Kino, Tim and Greg "Intro to Ashtanga Yoga" DVD Review

I am very pleased after watching the DVD  "Introduction to Ashtanga Yoga with Kino, Greg and Tim". I find it an excellent resource for beginners, and a very complete, well-rounded introduction.

Kino -you probably heard of, is the director of the Miami Life Center. I met her in Mysore earlier this year and she catapulted James into the Ashtanga hall of fame when she published in her Facebook page that he had been completely humiliated by yoga...

Tim Feldman is her husband and co-founder of the Miami Life Center.  He is a long time student of both Lino Miele -he mentions him in his portion- and Pattabhi Jois.

Greg Nardi is a long time student of yoga and Ashtanga yoga. Although I did not find his link on the faculty at the Miami Life Center he is listed as co-director. He also maintains the Facebook page "Ashtanga Yoga Worldwide".

THE DVD

Philosophy:

Greg
Greg gives a solid -if brief- overview of the history and philosophy of Ashtanga. I was left wanting to hear more.  

I particularly liked how he includes us, you and me, into the mix, which is something I firmly believe in. We are, after all, the living tradition:

"...As modern day yogis we can begin to expand the definition and raise our expectations of the practice"

The end goal is also pretty clearly stated: with practice we will be able to stop those jerking re-actions that cause us troubles:

"...Committed yoga practice offers us a system to change limiting patters of identification in our minds and body so we can experience greater freedom and reduce the suffering that is common to all human beings."

Breathing:

Tim
Tim Feldman takes over for the breathing section and has a wonderful 3-part way of explaining the contraction in the throat by which the breath is lengthened and controlled.  He has plenty of demonstrations and works with Dora, to show the movements in the body of a female.

Towards the end he also talks about vinyasa "without which it is not ashtanga yoga", and has a brief but effective demonstration of how to unite the breathing to the movement in a simple standing to squatting mini-sequence.

"Once we do this practice shanti -or peace- finds us", says Tim, who has a nice accent and clear eyes, and you believe him because you can see the radiance in him.



Practice:

The good news:  Kino goes through the primary series and it only gets to Janu Sirsasana A, which means it is a short practice, with the whole adventure at 1 hour and 9 minutes.  Great to start with.

Kino starts with the opening chant and a translation side by side. Greg is next to her and he makes every possible modification so that the practice becomes possible, no matter what level.  For instance, it was good to see the bended front leg in triangle, which someone like James seems to struggle with as a beginner.

The level of detail in the voice instructions is outstanding.  It never stops and goes into what has to happen in depth. Perhaps this is necessary for those first couple of practices as a strong point of reference to  notice everything that has to happen in each and every asana and transition. There is a lot going on indeed.

There is no 1-2-3-4-5 count for the breath while in the poses, rather extra bits of direction are heard so that the practitioner knows exactly what has to be engaged, thrust-ed, extended, worshiped, etc. For example,  for the sun salutes:

"For sun salutation begin by allowing your breath to awaken the inner sun ... allow your self to salute the sun and the inner fire..."

The Sanskrit is kept to a total minimum with the name of the pose in that language only mentioned before each pose, which is always beginner-friendly way to go so kuddos to that.

Finally, the back bending is fully modified by Greg making it possible (especially when seen next to Kino) and the closing is complete with full modifications.

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So there you have it, a great introduction DVD to Ashtanga. I wish it had been available when I started.

You can buy the DVD here directly from Kino's website, no Amazon just yet, it cost $22.95 plus shipping and handling 7.95 - not sure if it ships internationally

RELATED POSTS:


32, 33? Suggestions on how to Start an Ashtanga Yoga Practice
I have been completely humiliated by yoga, again
What is Lineage?





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15 comments:

  1. I've been looking for a good beginning DVD. I'll give this a try. Thank you.

    Happy Day.

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  2. Hi W/M, I found it very well-rounded, let me know how you do if you try it :-). You are most welcome

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  3. Nice post, Claudia. FYI, you did not find Greg's name on the faculty list at MLC because he is no longer there: I hear that he has relocated to somewhere in Canada.

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  4. Oh, that is interesting to note, thanks Nobel.

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  5. My understanding is that Greg and his partner are spending some time in Philly while awaiting visas from Canada. He is teaching the mysore class at Shanti Yoga Shala in Philly on Sunday (or so the person I emailed said, as I might be traveling through there on Sunday)

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  6. Colleen, cool, thanks for sharing, guess Greg is a traveller!!! Hope you get to practice there on Sunday...

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  7. Also, if any of you get a chance, take practice with Tim and/or Kino. They have much to offer.

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  8. Hy Wyatt, thanks for that pointer. I actually tried a couple of times but when in Miami I was too far away from 6th street and I saw that parking could get complicated... but I would like to take classes with them at some point.

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  9. Yes, correct: Greg is in Philly as of this past Wednesday. I practiced with him on Wednesday and Friday, and will be again this morning.... It makes sense that he would not have been listed on the MLC faculty, because he hasn't taught there since about December (when I went to practice w/ Kino & Tim in January, Greg was no longer teaching at MLC). He's been in Tampa the past few months, teaching at a studio that had developed some sort of alliance with MLC, from what I understand.

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  10. Thanks for the update Frank, good to read from you! I am glad he is on the video, he is very good and interesting

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  11. I'd second the recommendation to practice with Tim (and or Kino, of course). I had an amazing two weeks with them in India this spring, and though he doesn't travel as much as Kino, Tim is seriously worth seeking out. He is an incredible teacher, very sincere and funny, and has a very different way of explaining things - and he does great work on backbending too!

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  12. Mel, you are quite right I noticed in his portion of the DVD that he has a very special and sweet way to explain things, drove the point home... :-)

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  13. It ships to Canada, I'm waiting for it to arrive any time now!!

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  14. Anon, thanks for that, it is good to know!

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  15. First of all, props to Kino for sharing her passion and knowledge of ashtanga yoga. She deserves a lot of credit and respect for what she's doing. I understand there are lots of people who object to her image, but I don't have a problem with that at all. My issue is more of her hypocritical manner when talking about "ahimsa" or the principle of "not harming." She talks about this at length in her book and in interviews. But check out this Youtube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F80lyRHxNDg) where she totally contradicts herself. HelloYoga in Japan did an interview with Kino on September 29, 2011. Around the video's 13:00 to 14:00 minute mark, she says she doesn't consume meat bc she loves animals and abides by ahimsa, therefore she's vegetarian. Then around the 16:42 mark, she talks about how she loves shopping and how many beautiful shoes she's bought on her trip to Japan. I guess she has no problem with how the leftover skin of animals killed for food is used to make beautiful shoes...as long as she doesn't actually consume the meat herself. Rather hypocritical, if you ask me. Or maybe all those shoes she bought are made of pleather. Somehow I doubt it.

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