Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Those who've visited my blog, know that I generally use yoga as my main means of fitness. As I mentioned yesterday, living in a tiny apartment in NYC, where space was a premium, meant I went for fitness videos that prioritized a small amount of equipment. Yoga fits that description to a 't' and believe me - with some of the practices, you are going to feel it.
I decided to review this video first because when the title state 'every body' they really mean it. This video contains routines for the beginner, the intermediate and the advanced student of yoga. Put out by bodywisdom, the instructor is the renowned Barbara Benagh. She is awesome. I can't say that enough.
First of all, her voice. It's incredibly soothing, which helps when you're trying to relax into a pose. I actually am able to achieve meditation under her instruction. My husband refers to her as 'that lady with the peaceful voice.'
Second, she doesn't make huge promises. That is, she doesn't guarantee that you will be able to achieve the full pose right away. She's upfront that it can take years to fully achieve the proper pose especially if your body has lost a lot of its flexibility. And most importantly, that is okay! For one pose, she even says it took her three years to be able to do it. I don't know about you, but it is sort of a relief to hear the instructor - someone who is famed for her yoga practice - admit that it'll take time. For Benagh, getting the pose completely correct the first time isn't the purpose; it's about re-achieving the flexibility we once may have had and knowing if we keep at it, we'll get there one day. She constantly admonishes you not to push yourself too hard, to ease off if you're losing your balance or it hurts too much or it is impacting your breathing.
Which is great.
The video has a variety of routines for each level. You can pick which routine you want, based on length of routine and/or time of day. For instance, there are routines meant to wake your body up and routines to help you get a good nights sleep. The routines range from 15 minutes to over an hour, so there is a great deal of variety. I am not an advanced student so I cannot comment on the advanced section, since I haven't even explored it yet.
While this is called Power Yoga, it is not like other power yoga routines, where you flow very quickly from one position to the next so as to elevate your heart rate. During each yoga flow, you will hold the positions for a couple of breaths so as to make sure your alignment is correct. That doesn't mean your heart rate will not speed up because it so does and you will break a sweat doing some of these exercise, especially the strength ones.
I like this video a lot but I want to like it more than I actually do. The beginner routines are really meant for a person who has never really done yoga or who is quite inflexible. For instance, sun salutation is done with a prop - a chair - to assist people who cannot achieve the standing forward bend, plank, yoga pushup, upward facing down and then downward facing dog positions. By contrast, some of the positions in the intermediate routines are not what I would call intermediate moves. I certainly can't achieve pendant pose (where you hold the whole of your body off the ground with just your hands) and that is in one of the intermediate routines. I did not consider myself to be at the intermediate level when I started using this DVD, so started off with the beginner routines. Except, that I found those routines to be too confusing with the addition of props to make it easier for those who cannot do the full poses, so pretty much had to move onto the intermediate routines.
Having said that, not all of the intermediate routines are out of my reach. I've been practicing yoga on and off for about a year, with the last two months or so being quite on. I've done a couple of the routines and have found that I have issues with only one or two of the poses. If I find that I can't do a pose, I try to modify it or I simply skip it.
I give this a B+. The routines are very well planned out, I like that there are different levels and nice degree of choice for each level, but I also think that they could have worked harder at creating routines for people who are not quite at the beginner level but are not yet at the intermediate level. If you want a yoga video that you can grow with, this is definitely one of them.