My interest in yoga was stoked when I purchased a Power Yoga workout on VHS, starring Rodney Yee as an instructor. Despite being a sedentary college student at that time, I surprised myself by being able to follow each and every position without a single modification - even managing to hold a tree pose without toppling over. Of course - as Scribey pointed out to me when I brought the tape to her apartment so we could work out together - it also helped that I was being led by a hot Asian man performing gravity-defying exercises in tight and tiny shorts. (Hello!)
That tape has been lost to me now - though Rodney has now found a home in SisMei's DVD stash, thanks to A.M. and P.M. Yoga - but I've discovered a bunch of different yoga routines on video since then. In fact, I now have three yoga DVDs in my current stash, which I have used with a fair amount of regularity.
Coming up right after the jump: reviews of the three yoga DVDs that I've been putting under heavy rotation.
(Note: Most of these videos have modifications to help people work out at different levels; if you're anything like me, I suggest working at the fully modified beginner's level first.)
- Baron Baptiste Live! Core Power. I found this at Ross (of all places!), and at first I thought that the routines here were way too challenging. (Sorry, Baron, but there's no frickin' way I'll be able to do a boat pose without a strap any time soon.) As I built my flexibility over time, however, I found myself really getting into the flow of this workout. I like to do this one early in the morning; not only does the whole routine clock in at under 30 minutes, but I love how Baron talks about concentrating on "the beautiful curves" of the body without getting too annoying.
- Living Room Yoga: Twist and Bend. This one was a bit of a doozy for me; I really enjoyed the first Living Room Yoga video, but that one ended up getting left behind in Honolulu during The Great Move last year. No matter, though, because I ended up doing this one on a regular basis, too. Like the Baron Baptiste video mentioned earlier, Twist and Bend works with vinyasas, or flowing routines (not my favorite form of yoga, except for sun salutations) - and those take a lot of getting used to, unless you can find a "hack" to make them easy for you. (Here's one I found: You can always substitute the "girly push-up" position for the full plank pose in the middle of a vinyasa.) That said, I've also found myself doing this video with great regularity, too - vinyasas aside, I actually enjoy the more challenging asanas in this one, like the modified side planks (yay!) and the standing splits (or, as I like to call it, The Asana That Will Change Your Sex Life) as well as the titular twists and bends. As for the instructor, I think Eva Barash is growing on me - she's quite talky, but also surprisingly helpful. Let's not even forget that the video also has a step-by-step asana guide, which is always a good idea for those who could really use the help for each pose.
- Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss. The only bad thing that I can say about this video is that it's way too long for me - the whole workout clocks in at more than 50 minutes, and it's difficult for me to cherry-pick just one session to use. (Seriously - there's no way I could get through the main strengthening section without any warmup, and even the challenging cool-down section is not long enough!) That said, I can say that this whole workout is worth the time. The movements here are slow and controlled enough to catch up - no fast vinyasas! - so you can truly concentrate on each pose. It also helps that Suzanne Deason's narration is equally gentle and controlled, as well. Be sure to check out the menu options that will allow you to choose your level of modification; that way, you don't get distracted by the other folks performing more complicated moves throughout the video.
I'm currently plowing through the assortment of aerobics videos that I've found in my Mom's stash - and, yes, there will be a writeup of those soon!
Next episode: Beauty and fashion rewards!