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DVD Review: Yin Yoga with Jennifer Kries

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Life is all about balance. Yoga helps me balance my busy life. It tones and strengthens my body, and it also calms and quiets my mind. I practice and teach Ashtanga yoga, a rigorous and regimented branch of yoga with a long history and an emphasis on linking breath and movement. It's tough--my heart rate stays up high enough that is counts as a cardio activity--and each movement is held for about five breaths with no breaks throughout the 75- to 90-minute practice.

While Ashtanga is my yoga of choice, there are times when even my yoga practice needs some balance. Therefore, a couple of times a week, I practice yin yoga, as a complement to my Ashtanga practice.

My best friend is a yin yoga teacher, and she first introduced me to the practice. She has rheumatoid arthritis, so yin, which targets the bones and fascia rather than the muscles as vinyasa (a "yang" yoga practice), is her yoga practice of choice.

Yin yoga poses are held much longer than in other varieties of yoga: 10 breaths up to 10 minutes, depending on the practice. While the Ashtanga primary series includes more than 70 poses, a yin practice might only include five to 10 per class. Yin yoga is very slow and relaxing. Because the poses are held longer than in other classes, yin yoga can be mentally challenging.

I've taken a few classes and a workshop, and I practice at home, but I've never tried a DVD. When I saw that one of my favorite Pilates and yoga teachers, Jennifer Kries, had a Yin Yoga DVD, I picked it up at the library and eagerly reviewed it.

Yin Yoga with Jennifer Kries $14.99

What I liked:
  • The DVD is divided into an introduction and three workouts: beginner, intermediate and advanced. The segments build on the previous ones, and each segment is longer than the previous.
  • Jennifer takes the time to explain each pose and her two assistants show variations and modifications.
  • She warns that yin yoga lets loose emotions--sometimes negative ones--and tells you to breathe into them. (I've experienced this.)
  • She offers encouragement throughout the long poses, telling you to focus on "melting, relaxing, succumbing to the pose" while being comfortable.
  • Jennifer explains how each stretch should feel: "like you're constantly, gently pushing the envelope" but never feeling pain or physical discomfort.
  • Her detailed instructions nurture students' individuality and allow them to build a home practice more easily.
What I didn't:
  • It's not as relaxing as a real-life class would be--this is meant to be an instructional video that preps you to do the workout on your own.
  • Yin yoga is a mentally intense practice; creating a more classlike atmosphere would make this more accessible to beginners.
  • Physically, this DVD is suitable for beginners, but it requires a bit more concentration than the standard yoga class.
Overall, I really liked this DVD. I think it is a great introduction to yin yoga, and after just a few viewings, even a newbie to yoga could not only follow along with ease but also establish an at-home practice and feel confident integrating these poses into their stretching routines. In addition, because there are multiple levels to the DVD, it allows you to expand your practice as you become more comfortable with the poses and increase your range of motion.

Have you ever tried a Jennifer Kries DVD? Have you ever tried yin yoga?

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I purchased the Jennifer Kries Yin Yoga DVD. I did the beginner and the intermediate workout last night. Occasionally, I had to stop the DVD in order to stay in a pose longer or just scrolled back and re-ran sections to give myself more time.

If you have never done Yoga, you might want to study the DVD a bit and look carefully at how the practitioners are using their bodies before you try this. It is so important to be aware of your posture and support of your body during Yoga. I have injured myself overdoing various poses before, so please, go to a teacher and learn how to do the poses correctly before you start if you are a Newbie.

It is an instructional DVD, which means that once you have memorized the series of poses then you can use them within your own time frame in your private Yoga practice. This is different from my usual purchases, which are like going to a Yoga class and just "following along".

The results I got after doing about an hour and a half of Yin Yoga last night are:
1. Had no trouble falling asleep and I slept very well.
2. When I got out of bed this morning, I realized that I was already standing up straighter. I usually have to "remind" myself to roll my shoulders back and down and lengthen my spine when I first get out of bed. Was already walking like that from the moment I got up.
3. I had a massage today and my masseuse said that my body was overall less tense than usual, especially my back.
4. My hips, which have bursitis, and are never without some soreness, were much better today and I could tolerate the masseuse working on that area rather vigorously, as opposed to my usual "ouch that hurts" response.

Pretty amazing! I can't wait to see what happens when I begin to do Yin Yoga for an hour before bed every night! Report
i have an old VHS pilates tape of Jennifer Kries that i really like. I dont think i have the patience though to do yin yoga (though i should work on it) Report
Yin yoga looks amazing. I've done abs routines where the postures were held for a long time instead of being high paced. Oh, that style is definitely still burning calories and fat! I have fibromyalgia and I think I'll love yin yoga. Report
I'd like to try this! A DVD would be good for me, because, since I bounce back & forth between Maine & Massachusetts, I can't really sign up for a class. Report
sounds like what i call 'gentle yoga.' a few asanas, focusing on breathing and the gentle stretch, and noticing the feeling. i miss that's no longer offered here. but i don't do well with DVD's. need a teacher to help me with proper alignment. Report
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this video. I hadn't heard of it before, but it sounds interesting. Report
I like the idea that Yin yoga is for the bones. My interest has been sparked. Report
I'll suggest yin yoga to my mom. She has rheumatoid arthritis. I doubt she'd use a DVD, but she might look for a class. Report
I haven't tried either but am now interested in trying both! Thanks! Report
Oh how I agree, and do have some Rodney Yee DVD's here, and do like them, but the "Queen" to me is Priscilla Patrick. I've been doing her yoga exercises since I was forty, and I am almost sixty-three, now. I just love her. I used to tape her TV shows, and have loads of those, and of course have bought some of her DVD's. To me, she can't be beat. I needed a hip replacement, and got to hold it off for seven years, just by doing her yoga. Report
I love the yoga of PATRICIA WALDEN and RODNEY YEE, both of whom are Iyengar Masters.
Priscilla Patrick, who had a long running series on PBS has a site at She is 66 and still teaches classes. She has wonderful DVDs on Yoga for back issues, etc. Report
I would like to try yoga. Problem is I cannot get down on the floor or back up. That makes the idea of yoga rather difficult. In fact it makes many exercise routines difficult.

I can personally attest that joint problems do not have to interefere with or prevent a person from practicing yoga. When I first started, I was suffering from an undifferentiated autoimmune disease that was attacking my joints and respiratory system. Over time, yoga gave me back my mobility and improved my lung function. Sure, it was frustrating sometimes, but the more often I practiced, the better I felt. Now you would never know I ever had joint issues.

Yoga gave me my life back. I've said it a million times and I'll say it a million more. Yoga works miracles for the body, mind and spirit. Report
I'm a yoga newbie but I like Jennifer Kries' dvds and may consider giving this one a try. Although I have a number of challenges, I can often do many parts of her dvds and count myself as a fan. Report
For those of you who have had hip surgery, or any other kind of surgery, you still can practice Yoga. I am registered Yoga teacher and I have students with all sorts of physical problems. I work with them to help alter certain postures to fit their issues and make it painless. There are also MANY different styles of Yoga - sometimes you need to try a few different styles until you find one that suits you.

Also with teachers - you may need to try a few different teachers before you find one that you "click" with!

Make sure your teacher is registered with Yoga Alliance! You have the right to get proof too. We have membership cards to prove our registration. Report
Yin yoga is an amazing practice. I think Paul Grilley's 2 disc DVD set is the best. One DVD explains yin and the anatomy and philosophy behind it. (Great info to have to understand the practice better.) The second DVD has three practice sessions on it with 4 different students who show modifications. The classes are easy to follow and very rewarding. Yes, yin can release emotions, but better that than they stay stored in our cells as toxic material. Report
i have never tried it but will definitely look into it! Thanks Report
I think yin yoga sounds marvelous and I'm jotting down the name of the DVD so I can pick it up. For some reason in this area it seems like all the yoga classes are offered at times that conflict with my work schedule. I wish the facilities hosting yoga classes would realize that people who work for a living need classes, too. I'm pretty sure that yin yoga classes are not being offered at all - which is a real shame. Heck, I can't even find a hatha class that fits my schedule. Report
Never heard of her and although I've tried yoga, not yin yoga as you has peaked my interests, thanx! Report
I have tried it and I like it. I agree that it is a wonderful complement to Ashtanga practice. Report
Never tried any yoga. Sounds like it might be worth checking out. Report
I do one yin yoga class a week to work on preventing more of and relieving some of the arthritis that has affected my left hip and knee, and a yang class once a week to work on overal strengthening and conditioning. Report
I have never attempted Yoga but as of late have heard all positive so I may try this weekend. Report
I have an old videotape taught by Jennifer Kries and I like her. I don't know that I'll purchase this DVD, might put it on my Netflicks cue though. Report
i'm recovering from a second hip replacement (now i have a pair!) @ 57. I've never tried Yoga, but have always wanted i don't think i can given my restrictions w/ the hips.
what do YOU say? Report
I've owned this dvd for over a year, and love the practice and benefits of yin yoga. It's very meditative and calming. Thanks for your review, Stepfanie. The only thing I'd add is that I like how Jennifer Kries explains which meridian is targeted by each pose. Report
I am going to ask Dr if I can do this when I see him today. Report
I've never tried yoga because it seems like a lot of twisting and contorting, but maybe I'll check this out. Report
I have never tried a Jennifer Kries DVD or yin yoga, but it sounds interesting! Report
I have not tried it but this one sounds interesting. Report
I trust the videos from Jennifer Kries. They aren't all four-star, but I've found that I'm always satisfied with them. I will be looking into this one! Report
I've only tried a few yoga classes at the gym. They were much tougher than I thought they would be. I would like to it again. I need to work on my flexibility, & relaxing & winding down would be helpful to me for sure. I would probably ultimately prefer a class to a dvd, but I would consider trying it down the line. Report
No never, but want to try this one. Report
I was seriously into Hatha and Ashtanga yoga a few years ago and know I need to get back to increase flexibility again. I like the idea of Yin yoga. I'll have to look for the dvd mentioned. Thanks for the good review! Report
I use to enjoy Yoga at Ballys a few years back. Now I have 6 pins and a metal plate in my neck and the doctor does not think it is a good idea. I could not tell what type was taught. Report
I love yoga. I am going to classes once a week and trying to practice a couple times a week on my own. I go to a Yin Yoga class once a month. My yoga teacher holds it for free (donation basis) and donates the basket to a local charity. It 's a wonderful couple of hours that tunes me into my body and its capabilities.... Thanks for bringing it up!!! Namaste, Kae Report
Wow! Yin Yoga was my first exposure to ANY yoga .... Nearly 40 years ago, and free of charge! I had been a child, a high school student, really, and my gym teacher, one of the first to have returned from Esalen Institute, her "life changed", introduced her class and the after-school club she advised, on these 20-minute holds of this first-developing new take on yoga practice ... we pupils had been hothouse bulbs in an experimental garden of lush, sinking concentration ... In-addition, she held secret encounter-group exercises (could have got in trouble with the Education Dept. authorities if they knew, but somehow did not)

I'd developed bulbules of muscle on my outer calves from holding hero's pose that 15 or 20 minute length.

I had also developed a clear and calm focus to be able to get through my tumultuous senior year ...

Certain now that yin yoga for (longer-attention-span) kids is a trend that is due for a cycle-back ... ! But I think adults benefit at least as much ... Report
I love Yin Yoga! I have only attended one class, I mainly use a DVD and practice on my own. The DVD I use is by Paul Grilley and I highly recommend it. (I can't comment on the one reviewed above.)

Doing Yin Yoga has increased my flexibility and, even more important to me, it's greatly reduced my joint pain, and did so very quickly. Report
I'm more of a Vinyasa yoga person but I might have to give this a try. I have 3 or 4 of jennifer kries Precision pilates dvds and she is awesome. I like her style better the Mari Winsor. Report
I have not tried either of them, but they sound interesting enough to checj out. Report
I love Yin Yoga class...I'm not sure how much I'd like a teaching DVD, but I'm glad it's out there for people who can't find a class nearby. It's a wonderful addition to any fitness program! Report
Our Yellow Amazon team within BLC Team had a link to a YIN series and it is the first time I had ever done them; I could not do them for very long; I just am not flexible enough; But I did feel that with practice and proper form and breathing, they would lead to greater flexibility; I didn ot get the impression they were more "emotional" than other forms of yoga but they do require focus and longer ppposes; the poses we did were for 3, not ten minutes; I was able to hold them onlyh for about 30 seconds. I would do them again and plan to take a look at this video; Hopefully it will be captioned because the very most important aspects of Yoga ra NOT visible just looking at them, I am finding. We had very good explanatory text with the online link and I so appreciated that. I printed them out. Report
I have tried other yoga DVDs, and decided that I wouldn't be able to learn without going to a class, because they move so fast! This sounds like something for which I'm suited. Report
Sounds interesting. Report
Interesting... I may look for the dvd at my library. I just took the "Which Fitness Class is Right for You?" quiz & it listed any type of Yoga, such as Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa & Bikram along with Tai Chi & Yogilates ... I've not heard of any of these except Tai Chi - think I have an old dvd someplace - but I am willing to learn; so I've got some research to do & just lucked up on this blog. Because of other issues, I'm looking for water exercises too since I don't swim & hear that would do wonders for my knees.... Thanks for sharing, blessing. Report
I teach Ashtanga Yoga as well and would love to try the Yin Yoga! Sounds like it would be very benefitical dvd to try! Report
Wow, I've never heard of Yin Yoga...but it sounds fantastic.
Most yoga dvd's I have (yoga zone) do seem to leave a pose a bit faster then I like. I will have to give this DVD a try.
Thanks for the info! Report
I like Jennifer Kries. I have two of her DVDs and rented another from Netflix. Her Yin Yoga DVD has been on my wishlist for a long time. I may have to spring for it now, after reading the review. Report
I actually love Yin Yoga but classes are totally hard to find -- this DVD sounds good so I'll try and get a copy . . . and share it with my friend who actually introduced YY to me. Report
This is interesting. I didn't know what yin yoga was. Sounds really good for beginners! Report
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