I’m not one of those people who does yoga to achieve some higher state of consciousness. I do it strictly because it makes me feel as though fewer of my fat parts are flapping in the wind. While nothing is better than a great class with an inspired instructor, I have yet to find a studio that offers childcare which seriously limits my attendance. Thus I’ve accumulated quite a library of yoga videos, nicely facilitating the spontaneous Downward Dog when a spare moment makes itself evident, and further justifying my rut of wearing yoga pants a solid 95% of the time. I’m not lazy, I’m READY!
Many yoga videos are just too airy-fairy for me. I have a Gaiam video in which the instructor (who looks more like a police academy instructor than a bendy yogi) exhorts me to “smile!” every five minutes. Nothing makes me more grouchy than someone telling me to smile, but at least when it’s happening on TV there’s no awkward moment where I resist the urge to tell the person to #$%^ off. On video I just go ahead and do it. It’s a release.
I have three videos, though, that I really love. One is Budokon, which is actually half yoga, half martial arts (in separate segments – you aren’t chopping your way out of Tree Pose or anything like that). I often just do the 20 minute yoga segment, which includes lots of chaturanga ( would the plural be chaturangae?) and pretty much all the good standing poses that get all my kinks out.
Another favorite is Mandy Ingber’s Yogalosophy. Mandy is like a favorite cool girlfriend, and doesn’t overhype the third-eye stuff. The video is shot on a cliff overlooking the ocean and features a mix of traditional yoga work interspersed with more “western” toning exercises like plies and leg kicks. My only complaint is that at times I miss the transitions because, thankfully, Mandy allows bits of silence here and there (there’s even a totally silent version of the workout). She’s also a bit of a music aficionado and her website has a whole page dedicated to music with creative playlists for every circumstance. I’ve downloaded some of her yoga routines to my iPod so I can follow them at the gym or when I travel. Mandy is Jennifer Aniston’s trainer. ‘Nuff said.
Finally, I am a big fan of the Body by Bethenny DVD, featuring Bethenny Frankel of many shows on my favorite network, Bravo. Unlike a lot of celebrity workout videos, it appears that Bethenny actually DOES the exercise involved on a regular basis. The yoga instructor leading the workout is capable and describes the poses and movements in thoughtful detail (such that one can be upside down looking backward and still know what’s going on), and the routine is a nice progression of doable but challenging, at least for me. After three c-sections my ability to perform Boat pose is considerably compromised, but the video offers a variety of helpful modifications and alternatives that keep me from feeling discouraged. The Bethenny banter is amusing, yet kept to a minimum, which is good as what’s funny once isn’t quite so hilarious with repeat viewings. This was today’s workout, requiring three extended pauses to attend to the demands of small children, but I got it done and am feeling pretty good about myself right now.
Namaste, my friends.