Eoin's on my wavelength. The bliss factor might not be as potent for others, but I felt pretty darn groovy during and after Y4H's 80 minute "Full Happiness" routine. And now I'm spreading the happy vibe.
some background for the uninitiated. This is Vancouver yoga instructor Eoin Finn's second release. The first, Power Yoga, is available from Amazon.com or http://www.vancouveryoga.com and has been a big VF favorite with the Videofitness.com yogis. Power Yoga is taped in a beautiful mountain shore setting. Eoin walks around his class, instructing. Power Yoga has 2 routines - a 45 minute and, I think, a 70 minute.
Eoin talked *alot* during Power Yoga which is fine by me but others complained. From my perspective, unlike say, Rainbeau Mars, or Bryan Kest - both of whom I like but can also find grating (Rainbeau too sloppy and overreaching in her metaphors, Bryan too barky), there's *nothin* Eoin Finn says that I'm not ok with. I'm completely charmed by him and find his instruction helpful and motivating.
Power Yoga for Happiness differs from Power Yoga in a number of ways. First - its a 2 DVD set with, I believe - 5 different routines - something for every time schedule. I've only done the full 80 minute routine and can't comment on the other segments, but geeze, at CAN $24.99/USD $19.95 for the 2 DVD set - how can you go wrong?
Y4H is in a woodsy setting. The class is slightly smaller. Spikey, the dog is more prominently featured and has his own sticky mat. Eoin asks us to do "Upward Facing Spikey" at one point.
Eoin instructs in voice over and actually participates in the class as a student. He is *not* as loquacious as he was during Power Yoga. He's calmer. There are insets where Eoin, and the other instructors, are seen doing certain asanas solo in different, very pretty settings.
The 80 minute routine on Y4H is more advanced, in an athletic sense - than anything on Power Yoga. He shows some very advanced postures - full turtle for instance, but makes an effort to make the class all levels - he shows alternative poses and uses a ski trail analogy - there's a green trail, a black diamond trail, etc.
I liked the original music just fine - more than fine, actually. It changes in the course of the routine - there's a long segment with acoustic guitar that's a bit reminiscent of Hillary Burnett's music on her Power Mat tapes - a compliment. The program, overall, has an absolutely terrific vibe. *what* can I say?
I think that Eoin and I want the same thing out of our yoga practice - a lighter, freer body, vitality. He gets into some loftier methaphors - freedom, love - I'm good with those things too. He described his hip openers as keeping the body young - I like that very much, and I think he's right. Alot of what's drawn me back to yoga is a desire for more openness and flexibility - youthful qualities.
The 80 minute routine is very thorough, but did not have ANY inversions - that bummed me out. He does some self massage, which is nice, and something you don't see in videos. He starts with standing forward bends, then sun salutations, standing work, balance poses, side planks, lots and lots of hip openers and forward bends, some abdominal work (the instruction could be a little better with the ab stuff - i had some concerns about a newbie doing that section), back bends, and a real savasana.
Y4H has its own website:
Eoin is a knowledgeable, caring, fun loving yogi. Can you say "charming?"
January 11, 2004
The workout itself is a lot of fun. It's been reviewed in detail already, and I only did one of the workouts on DVD 1.
The workouts on DVD 1 all seemed a subset of the longest workout (does that make sense? What i'm trying to say is you don't get distinct workouts, but rather parts of a larger whole).
He does a good amount of chaturangas, which I really like.
Eoin is a gem. I have tried many different yoga workouts, and this one clicks nicely for me. It even beats out the live-yoga class I attended in my home-town (A baron-trained studio).
His voice and demeanor are friendly, encouraging and soothing.
The workout didn't seem to go deep into a religious direction, but still tried to keep us in awareness of what yoga is about - achieving clarity, etc.
Eoin also has free downloads that you can burn to CD. I really like that generosity.
Eoin comes across as a genuinely warm, caring individual. He makes lots of comments about respecting the earth and spreading love but not in an overbearing or preachy way. His voiceover is calm and soothing and sprinkled with gentle humor. He's encouraging to beginners and sometimes explains modifications, but not enough for the true newcomer.
This is one of those yoga practices that always makes me feel pretty darn good by the end, even if it kicked my rear end in the process. The 2 disk set is a great value with 5 practices of varying lengths made up of various components of the longest practices. Eoin teaches a vinyasa flow style with most of the expected asanas--sun sals, warrior series, triangle, etc.--and depending on the practice length also throws in some additional poses like turtle. Although he tries to keep the pratices accessible to most levels, absolute beginners will not find a lot of instruction here, and some poses are fairly difficult so I sometimes needed to just stop and watch for a minute. Level-wise, this is a bit more challenging than Baron's Soul of Strength. I absolutely adore Eoin's attitude, however, and just when I'm getting a little too serious he will throw in a funny comment that makes me laugh. The music is nice, and the outdoor setting is gorgeous. Definitely a recipe for happiness!
Iím reviewing this workout after doing all of the routines at least once and most of them multiple times in the couple of years Iíve had this.
General workout breakdown: This power yoga video contains 5 routines, 4 of which (The Quickie, 30 min.; Daily Dose of Bliss, 40 min.; Magically Hips, 55 min.; and Strong, Free and Happy, 53 min.) are premixes of the full routine (Total Happiness, 80 min.). Although at one point Eoin says, ďIn Iyengar yoga we call thisÖĒ, he teaches a vinyasa-style yoga (i.e. poses are built into flowing sequences, there are chaturanga-up dog-down dogs between poses or flows, etc.) thatís a hair slower than most power yoga routines.
To give you an idea of the asanas included, here are the chapter points: centering (standing forward bend, mountain), sun salutation ďeh,Ē sun salutation B, standing forward bends (including padangusthasana, where you grab your big toes, and padahastasana, where you put your hands under your feet), standing flow 1 (building off of sun salutation B into warrior 2, side angle, lunge with twist, triangle), hip flexor love (deep standing lunge, kneeling crescent lunge, hanumanasana = front-back split), standing flow 2 (beginning with one-legged down dog, warrior 1 into 3, ďstanding big toe poseĒ = balance with leg extended, dancerís pose, crow), pigeon pose (with several upper body positions), standing pigeon, tree / standing half lotus, side plank, seated forward bend, janu sirsasana, seated pigeon / half lotus, ďDear AbbyĒ (i.e. abs: head & heels held off of floor at several heights, crunch w/ legs vertical, legs to the side, alternating leg lifts to opposite hands, knees to chest, boat), simple back bends (chaturanga series into cobra, bow), twist & double pigeon, butterfly / wide leg forward bend, turtle, supine pigeon, half or full backbends (bridge or wheel), supine leg stretches, and savasana.
Level: Iíd recommend this to experienced beginner through intermediate+ yogi(ni)s. I would not recommend this to newbies to yogi (especially if youíre new to exercise); youíd be better off with something that has more basic form instruction and fewer advanced poses (perhaps Eoinís Pure & Simple Yoga?). True yoga intermediates and those even more advanced may enjoy exploring some of the most advanced moves Iíve seen in a yoga video intended for the mass market, although Janeís correct in pointing out that there are no inversions, as well as only a few backbends.
Class: 1 man and 5 women join Eoin. Two always show beginner modifications, one shows intermediate, and the rest perform the routine at a more advanced level. Eoin instructs via voiceover.
Music: pleasant instrumental music that suits the workout well and fades into the background when needed.
Set: outdoors in a wooded park.
Production: good quality picture and sound. I find that I need to turn the volume up in comparison to most of my videos, however. The camera angles are more helpful than not, showing all levels of an exercise in some way at some time. While most of the time the video focuses on the group in the park, there are shots of Eoin or one of the class members alone demonstrating the full pose for several of the asanas, but these come after Eoin gets you started in the pose.
The editing of the premixes is seamless, both in terms of the picture and sound. Eoinís voice never changes drastically in tone or volume, and the music never feels like it has been suddenly cut. In fact, I didnít realize the shorter routines were premixes until I had done three of them and realized there were just too many similarities for Eoin to have filmed variations of the same routine five different times!
Equipment: sticky mat (or equivalent). All participants are barefoot.
Space Requirements: enough room to perform a full sun salutation without bumping into things and lie on the floor with limbs extended.
DVD Notes: This actually has 2 DVDs: one with the 30, 40, and 55 min. routines, and the other with the 53 and 80 min. routines. The full routine on the long DVD is chaptered (see my general breakdown again; the simple backbends is out of order on the chapter list); the premixes are not chaptered.
Comments: Iím surprised there arenít more reviews for PY4H, which seems to be one of the most used, enjoyed, and recommended yoga videos at VF. And with good reason! For me thereís just something yummy about the flows, the pace, even Eoin. I finally decided I might as well try this guy during a Hip Opening Challenge, and Iím so thankful I did. The disc with the three shorter routines may be my most used yoga video. The 30- and 40-min. routines are perfect for a time-crunched person like myself, and the Magically Hips routine is just divine. It has done wonders for my lower body flexibility, something thatís important and exciting to me not just because Iím especially inflexible there but also because I spend most of my day sitting. I donít know what Iíd do if all copies of this DVD spontaneously exploded; my hips and I would be very, very upset!
As has been mentioned, Eoinís power yoga isnít lightning fast or super rigorous, in comparison to something like Mark Blanchardís Sedona Foundations, for example. I have to modify chaturangas due to an elbow issue; I find that I have just enough time to do so.
While this practice isnít overly spiritual, Eoin does try to bring out the meditative and bliss-inducing qualities of the practice. He does include a number of the Sanskrit names, although he uses both Sanskrit and English interchangeably for common poses like down dog. Those who are especially modest may not be comfortable with some of Eoinís phrases (ďIt should feel like ice cream getting licked off your hipsĒ) and the view of thongs through and over the top of a few of the womenís pants.
Since this is a power yoga video, you spend a good deal of time on your wrists in chaturanga, up dog, and down dog. However, there are not a lot of additional asanas using the wrists if you follow some of the modifications, skip crow, etc.
Eoin cues well, although he doesnít mirror cue since heís referring to the right and left of his class. Iíve personally found his instruction and some of his tips very helpful, but if youíre looking for copious amounts of alignment instruction he may not be your guy. Eoinís voice is pleasant and well-suited to this type of yoga; he comes off as sincere and helpful. He does spend a good time of the video instructing, but itís not as much as in the original Power Yoga, since there are actually pauses in PY4H. Eoinís approach embraces your limitations and abilities. I have never felt bad or guilty when modifying the poses in this video; Eoin makes it clear that ďItís all good.Ē
It goes without saying that Eoin is goofy / silly / neo-hippyish / surfer dude-like / what have you. I once read reviews and lists of his comments and thought to myself, ďThereís no way I could take this guy seriously. Iím going to giggle the whole time.Ē Well, Iím glad I matured a little and kept an open mind during this video, because Eoinís Eoinness doesnít really bother me after all. After hearing his comments a few times Iím able to tune out some that I think are particularly odd (ďMove the corners of your mouth upwards. Itís called a smile.Ē), and a few others have grown on me (ďFocus your Gandhi laser there.Ē).
November 5, 2006