On my journey to find the best yoga DVDs, I’m taking a lot of time to check out those geared toward back care. I suffer from scoliosis and for years I’ve just lived with the pain and tight muscles in my back (I have a really high tolerance for pain, but even that was starting to fail me). I was lucky that I found yoga before my back issues got worse, and now I’m a huge proponent of the amazing benefits of yoga to help heal back pain. If you are tired of living with the pain and want an alternative to drugs or surgery, than I really encourage you to give yoga a try*.
Rodney Yee’s Back Care Yoga DVD provides an excellent 58-minute yoga workout that will have your back feeling stretched, strengthened, and blissed out! If you are not familiar with Rodney, he’s an internationally known yoga instructor and the star of over 30 instructional videos from Gaiam that have sold millions. He claims that this back workout comes from a culmination of his 21 years of practicing yoga and his obsession for back care. The workout is broken down into three sections as follows:
Exploration: Through gentle yoga moves, Rodney covers your spine and all the muscles in your back to help provide a better understanding of how your back works. It’s a back lesson and workout all rolled up like a yoga mat, and by the time you finish this class, your back will be loosening up and your spine realigned.
Strength and Flexibility: Next, Rodney moves through specific yoga poses meant to build up the strength in your back and to improve your flexibility. It’s a really great flow that strengthens your core muscles to support long-term relief and prevent back pain (in layman’s terms that means you’re gonna need to work on those stomach muscles if you want to strengthen your back).
Restoration: This portion is very slow, but that’s okay because it includes lots of long, yummy poses that really stretch the back. They couldn’t have picked a better word to describe this section, because the tension in your back will be released, and your back will feel renewed. If you have a really stressful day at work, I highly recommend popping in this portion of the DVD to relax and release your stress. I think this would be a great section to do before going to bed.
I had to laugh because one of the practice guidelines on the liner notes is: Practice in a warm, quiet place free from distraction. Avoid practicing in direct sunlight. I guess that doesn’t apply to Rodney, because he is rocking this back-loving practice in direct sunlight on a beautiful rocky beach in Maui, Hawaii. I think just sitting and watching the DVD in this tropical setting gave me my daily required vitamin D supplement from the sun.
If you enjoy a high-energy yoga workout, this is not the DVD for you. This is an all ages yoga show, ideal for a beginner yoga student and those who are experiencing back pain and want a slow, gentle workout. Rodney does a great job of walking through the poses, and I loved his verbal cues about breathing into each pose to release built-up tension.
I am not giving high marks for the music on the DVD; it sounded canned and, thankfully, just blended into the background most of the time. I think the sound of the waves crashing up on the rocks might have been a better musical accompaniment.
Here are a few tips to get the maximum benefit from the DVD. First, watch the interview with Baxter Bell, M.D. and Rodney before you do the workout. It provides encouragement for those with back pain, and includes an informative overview on the back care yoga workout. I highly recommend watching the workout sections next to get a feel for the moves and how Rodney utilizes various props to help with the poses. You will need the following props: a yoga mat, brick, strap, chair, bolster, and blanket.
If You Sit At a Desk All Day, This DVD is For You!
I’m sure one of the biggest causes of my back pain is the way that I sit at my desk, hunched over my computer all day. Rodney just made my desk life so much better by providing a set of poses I can do to help me maintain proper posture. Now instead of sitting around, waiting for my browser to bring up Web pages, I’ll be rotating my pelvis, doing back bends, twists, and opening my hips. During conference calls I can do a sitting version of cat-cow pose to loosen up my back.
There is also a highly informative interview with Baxter Bell, M.D., who really talks up the amazing affects that yoga can have in improving the health of your back.
Here’s my overall score of Back Care Yoga based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best.
Yoga workout: 9
Bonus features: 9
Repeat factor: 10 (meaning the likelihood of me doing this yoga workout repeatedly)
*Always see a doctor first before starting any new exercise program. A doctor can make sure the problem isn’t something serious and determine if yoga is the proper exercise program to help strengthen and maintain a healthy back.