Pregnant women who want a gentle, calming workout will be pleased with "Shiva Rea's Prenatal Yoga." Rea's focus on breathing and relaxation are ideal for pregnancy, many women say, and they like how the program modifies poses for each trimester. But some find Rea's style a bit off-putting -- "hippie, cheesy yoga-zen" as one reviewer puts it -- and others say the workout is too easy for advanced yoga students.
'Earth mother' can be a turnoff for some. California-born Shiva Rea started studying yoga as a teenager and is now one of the best-known yoga instructors in the country. She's known for her fluid style and respect for yoga's spiritual elements, but the latter is toned down in "Shiva Rea's Prenatal Yoga." While some reviewers find Rea soothing and calming, several others say they find her delivery cheesy. For example, one reviewer criticizes her "over-the-top soft 'earth mother' voice." On the bright side, they say she does an excellent job encouraging students to breathe and maintain their focus on the movements.
High production values. As with all of Rea's yoga DVDs, reviewers say production quality of "Shiva Rea's Prenatal Yoga" is excellent. The set, described by one woman as an "earthy living-room type atmosphere" is minimalist. Many reviewers say the music is soothing, but some complain it is too New Age for their tastes. Most say the program helps them feel relaxed and centered with a focus on strength and flexibility, and some even report it alleviates minor aches and pains associated with pregnancy. Several say the workout is gentle enough to do every day.
Modifications demonstrated for all trimesters. "Shiva Rea's Prenatal Yoga" is suitable for yoga students of all levels, but several reviewers say it isn't challenging enough for those with lots of yoga experience. Modifications are built into the program, with Rea performing moves for women in their first trimester and pregnant assistants demonstrating alterations for the second and third trimesters. One expert calls the third-trimester modifications "especially conservative," however, and a few others say cuing can be out of sync. Some moves require props such as a chair, blanket, yoga blocks or a yoga strap. The DVD contains a 50-minute workout that's divided into three sections as well as a guided meditation session.
"Shiva Rea's Prenatal Yoga" gets 4 out of 5 stars in more than 780 reviews. Most say the video is relaxing and centering, and the modifications for each trimester are a plus. However, athletic individuals and experienced yogis find the workout too easy.
Review: Prenatal Yoga, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2014
Ann Pizer, the yoga guide at About.com, gives "Shiva Rea's Prenatal Yoga" 4 stars out of 5. She likes that Rea explains the benefits of each yoga pose, but some modifications are too conservative for women with yoga experience, she says.
Review: Review - Prenatal Yoga with Shiva Rea, Ann Pizer, June 24, 2012
Hurst praises "Shiva Rea's Prenatal Yoga" for providing different poses targeted for each trimester and focusing on "proper technique and deep breathing." The short blurb does not go in depth or mention any cons.
Review: Yoga Video Recommendations, Robyn Hurst, Jan. 2, 2013