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Winstar Home Video presents
Stephanie Foster's Masters Series: Yoga (1999)

"Breathe away all the tension."
- Stephanie Foster

Review By: debi lee mandel   
Published: February 27, 2001

Stars: Stephanie Foster
Other Stars: Devon Cormack, Bonnie Slifkin
Director: David MacNamara

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: G for (suitable watching for all ages)
Run Time: 01h:42m:00s
Release Date: November 07, 2000
UPC: 790658990401
Genre: special interest

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C B+C+B C+

DVD Review

Having spent a decade in Berkeley, California, I found it was impossible to avoid the basic yoga class: hopefuls in their leotards and baggy pants are gathering somewhere there, every hour of the day, to contort their bodies into breaths of tranquility. I lasted just 3 months; I am not the yoga class type, and I much preferred posturing along with PBS' Lilias, Yoga & You in the privacy of my own home.

Stephanie Foster, a former dancer, is one of the "most in-demand yoga instructors" in the US. This disc from Winstar offers 2 of her programs, Beginner's Level and Intermediate Level and seems to be an excellent, in-depth experience for those who, like me, can't seem to drag themselves out for public display.

Beginner's Level This begins with a few screens of warnings, guidelines and disclaimers that should be read before attempting any of the exercises on the disc. There is a brief bio about Ms. Foster, and a short intro from the instructor herself. With the help of 2 models, Stephanie takes us through the basic stretches, exercises and positions, all the while teaching us to breathe. Ambient music sets the mood and the stage is sparse and simple, focusing attention on the positions of Stephanie and/or her assistants. As is fitting the subject, the lesson moves slowly and gently; eventually I found I was only listening to her soft, even instruction and barely watching the screen for direction.

Intermediate Level After another introduction by Stephanie, she continues much as in the previous program, taking on slightly more challenging positions along with Bonnie and Devon. More strenuous than the beginner's level, rest assured these are still possible, even for lesser humans. This lesson includes the Child's Pose, back-strengthening positions and balance exercises, among others.

A very useful disc for those wanting to try yoga, but who are perhaps shy or unwilling to leave themselves open to public ridicule.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The source appears to be film as opposed to the expected video. The image is very softly grained throughout and develops a bit of noise in the dark background (actually, the floor in many cases) from time to time. Overall, it is fine enough for its subject matter.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: A simple monaural track, again fitting the subject. Ambient music (by model Devon Cormack) never interferes with Ms. Foster's instruction. Nothing challenging here.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Three-screen bio of Stephanie Foster
  2. Instructional ROM content
Extras Review: Winstar has graced this simple disc with a nice, brief, full motion menu with a loop of the ambient music, over which Stephanie repeats the line quoted at the top of this review like a mantra. There are 6 chapter-stops per program, pretty evenly spaced. The only extra I can imagine besides what is included here is a still gallery of the various positions with their names.

Once again I slap Winstar's hand for not making their ROM content available to the Mac user.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

Clear and easy to follow instructions makes this presentation a good buy for anyone who wants to experiment with yoga in the privacy of their own homes. Recommended.


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