A few weeks ago I asked if anyone had tried Jillian Michael’s Yoga DVD. Unfortunately, no one seems to have tried it, and after extensive searching for a decent review online from someone ‘like me’, I came up empty. Then a coworker asked me if I had tried it yet, and that was enough of a prompt.
If I couldn’t find a review, I’d have to review it myself.
I picked up the DVD and gave it a whirl. By whirl, I mean, I struggled through it covered in an incredible amount of sweat, punctuated by occasional grunts and whimpers of pain.
This is not a yoga DVD for beginners.
If you have never been to a yoga class, tried a yoga tape, or done any kind of yoga at all, you shouldn’t start here. This isn’t really even a yoga DVD. This is a resistance training DVD with a yoga flavour. But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
Sometimes I don’t feel like doing jumping jacks and lifting weights. And sometimes, I don’t feel like doing the yoga DVD I have, because it doesn’t really feel like a workout. Sometimes it’s too cold or too hot to workout outside, and the dance-based exercise DVDs on my shelf just don’t appeal.
This video is perfect for times like that.
It’s short - each of the two levels is about 35 minutes long. Other than a non-slip surface or a yoga mat, no equipment is required.
Level one starts with a quick warmup, and then right into it. Jillian Michaels doesn’t really inspire the body-mind connection that most (all?!) yoga instructors strive for. She stumbles through yoga terminology, like “melt your heart to the sky”. She’s not buying what she’s saying, so halfway through she switches back to terms and phrases she’s more comfortable with. That’s ok - not everyone is into the yoga spirituality thing, and I’d rather not see someone force it.
The poses are difficult, and are done in combinations. A few sun salutations for cardio here and there, and then a different modification on yoga. Instead of holding a pose for an extended period of time, you will move into a pose, and then out of it and back into it several times, and then hold the pose for 15 or 30 seconds. These poses include a variety of warrior poses, balance poses, downward dog with a leg lift, camel, cobra, locust, and my absolute least favourite - chaturanga pushups.
If you don’t know what those words up there mean, this might not be a great place to start your yoga adventure. Check out some other yoga dvds, or, even better, take a class. Jillian doesn’t go into how to actually DO the poses, and I really feel like you could seriously hurt yourself trying to get your body to do the things the lady on TV is doing. I’m a yoga beginner, but I’ve taken several classes in the last 8 years, so I know how to downward dog, and what it’s supposed to feel like. I also know when I’m doing it wrong. I know that the backbend she was doing at one point was NOT supposed to hurt like that, so I stopped and skipped that one.
I’ll give this workout a third try, having done level one twice now. It’s definitely tough! I was sweating buckets, had to take a quick break a few times (damn chaturanga pushups!) and I was very sore the next day - but in a good, lengthening, yoga-ish way. I doubt that you can drop the 5 lbs a week the cover promises if this is your only workout, but it’s worth a try if you’re looking for something new and are somewhat familiar with yoga basics.
Plus, people who do yoga have hot bodies. That in itself is enough for me to give this workout another try!