DVD review: Peter Sterios - Gravity & Grace

Skimpy clothing and super-challenging postures means this DVD is not for the feint-hearted, says journalist and trainee yoga teacher, Cathryn Scott.


Mixed feelings on the role of appearance

I know that yoga is supposed to teach you tolerance and understanding, and that we should appreciate the human body in all its various forms.

gravity and graceHowever, I also know that I'm not alone in disliking the way a number of male yoga teachers insist on wearing nothing more than skimpy little shorts during their classes.

Greying hairy chests and hairy armpits and legs are rather off-putting when you're trying to relax into a pose, and such is the case with Grace & Gravity, the new DVD from Peter Sterios.

No matter how much I try to channel out the sight and concentrate on the practice, it's incredibly off-putting.

Of course, not everyone will find it an issue, and in fairness to Peter, he undoubtedly knows his yoga.

He's studied and practiced for over 30 years, is a former contributing editor of Yoga Journal, a programme director at Tryoga health spa and fitness centre in California, and has his own yoga mat and products company, Manduka.

He eases into poses with the grace of this DVD's title, and has an incredible strength and power. He is very inspirational to watch (once you get over the shorts thing).


Strong work
However, this isn't the easiest session to practice yourself. Like so many DVDs coming from American yoga teachers at the moment, rather than leading a class, breaking down postures, offering moderations and explaining why people with certain conditions shouldn't do particular exercises, this is a journey through almost two hours of yoga. Throughout, there is little explanation or guidance, other than which body parts you should be moving where.

If you're a seasoned yogi, you'll love the flowing nature of the DVD. Those who want a strong and challenging practice will enjoy being able to move from posture to posture without distraction.


Beginners, be warned

However, in the additional material on this DVD, Peter makes reference to those beginning yoga. If I had come to this DVD as a beginner, or early on in my yoga journey, it would have frightened me off. It's advanced; no doubt about it.

Even for the more experienced yoga, this is a difficult DVD. Yes, it's good to challenge ourselves and raise the level of our own practice, and the standing sequences are great for building strength and stamina, but we've barely started the warm up section and Peter is up on is forearms in scorpion, and balancing his body weight on his arms, legs in half lotus in a form of lolasana. You need an awful lot of strength to practice some of the postures.

The way Peter gives his instructions as a voice-over will also not be to everyone's taste. That sense of interaction is missing, and his voice can be monotonous at times. The way the camera pans in and out quickly, and on occasions tries to be arty by transposing repeated images on the screen, can be confusing.


The verdict
Despite its flaws, this is an accomplished DVD from an accomplished teacher. Those looking to inject inspiration into their own practice or teaching will find much here, and because it is so advance, you won't grow out of it in a hurry. Yes, it's challenging, and yes, it could do with offering more moderations, but if you want a strong and flowing creative practice, you'll find it here.


Gravity & Grace by Peter Sterios is available from yogamatters for £19.99


Review by Cathryn Scott.


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