By Paula Hamilton


By Susan Winter Ward



    Susan Ward has put out a guide to the world of yoga for seniors. This book is nicely photographed in black and white, and each exercise has a thought-provoking or inspirational quotation at the top of the page. Best of all, the models are two seniors! It seems possible this would be a workable routine for seniors.

There are more challenging optional poses, demonstrated by Susan, at the end of the routine. She begins the book with a very informative introduction to general yoga principles and health focuses. She also includes a Suggested Reading List in the back of the book, covering such topics as diet, exercise, holistic health and mind-body connection. Very nice.

This will be a contribution that goes a long way in aiding those who wish to take some steam out of the relentless pursuit of time and years. The only change I would make is to have the book correspond more closely to the video.


    Susan has prepared four 15-minute sessions of "Yoga Bits" Just like delicious little snacks, she presents us with the ability to indulge in a mini yoga delight! These are exercises you can do from your chair. Depending on the individual, possibly from a wheelchair, but definitely from an office chair, or a waiting room chair.

Accompanied by Native American flute music from Jesse Kalu and Alexander, that transports and lifts you as you move. Susan has an ideal voice for this type of tape; her style of format rolls along and accomplishes its task. A really wonderful little bit of yoga during the day, or at the end of the day as a relaxer.

When addressing issues concerning our health, we know exercise promotes flexibility, circulation and well-being. In addition, it's a superb way to counteract our often unhealthy and generally sedentary lifestyles. Disability or illness may prevent you from participating in many forms of exercise, but most will not have any difficulty with this tape. I really like that. Deep breathing, slow, gentle movements, a perfect pick up. Easy to follow, portable and enjoyable.


    Unfortunately, I have the definite disadvantage of being a visual learner, and generally find exercise cassettes difficult to follow. (I need to take a peek from time to time.) Thus, I did have a little bit of trouble when doing this session. In all honesty, I am not sure this would be a good choice for a newcomer to the world of yoga. I think a smattering of familiarity with Hatha would be a useful prerequisite. I'm not really a big fan of the Hatha style (I'm a kundalini type myself), yet I did like this particular program. Yoga is truly a rejuvenating and incredibly beneficial form of exercise, one that I practice and encourage for health and well-being.

The Native American flute music is beautifully and artfully played. It enhances the session tremendously. The cassette is a 60-minute class.


    Well, the back of this video says the class of (four) students ranges in age from 45 to 80 years old. I really can't even guess who is 80. Susan herself looks terrific, and leads this 50-minute session.

Yoga really is great stuff. This video is as well. I have spent a lot of time looking for a yoga video workout for seniors, or those who are less flexible, and haven't had a tremendous amount of success. This video helps to fill a void in the exercise option department for those who may need a slower introduction to yoga.

However, I think those who have serious health problems, or haven't been physically active in a long period of time, may have some difficulty with this form of yoga (primarily Hatha), even though it is most likely the most common form taught. I was surprised that it was fairly vigorous. It will make you feel as if you had a workout. Yet it's probably not beyond someone in average condition, especially if you are willing to stick with it a while until it becomes easier and you find that place where you come to love it.

For more information on this set, please call Capra Press in Santa Barbara, California at (805) 965-8020.

A Sonic Journey to Relaxation and Health
Dr. Andrew Weil

    I have played this CD so many times, I'm surprised I haven't worn it out. I love Dr. Andrew Weil. I don't always agree with him, but I like his books, I read his articles and now, I lo-oo-ve his CD!

Actually, this is not unique. The field of psychoacoustics, I mean. The idea of using sound to guide brain waves is not unique either, but the way this particular CD utilizes sound and composes music around it, is.

This is unquestionably the best use of this type of "sound healing˛ I have heard so far. A two-disc set, it comes in a terrific little black and white book, fraught with Ansel Adams-like photos and words of explanation, encouragement and wisdom.

How does it work? Well, sound moves in waves, or air vibrations, called frequency. A pitch (how high or low a sound is) depends on the frequency; as frequency increases, wavelength decreases. Frequency is measured in "hertz˛ or "Hz˛ and determines the type of wave you are producing: beta, alpha, theta and delta. Beta is our conscious state of mind, our awake state; alpha is our daydreaming state; theta is our subconscious mind, deep meditative state; delta is the slowest and makes up our unconscious mind. The resonance of the waves heard in the CD cause an influencing effect on the state of the brain; much like a tuning fork causing another tuning fork to vibrate.

Leading us through a journey of brainwave alterations that peak with a 25-minute delta frequency known as "the deep" Highly and deeply relaxing. I loved it! The music around it is classical and each piece suits the mood perfectly. Well engineered and produced.

The second disc is Andrew Weil and Associates explaining in more detail what Sound Mind, Sound Body is about. It's nice, but I'm not sure if entirely necessary as the book really covers the information well. Outstanding.

This CD is available through Upaya at (800) 354-3943.

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