Video Fitness

Easy Yoga (formerly Living Arts Gentle Yoga for Beginners)

Suzanne Deason

I bought this at Costco for $6.99 and it is now one of my my favorite stretch tapes. It really IS for beginners. No yoga spiritual stuff - just basic, gentle, easy poses. I am not especially flexible but this tape makes me do the best I can. It is very serene and relaxing.

Setting: lovely beach
Equipment: mat, strap (or belt), block (or a book)
Length: approx 30 minutes

Part One (about 12 min.) Warmup: Lying down -back, hip and hamstring stretches, bridge, spinal twist and cat pose. Then hip flexor, downward dog and side stretches.

Part Two (about 16 min.) Workout: Lying- back extension, bridge, hamstring, spinal twists. Sitting- cobbler's pose, side and forward bend, spinal twist. Lying -spinal twist. Then two minute rela

Instructor comments: Suzanne does a voice-over descrbing the moves and after a few times you don't really have to watch. I like her because she is supple and flexible, but not annoyingly so. Her poses seem attainable, unlike those of Rodney "put some pants on" Yee or Patricia "pretzel-woman" Walden


This is one of the latest Beginner videos from Living Arts and is 27 minutes long. I really like this tape (along with most of the others in the beginner's series.) It is slightly different from the others in that it really does feel more like a stretching tape. If you fast forwarded through Suzanne's short speech at the beginning and if she didn't occasionally mention the pose name, you might not realize you were doing yoga.

The poses do not flow from one to another in a sequence, but rather she usually does one side, pauses and then does the other side. There are a lot of stretches which you see in stretching segments of cardio tapes. I would have liked to see some of the poses/stretches held longer, but there are so many different stretches in this tape that you will stretch different body parts more than a few times to get a sufficient stretch. Also, I found that doing this tape the second time, I could personally hold the stretches longer, because Suzanne was fairly slow moving from one side to the other or on to the next pose. I could hold poses longer, but still did not feel like I had to rush to the next one. (I am not sure if I am explaining that correctly.) There are approximately 25 to 30 different stretches/poses in this tape. There are a few poses which require a little bit of strength and not just flexibility, like a downward dog, boat pose, and bridge pose, but not very many.

If you are not a fan of yoga, but like stretching tapes, you might like this one. It is yoga, but definitely seems less like yoga than other yoga tapes. Also, I think people of all flexibility levels can use this tape. The poses are mostly shown with a yoga block, so the more flexible can do it without and still get a good stretch. Like all other videos in this series, the production is good. It is filmed in Maui. I've noticed these tapes are always filmed in a different spot, so you always get a different view. This one is on a sandy beach surrounded by the ocean and black lava rocks. The pastel colors of the props and her outfit are almost, but not quite, too bright in my opinion, but overall it is an attractive and peaceful setting. There is still stuff to fast-forward through in the beginning, but it is slightly shorter than the earlier tapes and does not have the Yoga Journal commercial.

Instructor comments: I like Suzanne. Maybe not as much as Patricia Walden in PM Yoga, but I still think she is a good instructor and I don't find her voice irritating as others have.

Lisa C


This is a good introduction to yoga for someone less flexible. The background scenery (Hawaii) is amazing! The music is relaxing. I found this video to be closest to my athletic stretch tapes. Suzanne modifys the poses to make them easier than other yoga tapes. One yoga block and a strap are used for many of the poses. What I didn't like was that the poses were not held long enough for me to get a good stretch and I found the pink color Suzanne was wearing to be a little dis

Instructor comments: I really like Suzanne. Her voice is soothing and she cues well

Danielle S


I tried this tape after having been sidelined with a sprained back, and still in some pain. Suzanne has modified the postures so there is no danger of straining either your back or hamstrings. She uses a "yoga block" (appears to be a hard foam block); I used a book; and a yoga strap (a towel will substitute nicely for this.)

This tape offers 10 minutes of warm-up, 18 minutes of standing and lying posture work, and 2 minutes of relaxation. Each section, however, flows into the next so there is no clear demarcation. Although I anticipated being somewhat bored, the time just flew by doing this tape.

Filmed on a beach in Hawaii, the scenery is beautiful. This is definitely a beginner tape, but worth having on hand when you're injured, strained, or just want a good stretch!

Instructor comments: Suzanne Deason has a wonderful, soothing voice. She has overdubbed the audio on this tape and is not talking while she is demonstrating postures. Her explanations and cuing are excellent; you can do the tape without constantly having to watch it.


I actually am a yoga beginner, and I was looking for beginner tapes shorter than the more usual 55 minutes, to use after cardio or weights sessions, and also for those days I can't devote a full hour to my practice. In the past, though, I've been a little leery of the Living Arts tapes marketed for beginners, because most of them clearly had more advanced beginners in mind than me!

Happily, this tape really does seem to be created with true beginners like me in mind.

Bear with me in this review, experienced yogis, because I've only done the tape twice and I can't tell you the names of many of the poses, because Suzanne Deason didn't tell me. I still don't know the English names of most yoga poses! :-(

There is no opening breathing section. The workout starts on the floor, with the most difficult hip opener of the bunch (it's like the standard buttocks and outer thigh stretch with one knee pushing into the other ankle, except that she gets you to reach through and grab your knee rather than your thigh, ouch!) There are several knee to chest poses on the floor before she moves to cat stretch and down dog, there's a low lunge in there somewhere. Then she goes to standing poses, starting with one knee on the floor, one leg extended, bend to extended side; mountain pose; triangle pose; right angle pose; and then forward standing bend; those last three are all supported with a block. Then she gets back down on the floor with locust, and pops back and forth between lying and sitting a couple times, in a sequence that includes that hamstring stretch with one leg extended and pulled towards your head, a lying twist, bridge pose, cobbler's pose (several times), a seated twist with legs to one side, a couple of wide legged forward bends, and finally corpse pose with the final relaxation. Many of these use a strap. I'm sure I've forgotten some, but that's the general gist.

The movements flowed a lot better the second time through, and I suspect will get better still as I become more comfortable with the tape.

The 28 minute length is a real bonus, and she covers a lot of ground in that time. The first time I did the tape I felt like I really didn't need the block, but now I'm reevaluating. At the beginning of the video, she says that she made this tape because she observed the trouble her students were having releasing themselves fully into poses. The block and strap are there to aid release, not simply to make the move possible. Though I can do all these poses without a block, I realized that even when I do use the block I'm not allowing myself to fully release into the pose, and that's because I'm tensing against the possibility that the pose will hurt. (I had the same problem in labour, BTW.) I think this tape will be helpful in learning to trust my body and release more fully.

This is a tape that has a lot of room for me to grow with it. Much like the Yoga Zone Introduction to Yoga tape I keep going back to, it isn't that I can't do harder poses, it's that doing poses I know well allows me to work on form and deepening into the poses in a way that working at the far limits of my ability doesn't let me. And this tape does have a fair number of poses that while they're still beginner, aren't on the Yoga Zone beginner tapes, giving me a chance to broaden my practice.

Heather Fraser

This is formerly Living Art's "Gentle Yoga for Beginners".

This gentle and calming yoga practice is about 35 minutes in length. It's filmed on a beautiful beach in Maui. Suzanne practices right next to the ocean and the water lapping to shore is crystal blue/green. Palm trees stud the island alongside the beach.

Suzanne practices alone and she demonstrates with a yoga block and strap for modification on several of the poses. Suzanne wears a pale pink unitard and she instructs in voice-over cueing. Her voice and mannerism are calm and pleasant.

There's a brief intro by Suzanne at the beginning of the DVD and then the practice begins in supine position. Suzanne moves into raised-knee-to-chest stretch, supine cross-legged stretch, supine leg stretch, bridge pose, supine side twist, cat stretches, lunge pose, hero pose, seated side stretch, downward-facing dog pose, gate pose, mountain pose, standing wide-angle forward bend, triangle pose, side angle pose, modified boat pose, seated forward bend, seated head-to-knee pose, cobbler's pose, seated half spinal twist, seated wide forward bend, supine knee-to-opposite-side twist and corpse pose for shavasana.

In terms of intensity/difficulty, this is a wonderfully gentle yoga practice for beginners, and for more advanced yogi/inis who want a relaxing practice for stressful days.

Leslie (blue_hydrangea)


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