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Gentle is the New Advanced: J. Brown Yoga DVD Review

in Reviews, YD News


By Nancy Alder

One of the most frequent questions I get as a yoga teacher is, “What yoga DVD would you recommend for my mom/friend/partner/sister/aunt/etc?” Most of these individuals are brand new yogis or have never practiced. Yet this question also often arises for yoga students with years of practice under their belt. The challenge then becomes suggesting a DVD that allows for a varied length and both a gentle introduction to the practice and access for all levels. Surprisingly, this combination can be elusive.

Enter the new yoga DVD by seasoned teacher J. Brown to save the day. J. Brown offers a practice that is equally gentle and heat building. He offers four different lengths of practice (ranging from seven minutes to 75 minutes). Additionally he presents two versions of each practice: one with extra commentary for those who like a bit more guidance and one with fewer words for the yogis who value more silence.

J. Brown describes yoga as a healing modality and as a practice that utilizes breath as an essential component of movement. This latter truth is clearly represented throughout the video with the heightened breathing track that is in concert with the physical asanas. The viewer is able to hear J. Brown breathe as he moves: inhales on cow and exhales on cat are audible. For new students this effect can be profoundly helpful as they can listen along with J. Brown as he practices and then utilize his sounds to help facilitate their own. Those with longer practice histories will embrace breathing along with Brown as a way to feel the collective energy of a class in their own home.

The selling points are definitely feeling the completeness of a practice whether you chose the seven or 75-minute lengths, the choice of comprehensive or limited conversation, and the breathing tracks. However, the real highlights of the DVD can be found in the bonus interview with J. Brown and his introduction to Ujjayi pranayama, both of which should be required viewing for yoga teachers. The explanation of Ujjayi pranayama is one of the most extensive and clearest available on video and is helpful to practitioners of all levels. The interview elucidates some of J. Brown’s philosophy about the practice of yoga as a healing modality and that “gentle is the new advanced.” His appreciation for the benefits of the practice are palpable and his discussion that yoga is for all, not just the strong and bendy, is a gift. Add to these points a humble admission of his own “yogier than thou” moments and the viewer realizes they are watching the words of a great teacher.

This DVD will not be perfect for those wanting an especially fast or powerful Vinyasa practice or desiring a rocking yoga soundtrack. Additionally, the breathing track while beneficial to some yogis might be very distracting to others.

If you are looking for a DVD to augment your power vinyasa or Bikram practice, to deepen your connection to the linking of breath and movement on the mat, or simply to find ease and release through yoga then J. Brown’s is for you. Perfect for both beginner and advanced yogis, J. Brown is really onto something. Finally, there is a yoga DVD to recommend for everyone.

More info about the DVD at jbrownyogavideo.com.

10 comments… add one
  • Thank you for this recommendation! I’ve been looking for some input and I think this may just the thing!

  • sharon

    where to get said DVD, please?

  • Nancy- I am humbled by your comments. Much obliged.
    Sharon- You can get the DVD at: http://jbrownyogavideo.com

  • VQ2

    Thank you for the video with the double voice-over. I’d always felt I’d been doing chaturanga “wrong” because I had not been strong enough to “hover” as I’d been taught originally to do. (By the way, chaturanga had to be held for 3 full cycles of breaths; the flow was slow). The instructors had stopped remarking on my chaturanga after a short while … I’m not sure of their motivations, but they’d started to ignore alignment and pretty much just push-push-push ….

  • J. Brown beat me to the link. Thanks everyone for reading!

  • And here I thought J.Brown was just another “yoga provocateur” blogger with a pitta imbalance trying to draw attention to himself. 😉 Nice to see he is actually teaching something useful, very close to the way I teach, as a matter of fact. You just never know . . .

    • VQ2


      Vision Quest2’s general rules of thumb:
      First (1) Follow the money … Then, if that in itself does not provide sufficient clues … as a consumer, (2) You MUST try to find the value added (i.e., the kernel of knowledge) in all this.

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