Review of "Strength, Grace, Healing"

By Mitch Walker (Director)
Exhale mindbodyspa, 2005
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Jun 27th 2006
Strength, Grace, Healing

This two-DVD yoga instruction by Max Strom proceeds at a slow pace, occasionally holding postures for long periods, and once or twice for minutes.  So although you are not likely to work up a sweat, it is challenging.  He focuses on grace in movement and the series of postures is somewhat different from that found on other instructional yoga videos.  That makes it very appealing as a complement to more energetic yoga flow videos. 

The first DVD has a 90-minute class and second one has a 45-minute class include short relaxation and meditation periods at the end.  There are short additional extras: an introduction and an epilogue on the first DVD, in which Strom talks a little about the benefits of yoga.  More useful are 11 "workshops" in which Strom shows how to do some of the important postures with the help of people demonstrating them: these postures are bridge, cobra, crescent, down dog, head to toe, pigeon, plank, sphinx, sun salutations, tree and triangle.  These are very useful, especially for beginners.  It is a little  disappointing that he does not include the horse posture, since he uses that a lot on the DVD, and although in some ways it is simple, (like sitting on a horse), it would be helpful to have more help on how far to lean forward and what angle to put your legs. 

The classes are performed by three people, two women and one man, in large room with a wooden floor and white walls at the sides and frosted white glass at the back, flooding with room with light.  The practitioners do not use yoga mats, but stand or sit on the floor.  Two of the people are at "level one," which is introductory, and one of them is at "level two," which is more advanced.  The level-one people use aids like a yoga block and a strap occasionally, and take more moderate postures.  Strom gives his instruction in a voice-over.  He has a deep voice that is easy to listen to.  In the background is striking ambient music which is surprisingly interesting.  It is possible to view with the classes with either music only, voice only, or both.  The camera work is done nicely: the practitioners are seen generally from the level of their heads, straight on: occasionally it looks like it might be using a hand-held camera, and other times the movement seems to be smooth enough to be a dolly shot, which is more sophisticated than one normally gets on a yoga DVD. 

I found on using this Strength, Grace, Healing DVD set repeatedly that it made me focus especially on abdominal strength as a way to keep the body balanced and poised, yet without getting you to do lots of sit ups.  Having the two classes of different lengths is helpful, and they both provide a worthwhile workout.  Recommended for people who are starting yoga or who are looking for a slightly different approach to yoga exercise. 


Link: Max Strom web site


© 2006 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Reviews.  His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.


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