, I tried one episode each day to get a feel for the flow of the series. My initial impressions were very positive.

The series is designed by one of Canada’s leading yoga teachers and therapists, Kate Potter. Her “Hatha Vinyasa” style is dynamic, yet gentle – and the unique flow sequence is appropriate for all levels.

Kate’s voice is very soothing and calming. Namaste’s original music does not overpower the film, but is played softly in the background and compliments Kate’s peaceful tone.

The series was filmed at various locations around Vancouver, such as Jericho beach.  I noticed the beautiful Hycroft Mansion in Shaughnessy, as it was my sister-in-law’s wedding venue! The scenery changes between other unique and stunning locations, including a dense forest in fall, a dark warehouse, yoga studios, Yaletown parks, under bridges and misty ocean docks. The scenes also alternate between night and day, to further change up the visuals.

For each episode, you can choose to play all or begin at the introduction, warm up, main sequence, cool down, or savasana sections.

The episodes are as follows:

  • Episode 1 – Exalted Warrior
  • Episode 2 –  Sun-Moon
  • Episode 3 – Firebird
  • Episode 4 – Gate Opening
  • Episode 5 – Dancing Sun
  • Episode 6 – Half Moon

Namaste yoga DVDS are an excellent compliment to your regular yoga classes, or can be used solely as your main yoga practice. The great thing about having a yoga DVD is you can take your practice with you wherever you go. It’s also particularly useful for those early, dark winter mornings where you’d just feel more comfortable practicing yoga in the comfort of your own home, rather than dragging your exhausted self out of your warm and comfy bed to your nearest yoga studio.

Namaste Disc One is accommodating for beginners, as camera angles show correct positioning and Kate’s gentle directions are very helpful. Yoga newbies will enjoy attempting yoga for the first time with this DVD series before attending a yoga studio, as classes can be intimidating for some first-timers.

I’m looking forward to trying the rest of the Namaste series!

From Semperviva

To be honest, I was nervous at the thought of “reviewing” a yoga studio. I’m 23, only 3 months into yoga, and I was heading to a studio like a movie critic (but not as jaded and bitter). And this was Semperviva Kits Beach no less, the newest expansion studio for a respected community-oriented yoga outfit. It’s not like I was from a bigwig yoga magazine or some newspaper that wielded a mighty stick. Regardless, it was a chance to explore and meet new yogis.

East Window

I must say, I dig the colour scheme and design choice of their logo.

After a bit of transit and walking, which was a little wonky after a 75 minute spin class, I made it to the lovely corner of West 4th and Yew where Semperviva Kits Beach is located. Familiar smells of mat sprays and lavender immediately greeted me as I walked in. Actually, I’ll let some photos do the gabbing for me:

Lounge Area

The common area is spacious and very inviting with the large windows. I wish I had a wide-angle lens.

Gear Wall & Entrance

From inside to out. The events wall is on the right and can be seen better in the video tour.

Community Photo Wall

This here is the photo wall assembled by the community, either of personal practices or to yoga events and retreats held by Semperviva.

And, of course, here’s the video tour guided by Callie Gray! If you can’t tell by the video, she’s bright, chipper and exudes love and passion for the realm of yoga.

The yoga room itself is not what I’m used to what with no ceiling panels to hide the air ducts and pipes and enormous windows lining the East wall. However, without a constricting ceiling plus the enormous windows, you feel like you can expand to wherever you choose. Also, the windows are one-way so pedestrians won’t get to creepily peer in as you practice.

I’d like to thank Callie, Jana, and Jen for accommodating this small-time writer on a drizzly Saturday. Your genuine kindness further fuels my passion for yoga.

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