DVD Review: Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  112 comments   :  161,626 Views

I've seen Jillian Michaels on TV, and I've tried her infamous "30-Day Shred" with co-workers. She lives up to her reputation as TV's toughest trainer. It seems like there's no workout Jillian hasn't tried. She's a jill of all trades in the gym.

On "The Biggest Loser," her co-trainer Bob is usually the one seen leading yoga workouts, so when I heard Jillian was releasing her own yoga DVD, I was intrigued. As a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher and longtime student, I love a good yoga practice. For me, yoga helps me stay centered, builds strength inside and out, and makes me feel good about my body.

Here's what I knew about the DVD before I tried it:
"Jillian Michaels, winning trainer on NBC's 'The Biggest Loser,' introduces a new yoga workout unlike any other. Combining hard-core yoga power poses with her dynamic training techniques, Jillian will get you real weight-loss results fast. YOGA MELTDOWN includes two complete 30-minute workouts that include a warm-up and cool down. Begin with the Level 1 workout which focuses on quickly flowing yoga sequences to burn mega calories. Then progress to Level 2 which adds twists and balance poses for an even greater burn."

I generally practice Ashtanga yoga, which is practiced in silence, with only the breath or a teacher's cues (often Sanskrit counting) to guide you. The same poses are practiced in the same order and held for five breaths, with each one flowing from one to the next. Would Jillian, who's always moving and very assertive, give me that same "love your body" and peace-love-yoga vibe? How would her "you can't phone in a workout" philosophy translate to yoga, where we're taught to respect our bodies and never push too hard?

Well, my friends, I was pleasantly surprised.

I tried this DVD on a rare night when I didn't have a run or yoga class scheduled. I wanted to do some strength training but get my heart rate up. I wore my heart-rate monitor, and while my heart wasn’t pounding, I did work up quite a sweat. It was as high as it would be during a brisk walk.

Who would like it: This DVD is not appropriate for anyone who is new to exercise or yoga. Due to limited cues and a fast pace, it requires a decent amount of strength and knowledge of yoga.

This DVD is ideal for a yoga student who wants to build strength and burn calories while lengthening and stretching the body.

  • Jillian is surprisingly encouraging throughout. Her gruff persona is often misinterpreted as mean, but when you need to find the strength to finish a set of biceps curls, her style works. She's slightly "softer" with her voice and cues here, but she is still aggressively encouraging.
  • She has two assistants, one of whom offers an beginners' modification and the other of whom offers advanced options. You'll find plenty of modifications to suit your body. (She offers her assistants lots of praise and encouragement, which is a nice touch.)
  • Her approach to yoga helps you build strength and fine-tune areas of your practice. You start with 10 repetitions of a yoga pose, then hold each pose for 15 seconds. This helps ease entry and exit--which would normally only be practiced once per pose--and build endurance in a pose. The repetitions require a great deal of focus on the body, and holding the pose builds mental stamina.
  • Jillian includes two 30-minute workouts each with a warm-up and cool-down. Level 1 workout focuses on fast flowing yoga sequences to burn calories. Level 2 adds twists and balance poses for a bigger challenge. I did both back-to-back, and I felt moderately sore the next day. Her chaturanga series (low plank) will having feeling the burn in no time, as will the side planks and the balancing poses.

  • Some of the poses are quite difficult for the average exerciser or yoga novice. Crow pose, in which you balance your knees on the backs of your arms, is held for more than 10 seconds, and pushups in wheel pose can be dangerous if not done properly.
  • Jillian's directions aren't very clear. Instead of saying "left" or "right" foot, she says "this" or "that" foot, which means that if you might end up spending more time staring at her on screen than actually doing the pose.
  • This isn't yoga as you might know it. It's more of a circuit and strength-building workout than a relaxing workout that links mind and body.

    You can buy the DVD for $14.98 or less (currently $8.99 on Amazon). Overall, I would recommend this DVD--as long as you know what to expect and you're ready to feel the burn during yoga.

    Would you try this DVD? What kind of yoga do you prefer: fast and furious or slow and relaxing?

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  • 62
    YES! Thanks for the review! I just put it on my amazon.com wish list! Can't wait to try it! - 3/17/2010   9:08:53 AM
  • 61
    I've been waiting for your review of this DVD, Stepfanie! :) I actually have this in my living room but have yet to pop it into my DVD player. I got it from Netflix last week. I am not a big yoga person - every time I've done it, I haven't really enjoyed it. Not sure if it was the instructors or just that it's not a workout for me . I went to a few classes at the gym before I got pregnant because I wanted to give it a chance but each time I wasn't excited about going back. But... I AM a Jillian fan so I decided to get this from Netflix to see if I would like it. If Jillian can't motivate me to do yoga, no one can! LOL. I am looking forward to trying it, although I know I will be skipping both the crow pose and the wheel pose. My body just doesn't bend that way! :) - 3/17/2010   8:40:36 AM
    I a preordered from her website & am waiting for it to come. I take a "hot yoga" class which is in a 100+ degree room and at an athletic pace. Looking forward for something to do at home. - 3/17/2010   8:05:20 AM
  • 59
    I think she misses the point in yoga practice. It's not about going as fast as you can, but slowly finding out what you can achieve. The right yoga practice can give you plenty of "burn", but if you move to fast in most of the poses you will injure yourself. I think she needs to study some power yoga before she should try to modify the moves too much. - 3/17/2010   7:46:55 AM
  • MYSTERY111
    I will now have to find one for newbies... - 3/17/2010   7:03:05 AM
  • 57
    Thanks for the thorough and objective review. Very helpful. - 3/17/2010   6:31:39 AM
  • 56
    I found Stepfanie's review very interesting . It's certainly very balanced and informative and actually made me understand that this DVD is not for me. One of the points of a good review as far as I'm concerned. I like more traditional yoga very much - a chance to focus on myself and my body and a great meditation tool so I can focus on my spirit as well. - 3/17/2010   6:28:45 AM
  • 55
    Sounds interesting and challenging. I am going to give it a try. Thank you for the information and feedback. - 3/17/2010   5:38:22 AM
  • 54
    I'd have to learn more about yoga first. I like yoga from what I've done but know very little about it and the moves just yet. And I find some very hard for my body to handle, like when my stomach gets in the way. Need to work on that. lol - 3/17/2010   1:47:11 AM
  • 53
    I am sorry all you Jillian fans, but I think she is a sell out. I feel she is getting it while she can and will put her name and face on any product she can. I feel the things she does on the show, and the different videos, supplements and detox stuff she promotes are all very contradictory to each other. - 3/17/2010   12:49:20 AM
    I bought but I don't like it. I guess it's a little too advanced for me. - 3/17/2010   12:26:38 AM
  • 51
    This sounds like Yoga I can get into. I have always been afraid to take a yoga class for all the spiritual feel-good crap that is a little too "om" for me. So this sounds right up my alley. Thanks! - 3/17/2010   12:19:27 AM
  • 50
    Sounds interesting but probably not a video I'm going to try. I'm horribly uncoordinated and would be too nervous about hurting myself with some of those poses :) - 3/16/2010   11:54:01 PM
  • 49
    I would love to try this. Sounds good for those weekends or days you don't really feel like working out too hard, but don't want to loaf around. - 3/16/2010   11:40:14 PM
    I found that even her 30-Day Shred was not for beginners either. You really work up a sweat, but if you're new to the exercise game, it's not for you. Thanks for the review here! - 3/16/2010   10:57:03 PM
  • 47
    I have tried this video as it is free on-demand from AT&T Uverse this month and it definitely is not the relaxing type of yoga, but then I would not expect anything less from Jillian. I find myself only wanting to workout to videos and with trainers that are more like her, it pushes me more and keeps me motivated. I may have to buy the DVD for level 2 but level one is definitely challenging from this intermediate. - 3/16/2010   10:26:58 PM
  • 46
    Thanks for the review; it doesn't seem that it would be a good fit for me right now. Good to know! - 3/16/2010   10:25:54 PM
  • 45
    I LOVE ALL HER DVD's even thought I used to despise here she has grown on me and I have seen the best results ever so far with ther dvd's. I actually just bought this one today and am stoked to check it out.. I ahve taken six month of yoga in class form so I hope I know enough to execute this dvd... but i think yoga is a healthy mix to throw in any work out routine for destressing and building lean muscles and flexibility. Thanks for the review! - 3/16/2010   10:21:29 PM
    I pre ordered this DVD so received very quickly and I love it! I have done her Biggest Winner series, her Shred series, Banish Fat/Boost Metabolism and No More Trouble Zones and this one lives up to her reputation. It is great to have a little change in my normal workout. Thanks for the review. - 3/16/2010   10:21:07 PM
  • LBRITT26
    I'll definitely try it...especially since it's on Comcast OnDemand right now for free! - 3/16/2010   10:04:05 PM
  • 42
    Not sure if I will buy this one or not. I expected a bad review and didn't so I might end up buying this one at some point in time. - 3/16/2010   10:00:20 PM
  • 41
    I like yoga that is faced paced at the beginning and calms down at the end. I might try this one.

    Thanks for the review! - 3/16/2010   9:41:22 PM
  • 40
    I love this DVD. I take a yoga class and I burned 267 calories in 75 minutes. The next day, I tried this DVD and in 35 minutes I burned the same number of calories. While I don't practice yoga for the calorie burn, it was amazing to see the difference.

    Oh - Netflix has this DVD in case you want to try it out before you buy it. - 3/16/2010   8:54:42 PM
    Lol, I would have tried it except for reading about dirty feet, that would be a deal breaker. :) - 3/16/2010   8:53:33 PM
  • MICHAELA2780
    I absolutely LOVE this DVD. I've always wanted to do yoga, but get bored holding a pose and breathing...I never have been the type to sit in silence or stillness for long...Jillian's method is PERFECT! I am definitely a beginner and use the modified moves. And I absolutely feel it during AND after the workout.

    As tough as it is, I am surprisingly relaxed afterwards. I love her 30 Day Shred but it's a nice change of pace from that type of workout. She does move fairly quickly through this workout, but nothing like the pace of 30DS. She acknowledges that you have to find your balance in a pose so I don't feel rushed and I LOVE the fact that she admits she's not very flexible. It makes me feel like I can do it too.
    - 3/16/2010   8:42:46 PM
  • 37
    too risky. I think it would be too easy to hurt yourself with this type of DVD. I will stick with careful series of yoga under the tutelage of a live instructor, and private practice at home. - 3/16/2010   8:33:47 PM
  • 36
    This is one I WILL try!!!! - 3/16/2010   8:27:07 PM
  • PRESHA911
    I probably wouldn't try this DVD simply because I'm not advanced enough (yet!) for the poses described. However, I'd like to work up to that. Usually, I like slow and relaxed yoga to help me wind down and stretch. - 3/16/2010   7:47:14 PM
  • 34
    Relaxing yoga. Ashtanga yoga is too hard on my joints . - 3/16/2010   6:53:03 PM
    I had my first yoga class last night and loved it - because it was so different from the cardio and weights I also do. I came out of the class loving my body (which is a HUGE change for me). I'm not a fan of Jillian's because I am harder on myself than she could ever be and it just doesn't work for me. I need to lighten up a bit :) - 3/16/2010   6:24:25 PM
  • 32
    Good job of reviewing. thanks. - 3/16/2010   6:05:27 PM
  • 31
    I like a calming yoga but I also like an active yoga where you're constantly flowing with movement burns more calories. - 3/16/2010   5:50:26 PM
  • 30
    I like yoga because it gives me something different from my usual hard-driving cardio and challenging weight-lifting. I like to slow down once in awhile, stretch, flow, connect with my inner self or spirit, relieve stress, etc. The exercises that people do in yoga classes are just one aspect of the practice of yoga. I dont know if I would call her dvd as yoga, exactly.

    As for Jillian, from what I have seen I am not impressed. On the biggest loser she pushes really very heavy people to do things that could very likely get them injured. Then when some of them are injured on the show, its like "well see what being fat has done to them?" I dont think any responsible trainer should be pushing the morbidly obese and out of shape people to the point of injury. Also, she is now lending her fame towards a new weight loss pill/product. These products are a scam, and generally not very healthy for people. So I have lost some respect for her. - 3/16/2010   5:02:28 PM
    I won't try it because I am way to heavy yet to be able to do most of the balancing--along with osteo in both knees. However, I was really surprised to see that a lot of the poses were things that we did back in "gym" class in the 1960's. Stuff the kids don't bother to do anymore. - 3/16/2010   4:54:14 PM
  • 28
    I love Jillian (and listen to her podcast at jillianmichaelspodcast.com) I knew this wasnt' going to be your "typical" yoga DVD with Jillian at the helm. I think I'll stick with my 30 day shred. - 3/16/2010   4:41:59 PM
  • 27
    Don't you think that Jillian person looks like she takes steroids? All the signs are there . . . - 3/16/2010   4:30:27 PM
  • 26
    LIke you, yoga means slow and steady, with a connection between mind and body. But for a quick blast to spice things up--as you said, this is more of a circuit traning kind of deal--, this DVD sounds like just the ticket. It sounds like her moves will possibly augment my yoga sessions, in terms of strength to hold position.

    I will definitely try it and hope that it augments my other "get fit" efforts. Thanks for the well thought-out review! You answered all my questions! - 3/16/2010   4:20:14 PM
  • LAURA9021
    Thanks for the review! I definitely prefer slow and relaxing yoga. Maybe when I get in better shape I will give it a try though. - 3/16/2010   3:50:04 PM
  • 24
    I tried this workout on Exercise TV and liked it. I've never done Yoga before, so all poses were new to me. I did find some poses challenging, especially the balancing ones, but it's not supposed to be easy from the start. The point is to stick with it and build up strength. I'm planning to do this workout again. - 3/16/2010   3:40:02 PM
    Nope, no jumping in this video! - 3/16/2010   3:34:11 PM
  • 22
    I've lost 14 pounds with jillian ... so Yes...I shall be trying this dvd! She's amazing!! :) - 3/16/2010   3:26:38 PM
  • 21
    I just did this workout on Friday because it was on demand with comcast, and I have to say, it was quite challenging. I've just been getting back into yoga and I definitely worked up a sweat! I'd recommend it! - 3/16/2010   3:19:22 PM
  • 20
    I adore Jillian, I even managed to meet her in person about 3 years ago. She seems to really be able to just know what a person needs to hear to feel encouraged and empowered.

    That said, I'm disappointed that she's coming out with video workouts that can cause serious injury to those who are unfamiliar with that particular exercise...in this case, yoga, and in another case, kettlebells.

    There is a huge backlash happening against her on YouTube because of an instructional kettlebell video she's released...that has some very serious problems with it. One in particular of her "hybrid swings" could literally land people in the hospital with ruptured disks in their backs.

    I hate to say it, but I think her celebrity has compromised her integrity. - 3/16/2010   3:01:22 PM
  • 19
    Thanks I love JM!

    I also did a review as a trainer on my blog, I posted all the exact moves. This workout is so fast pace it goes by quick and JM calls it a "Hybrid Yoga", which fits this great calorie sweating workout. (She even admits she is a beginner)

    I agree with your thoughts of some difficult moves, adding that "camel" is also challenging.

    I had no problem with her not saying "right or left" since this was her first time at this type of dvd I am sure she will get better. And as in most dvds you do time and time again you get it memorized.

    It says you will lose up to 5lbs in a week. This is my first week I have done it 3 times so far and admit I have worked up a sweat each time.

    My blog review:
    - 3/16/2010   2:33:57 PM
  • 18
    I am a big fan of Jillian although I stop watching her show two seasons back. I'm not a fan of her DVDs but I may give her another chance. - 3/16/2010   2:19:32 PM
  • 17
    I just bought this last night- excited to try it out this week! - 3/16/2010   2:06:55 PM
  • 16
    It is a decent yoga workout. She tries to tone down her tough vibe a bit. What really bothered me were her DIRTY feet. Yuck. As much money as they make off of these videos, you would think they would clean the floors of the studio. - 3/16/2010   1:47:51 PM
  • WHEELS54
    Wouldn't try it because to me, yoga is about stretching and breathing and challenging myself to be stronger and more flexible. I like the yoga for dummies series...weight loss, pilates, and beyond the basic. Good workout. - 3/16/2010   1:40:25 PM
  • 123456123456
    I bought this DVD last week and tried it once. That was enough for me! I am not a fan of Jillian and I can't even stomach her yoga workouts. This might be considered yoga, but Jillian is far from a Yogi. I returned the DVD and invested in a much better DVD by Gaiam - 3/16/2010   1:35:52 PM
  • 13
    Hmmm. I think I'm too new to yoga to do this workout. I'd rather have a teacher with me to make sure I was using good form. thanks for the headsup - 3/16/2010   1:26:16 PM

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