Video Fitness

Santa Monica Power Yoga Live Bootleg (audio)

Bryan Kest

I bought this because I've been intrigued by the idea of audio yoga workouts and because I like Bryan's style (and because a few people mentioned that they had this and/or the Spinal Strengthening CD and liked them.) Before I go on to my critique, here's the track breakdown:

Introduction and Warm Up Number One (Sun sal A)(22:02)
Rest and Warm Up Number 2 (Sun sal B) (17:47)
Standing Poses I and Detour I (Right side) (9:55)
Standing Poses I and Detour I (Left side) (10:29)
Standing Poses II and Detour II (right side) (10:50)
Standing Poses II and Detour II (left side) (9:45)
Finishing Poses (17:59)

What I liked:
I enjoyed the "detour" poses between the right and left sides. You get to do things like side arm balance, hero, and bow pose while waiting for the fire in your quads to subside. They were nice rests (relatively speaking).

I like Bryan's cueing. The booklet was completely unnecessary for following along (although it might be helpful for someone who was newer to yoga and wasn't familiar with the poses.) But the booklet is beautiful (don't want you to think that because I found it unnecessary I didn't like it!)

I definitely got a good workout. (Quad cookage!)

I liked that it was audio only and there was no video to distract me.

Some of the things Bryan said made me smile and laugh out loud, like "Thankgodasana" which is when you finally get to straighten your front leg after a million years in side angle pose.

He also incorporates some of the dynamic flow that he uses in the Weight Loss video. It's a nice change of pace from the usual power yoga workout.

What I didn't like:
It's audio from an actual class. While for the most part you only hear Bryan, every once in a while you hear background noise, which is somewhat distracting.

Because it is a live class, he makes references to that class. "Here we are Wednesday morning" (No, Bryan, it's Saturday afternoon!) That was a little distracting. He also corrects people in the class, which could be confusing for someone using the CD who might not need to make that particular adjustment.

He spends a lot of time going "Wooooo!" after we've done tough poses. He also spends a lot of time moaning and getting the class to moan. If my husband had been in the vicinity I'm sure he would have wondered just what I was doing in there!!!

It's not well-scripted. I mean, it is, in the sense that he clearly has a standard patter that he uses and things start to flow more as he gets into the practice. But the beginning and the end have a lot of him uhing and uming and jumbling his words.

If you did the math, you know it comes out to 98:47, not the 90 minutes advertised, *and* he only starts you in savasana at the end, so in reality this ends up being nearly 2 hours long including your rest. I struggle with making myself do anything over 60 minutes, so this was an especially BIG downcheck in my book.

Also, I don't like that he leaves you hanging in savasana. For one thing, I like a guided relaxation, for another, it's sort of a rip. It's not a complete practice without savasana, and to me a complete savasana includes coming out of it, not just "stay there for 5 more minutes." I have less of a problem with this in his videos because I can just stay put until the tape finishes and starts to rewind, but the CD ends well before I've had my 5-10 minutes of rest.

BIG flaw: It's broken up over 2 CDs. Now, those of you who know me know I'm not a "mix and match" video girl. I'm not a mix and match audio girl, either. And while we have a multi CD changer, it happens not to be in the part pf the house I work out in anymore. So I had to get up and change the CD. But that's not the worst part. The WORST part is that the disc change happens right smack in the middle of downward facing dog!!!! Could they have waited til you come back to standing???

Also, he spends A LOT of time proselytizing. Not woo woo stuff, or yogic philosophy (much), but a lot of his own stuff about how stupid it is that people spend the majority of their workout time worrying about the shape of their butt and biceps and not about extending their spine and strengthening their core. In principle I agree with him, but he just goes on and on, getting more and more in your face until he is really yelling at the class. I'm not sure if I was to keep this whether it would really start to bug me or if I would just learn to tune it out. (I was fairly neutral about it today.)

BUT I'll never know, because the length and the bad way it was broken up over two CDs (and the "wooo!"ing) is enough to make me not want to do it again. I'm very bummed, because I had such high hopes, and in fact, bought his other two CDs as well, which I suspect suffer from all the same flaws.

However, I am glad to say that I don't think all this will prevent me from enjoying his videos. In fact, it might make me appreciate them all the more.

Renee D


I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this cd, given the comments from other reviewers. Bryan DOES talk a LOT, and occasionally made me LOL. I really loved the "live" quality to it, including his instructions or asides to live participants and occsionally hearing background noises. Its split up over two discs, but I have a multi-disc player, so it didn't bother me - I also have a cd of quiet music set up after it, so I don't feel as gypped by the fact that he puts you in savasana and then leaves you there :). He tends to rhyme a LOT in this one - but I got used to it - it was kind of rhythmical. A couple of times where he DOESN'T rhyme and he COULD, I actually lifted me head out of the pose - what's up with that, Bryan?? :) He constantly keeps you focussed on the breathe, and its a nice, slower, steady practice.

The only real disadvantage I found - cause I didn't mind most of what other people have disliked - is the fact that its a very long practice. Just over the 90 minute mark. I rarely have time for a long, luxurious practice... and I have two of his other cd's. So its hard to know when I am going to fit this one in, and I haven't really had chance to explore breaking it up.


Instructor comments: Bryan is... Bryan :)


March 8, 2003

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