Video Fitness

Yoga for Young Bodies

Hemalaya Behl

I'm reviewing this workout after previewing it once and doing it a couple of times since acquiring it a number of months ago.

General workout breakdown: This yoga workout contains four programs.
*Chakra Shaker (approximately 35 minutes) is an energizing routine which begins in vajrasana but moves to standing for most of the practice before coming back to the floor for corpse. This segment includes a number of dynamic sequences and flows, for example a series where you rise from your knees on an inhale and lower back down on an exhale as well as sun salutations; there are also some moves and flows not included in normal hatha or power yoga practices, such as a quick twist from the waist. There seems to be a bit of a kundalini influence here from what I can tell, with the focus on movement rather than alignment and exercises such as lion's breath. This routine is more intense and more based on yoga asanas than the Morning Quickie segment from Yoga for Urban Living.
*Chill Vibe (approximately 35 minutes) is a relaxing routine that never moves off of the floor (although there are some downward facing dogs). It is more focused on flexibility than Chakra Shaker, which is more focused on overall strength. There are a number of moves for the spine, including several series of backbends and twists, as well as the hips. Boat poses provide the abs work, and the inversions are in this segment. This routine is slightly more active than the Evening Bath segment from Yoga for Urban Living.
Hemalaya apparently listened to criticism of her too short savasanas on Yoga for Urban Living. She spends several minutes in the corpse pose and comes out of the pose very slowly. Fully 5-6 minutes of each routine is spent in corpse and coming out of it.
*Stress Recess (approximately 10 minutes) is meant as a quick break from a hectic schedule. It?s a shortened version of Chakra Shaker, with an emphasis on energizing flows and movements. It ends with child?s pose and then breathing in vajrasana.
*Chi for 2 is more of a demonstration than an actual workout. Hemalaya performs seven asanas with her male partner but not in a sequence.

Level: I'd recommend this to someone with previous yoga experience who is at the very least at the beginning/intermediate crossover point through high intermediate. I would not recommend this to beginners at all, since Hemalaya provides little form instruction and includes a number of solidly intermediate poses (e.g. shoulderstand, pigeon, crow). I would think anyone at or above a high intermediate level would only find this useful for light and/or short on time days. I consider myself a low intermediate in yoga; I have almost three years of experience but still need to improve my strength and flexibility. I found this video appropriately challenging for me, although I would have liked some better modifications for some of the more strenuous poses.

Class: A young woman, Tamara, and a young man, Nikko (spelling?), accompany Hemalaya. Tamara provides the "beginner" variations. As others have pointed out, she doesn't always provide modifications per se; since she is clearly flexible, she'll go almost all out but then just kind of hang out in the pose, making it look like she's slacking off rather than modifying. Hemalaya (wearing pants rather than the short shorts of Yoga for Urban Living) performs the poses at an intermediate level, and Nikko shows more advanced variations. Hemalaya instructs via voiceover.

Music / Set / Other Production Notes: The sitar-based atmospheric music is appropriate for the workout. It tends to stick with the same tone for the same types of movements unlike in Yoga for Urban Living and changes between segments, although it's a bit repetitive. It looks like the exercisers are outdoors on lawn, but that's Astroturf with a greenscreen behind onto which an image of the sky is projected. The sound and picture are very good.

Equipment: You?ll need a sticky mat (or equivalent). All participants are barefoot.

Comments: You'll need enough space to move around on your mat.
While the title and back cover aim for the 16- to 35-year-old segment of the population, there doesn't seem to be anything in the routine proper that would prevent an "old body" from doing the moves and getting the same benefits from them. All three participants are young (the other woman has a belly ring and pigtails to emphasize this youth), and Hemalaya does tailor her mention of stressors and focus on appearance ("It's all about the abs, isn't it?") towards her generation, but other than that the whole thing seems more of a marketing gimmick than the real focus of the workout.

DVD Notes: From the main menu you select Intro, Chakra Shaker, Chill Vibe, or Extras. If you select either routine, you are then directed to another menu where you select Play, Options, or Main Menu. For some reason, at least on the DVD I have, the selection is always Main Menu, meaning I have to scroll back up to hit play. (On just about every other DVD I have, the opposite is true: Main Menu is the last option while Play is the first.) The Options are background 1 / background 2 and instruction + music / instruction only / music only. Don't get too excited about the ability to choose your background: your choices are basically pink or blue sky for Chakra Shaker and blue sky or blue clovers(?) for Chill Vibe). The extras include Stress Recess, Chi for 2, Yoga for Urban Living trailer, and Credits.

Conclusion: This is a well done DVD that explores the options of DVD technology. If only every workout DVD offered those exact three audio choices . . .
As for the workout itself, it's not bad, but I have a number of other yoga workouts that I prefer. If you're a Hemalaya fan you'll love this. If you're not, this might change your mind but then again might not. I do like that she shows several arm variations, including some I haven't seen, for a number of moves, such as ways for your hands to float up from mountain pose during sun salutations or during tree pose. I thought I'd be really excited about having more short yoga workouts, but this has rarely left my shelf. I definitely prefer the Chill Vibe segment to the Chakra Shaker, but since getting Rainbeau Mars' Pure Tranquility I haven't even thought about doing that segment. I might try Yoga for Young Bodies a couple of more times, but this might end up back on the exchange in my attempts to make some space for the workouts I use regularly.

Instructor comments: Hemalaya cues moves decently but only includes a few form pointers now and then. She clearly expects you to have some familiarity with what you're doing. She's positive but low key. I didn?t have any issues with her except to wish for more cueing. Hemalaya does include chanting, but that's about it for the New Agey stuff, although this does have a sort of slight overall vibe.

KathAL79

October 30, 2005



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