Yoga Journal's Yoga-For Beginners (Gaiam) (1990)

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Released 27-Jun-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Yoga Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-The Practice: Putting it all together
Interviews-Cast-With Patricia Walden (Instructor)
Featurette-Yoga for Flexibility
Biographies-Cast-Patricia Walden (Instructor)
Trailer-About Gaiam
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 72:21
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Steve Adams

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Patricia Walden
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Peter Davison

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Following up on the massive critical success of my earlier review - Pilates - Conditioning for Weight Loss, I have decided once more to take the plunge into the twilight world of tree-huggers and knit-your-own muesli fans. This review comes to delight your senses with an up close and personal look at Yoga for Beginners.

    Sorry for that cheeky intro - I have to admit I am not a Yoga aficionado, and the generally "new age Zen" tone of this DVD makes me snigger slightly. But, fair's fair, there are surely millions of Yoga practitioners out there, and for those of you hoping to start out some time soon, I will try and restrain myself and just provide a factual review of what is presented on this DVD. As the spaced-out narrator/instructor directs - I will try and "keep an open heart and an open mind". Honestly! The disc is once again produced by Gaiam, a company which was "created as a multi-channel lifestyle company to provide choices that allow people to live a more natural and healthy life with respect for the environment".

    The yoga poses used in this program are based on the Iyengar method. They start with seated poses and progress on to the more demanding standing poses, to ease you into the regimen gently. The DVD is divided into two main sections:

    The DVD appears to cover quite a wide range of Yoga poses - Child, Dog, Mountain, Triangle, Bar Fridge, Proud Warrior and so on. The narration is steady and well-paced, allowing beginners to follow the directions easily. Overall a learning session should take around an hour to complete, with the workout taking about fifteen minutes once you have learned all the poses.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The overall video transfer of this disc is reasonable and adequate for its intended purpose.

    The material is presented in a measured ratio of 1.30:1 and it is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is typical of a full-frame video source, with a generally very soft feel to it - sharpness is certainly not the strong suit of this DVD transfer. There is some pixelisation in the background. On a small television the image is acceptable, but on a larger (for instance projection) screen the transfer becomes quite mediocre.

    There are few dark scenes so black levels and shadow detail are never really tested. In the desert Prologue section however, there is a dark scene and this shows plenty of low level noise. Colours are reasonably vivid, albeit there are limited numbers present - a white leotard and a colourful backdrop are about the extent of what's on offer. Skin tones look quite natural.

    There are no major issues with MPEG compression artefacts. Edge enhancement is present throughout giving a quite visible halo effect. There are hints at aliasing on my progressive scan system - I suspect that on an interlaced system this could be more of an issue.

    Film (video) artefacts are minimal.

    There are no subtitles available.

    This is a dual layered DVD 9 disc, but I did not detect a layer change, so assume that it is placed between the main workout and the extra features.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The overall audio quality of this disc is adequate for its intended purpose.

    The sole audio track is an adequate English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack in English encoded at 224 kbps. The surround flag is not set.

    The narration was always perfectly clear and I noticed no issues with audio sync. There is a small amount of background hiss present.

    The original score is credited to Peter Davison and provides a suitably calming background of new age music. It never comes close to drowning out the essential narration.

    The surround channels will carry some of the background music if you have Dolby Pro Logic II enabled on your amp. Otherwise, they have nothing to do.

    The subwoofer is, unsurprisingly, not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are a few extras present on this disc.


    The main menu is an animated affair, accompanied by the original musical score. It allows you to select the Practice section (covering the Workout and the Prologue), animated chapter stops covering each pose, a single text-based Workout Guidelines page and the following extra features:

The Practice: Putting It All Together

    A workout running for 15:33, to be used once you have become accomplished at each of the poses. This one is much quicker paced and features a countryside backdrop. It is presented at 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track encoded at 224 kbps.

The Beginners Mind

    An interview with Patricia Walden running for 9:46, covering her own experience of learning Yoga whilst studying in India. It is presented at 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track encoded at 224 kbps.

Yoga for Flexibility

    A more advanced collection of two workouts. One focuses on forward bends and the other on backwards bends. They run for an impressive 80:22 and are effectively a bonus program. It is presented at 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track encoded at 224 kbps.

About Patricia Walden

    A single text screen informing you of the instructor's impressive credentials.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version of this DVD appears to be essentially the same as the Region 4 release.


    Yoga for Beginners is another niche DVD, of interest only to those people contemplating Yoga. It is certainly presented in a very calming and mellow way, with soothing music and suitably hippy narration. For those looking for a DVD introduction to this hugely popular form of exercise/relaxation I am sure it will fit the bill. The video and audio are adequate for the purpose and, given the extra features offered, it may well be significantly cheaper than taking a bunch of Yoga classes - but perhaps not as sociable.

    The video quality is adequate for its purpose.

    The audio transfer is fit for the purpose.

    There are some extensive and worthwhile extra features.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Friday, August 13, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDMomitsu V880 upconverting DVI player, using DVI output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

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