Video Fitness

Straight Up Yoga

Leigh Crews

This review is based on a preview I did of this tape last night. Also - here's my disclaimer - I may be a little biased because I've liked all Leigh Crews' tapes to date.

Now a little about me - I consider myself an athletic (sometimes dancy) type and I have shied away from traditional yoga tapes. I've gotten them, I've let them sit on the shelf and then I've traded them. Mostly because I don't know the name of the poses and I don't know the difference between the kinds of yogas, etc. I do like it when the instructors throw yoga into the tapes as the stretch or the cooldown. But otherwise, I just don't sit down and do yoga.

And one of the cool things about Straight Up Yoga is that it's not a sit-down-and-do-yoga kind of tape. The tape is a sequence of poses that originate from the standing position. It is broken up into several parts. Sun Salutations, Flexibility, Strength and Balance, Rejuvenation and Meditation with a Guidelines section at the end.

Sun Salutations is a sequence of poses very much like what you find in Leigh's Y2K Yoga. You go from standing to downward dog to upward dog and back to standing and you vary this sequence in different ways for several minutes. Flexibility is next. I believe she uses variations of the warrior pose here and then some hip-opening poses. Strength and Balance is my favorite part mostly because it seems to be the most athletic. It includes poses you see interspersed in Final Cuts and 4WS - hip-pinges and balance moves. Rejuvenation and Meditation is a nice section that creates a buffer zone between the workout and your return to the "real world".

All in all, this tape is very nicely done. The music is not too loud and not too soft and it's always just the right music for what's happening on screen. Leigh goes through the poses and she instructs via voice-over. The exercises flow into each other nicely. The production values are good. The set is pretty and appropriate for the workout. It also kind of matches the graphics that appear between sections. Leigh is dressed in a tie-dye tank top and spandex workout pants. Basically it all fits together in a well-produced package. I'm impressed with it and I think it'll actually give me the impetus to start concentrating on improving my flexibility and maybe make yoga more approachable for me.

Instructor comments: I like Leigh. She's personable, sweet and informative. Also she's professional and her southern accent is endearing.

April 23, 2002

Straight Up Yoga is a 50 minute yoga-oriented fusion program based on various standing pose flows and is divided into 5 sections. I both liked and didn’t like this tape. My favorite segments are 2 and 3 which are both graceful repetition flows and I would like to discuss them first.

Triangle and revolved triangle form the basis of the 15-minute second section (Standing Poses I: Flexibility). Crews repeats the poses in an alternating fashion that lets you get a little deeper into the positions with each round. It reminds me a little of viniyoga. One leg balances, once again in a repeated flow manner, comprise the third segment (Standing Poses II: Balance) -- especially lunge, warrior III and dancer’s pose. This segment runs just short of 15 minutes. Both of these series are relaxing as well as challenging, especially the balance work. This is not “power yoga” work – but there is a nice sense of lightness in the way the poses are put together.

Section 4 is a brief boat focused core workout, which is fine for being so short and the final relaxation segment is okay, but nothing special.

Now what I didn’t like: The the first segment, Sun Salutations, appeared awkward and jerky. The sequencing felt off to me. It begins, after a few desultory arm raises, with chair and prayer twist – I thought it was just too soon for these poses. And child’s pose always seemed to come at the wrong time. The music, elevator type stuff throughout the video, is particularly annoying (for me) in the beginning although it became less intrusive as the tape progessed. I’m pretty familiar with power yoga-type vinyasa approaches and this one doesn’t gel for this exerciser.

If that real power yoga feeling is what you’re after I would recommend Crews earlier Y2K Yoga --is not my favorite workout because of its almost exclusive concentration on standing poses, but it is a solid workout. I actually prefer this tape because of those 2 middle sections. Crews is a likeable instructor and I hope she continues to produce new workouts. Her form is quite good, although I wish her instruction was a little more detailed – but this is a quibble. If you already know the poses, you should do fine.

I have this tape on loan from a generous fellow VFer and might just buy it for the second and third sections. Each would make a nice add on to other tapes and I’m always looking for tapes I can use in that way. I don’t think I would want to use this workout as a stand alone yoga practice. I think Straight Up Yoga would not be an ideal introduction to a yoga-based workout, but would certainly be accessible for intermediates with some previous yoga experience. Also, it is lacking the famous woo-woo factor that turns off so many here at VF.

I’m a 57 year old longtime home exercise who especially likes yoga, on video and in classes (even with a little woo woo), and weight work. I like to keep my fitness level in the upper intermediate range.
May 6, 2002

I really like Leigh Crews’ Y2K Yoga, so I expected this one would be a keeper, too. It’s not, though. It’s not nearly as enjoyable as Y2K Yoga. While this one is an “okay” yoga workout, it doesn’t seem to flow all that well, and it’s just not very interesting. Even the music is not as good as that in Y2K Yoga. The workout itself is based on standing poses, many of them very Power-yoga-like – which sounds pretty good, but this execution of it just doesn’t grab me. Grade C.

Annie S.

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