Sunday, 1 April 2012

DVD Review: Yoga For The Warrior

I have enjoyed Bob Harper workout DVDs for a few months now. I like his encouraging-yet-ass-kicking style, and his workouts last for about an hour without pauses. As you'd expect from a celebrity trainer, the production values are high. This DVD goes is in the Inside Out Method series, which also features one strength and one cardio session. You can watch a clip of the DVD here.

My collection of yoga DVD - which I confess are largely dust-gatherers - has taught me that they tend to fall into one of two catagories - those which are fitness-based, and those featuring more on the mind-body connection. Each to their own, and I expected this one to be in the former catagory. Bob acknowledges the mind-body connection, particularly for the big chill at the end where he says that for some people, lying still is the hardest thing about the workout (yup, that's me!) but if you do just one thing, that should be the part you do. He opens by telling us that this workout is going to take what we know, and turn it on its ear - which pretty much covers all bases, right? If you expect fitness, woah, you're gonna get yoga - and if you expect yoga, you'll be surprised to get some fitness!

Bob has three demonstrators with him, two fit and bendy girls and Robert, a slightly-less-bendy but still-in-awesome-shape bloke at the back. Robert gets *really* sweaty in the workout. He must have been under much brighter lights than there are in my living room, that's for sure.

What's in it? Bob begins with some forward bends (a challenge for me first thing in the morning), mountain pose and downward dog, and at this point, tells us to always think about our breathing

There are shoulder presses in downward dog position; push-ups plank to chaturanga; and side stretches finish off this 'warm up' section.

Bob teaches us a vinyasa - plank, down dog , up dog, mountain - which is repeated often. For the legs and back, a chair pose, then from warrior 1 we learn warrior 2, and back to chair pose held with a twist.

There are plenty of balances - tree pose, hand-to-big-toe pose, and the most challenging, half moon pose. From table top we go into awkward airplane (does anybody else call it that?!!), and we move from wrapped extended side angle into the hilarous balance of the bird of paradise.

There are push ups and one-leg push ups, and a series from extended side angle pose to reverse warrior. From triangle pose there is a series to work on your hamstrings. Bridge and/or wheel comes in just before ab work: stomach crunches, toe-touches and scissors, to add to the side-planks for the obliques.

To finish there are a few gentle stretches on the floor - a twist, a straddle, seated forward fold and a reclining twist - and a 2 minute chillout at the end.

What's it like? Bob is his usual, encouraging self throughout, but definately nicer than in the other DVDs in this series - he doesn't try to push you with yoga the way he does with strength or cardio. While he does tell us at the start to keep focusing on the breath, he doesn't remind us of this very often. I find that I do need to be reminded to breathe! There's no "do this on the in breath, and do this as you breathe out", and I miss that.

The abs section does tick a box, but doesn't feel very yoga at all! Mind you, the DVD also features a 15-minute pure abs workout, so if you're keen to work the abs, that's for you. I haven't done that yet.

In some of the poses which are to be held on one side then the other, it seemed to me that they're not held for the same amount of time on each side, particularly the half-moon. The first side I'm sure went on and on, the second was over as it began!

I wasn't sweaty during this workout, not a bit. Although, I wasn't cold until the chill out at the end. 

If I hadn't known anything about yoga, I would have struggled - it's not for total yoga beginners, because it doesn't teach you how to do each pose. 

How did I feel? I didn't feel achey afterwards like I usually do with Bob's workouts. Which is good, because let's face it, I did this DVD because I wanted a rest. But I don't imagine you'd be building lean muscle even if you did this for a month.

On the third day my hips and my toes started to ache. I've felt this way with yoga before - it's not the ache of "ooh that was a heck of a workout", it's more like over-use. But my back - my usual flashpoint as I have some hypermobility - was fine.

Will I do it again? Yes I will. Do I recommend it? Yes, if you know a bit about yoga and you're looking for something a bit gentle without being bored.

And just FYI, here's a nice picture of me doing some yoga when I was pregnant with my daughter, about 5 years ago. I don't think I'm that supple now, but that'll be the pregnancy hormones.

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