Video Fitness

Yoga Burn Kit

Rodney Yee with Colleen Staidman

(Please note that the DVD included in this kit is NOT the same Yoga Burn DVD that is sold alone; for more information, visit http://www.gaiam.com/retail/product.asp?product%5Fid=95-1172.)

The Yoga Burn Kit comes with a workout DVD plus weighted gloves that are supposed to help specifically target the upper body during the exercises. The weight of the gloves is adjustable--10 small, rectangular-shaped weights, each weighing .25 lbs., are included, allowing a total weight of up to 1.5 lbs. for each hand. The weights go into slots which circle your wrists, which I found to be rather uncomfortable; in addition, the gloves themselves were bulky, and the elastic around the edges was uncomfortable as well.

The workout led by Rodney Yee but performed by his current girlfriend, Colleen Staidman, who does not speak. Basically, it consists of a series of slow, flowing movements, most of which are repeated three times. Beginning in staff pose, there is a sequence where you lean back, circling your arms and tightening your core, which didn't feel very intense to me. Next, you'll do some side crunches and twists in a reclined position; again, these were very gentle. Moving to a seated position, you'll do seated eagle--a nice stretch, especially with the gloves--and then move to a squat with a bicep curl.

Standing poses follow, beginning in a stradle position for a wide-legged forward bend. Traditional standing poses are performed here, including warrior 1 & 2, triangle, and side angle pose, but again, arm movements are added and generally repeated three times. Moving to a stomach-lying position, you'll do cobra, lifting and lowering to a slow 10-count. Final poses include a 1-legged forward bend, back release, and savasana, bringing the practice in right around 40 minutes.

I found this practice to be quite disappointing. As mentioned previously, I found the gloves to be quite uncomfortable, which was definitely a distraction. Also, although the gloves did add a bit to some postures, such as eagle, overall, I didn't find them to be much of a benefit. Similarly, I just really didn't feel like I got much out of this practice; it didn't feel particularly strengthing, and I didn't find it to be particularly relaxing either. I think that this video might be best suited to someone who is relatively new to yoga and/or someone with limited flexibility looking for a gentle practice with a slight twist.

Instructor comments: I enjoy the majority of Rodney's practices, but I didn't like him nearly as much here. I think I prefer his voiceover to his live instruction, as he tended to say the same things over and over (eg, "beautiful!" and "yes!"). Also, Rodney does not perform any of the poses himself, and I found that his interaction with Colleen seemed rather forced--surprisingly, I thought he had a much better chemistry with Mariel Hemingway in the Yoga Now videos.

Beth C (aka toaster)

October 12, 2005

This Gaiam production is a 45-minute yoga DVD sold in a kit with a pair of adjustable weighted gloves. The kit sells for about $30 and can be found at Target and Borders (and probably other places).

This is a DIFFERENT production than the 60-minute Yoga Burn DVD which Rodney leads solo (and which I haven't yet seen). However, they are similar in that they both present yoga routines performed at a very slow, deliberate pace. In the Yoga Burn Kit, Rodney leads a single student, Colleen, through a 45-minute routine as she wears the weighted gloves. Rodney stands or kneels to the side, giving Colleen verbal and physical cues. He does not demonstrate any moves.

The gloves are fingerless stretchy synthetic fabric with yoga sticky mat material on the palms. There are four pockets around the wrist that hold 1-2 weights. The kit comes with 12 1/4 lb. weights, so you can insert up to a total of 1.5 lbs. per glove. The gloves pull on (as opposed to fastening with a Velcro strap or something similar) and fit quite snugly. Taking them on and off is an exercise in patience! The gloves appear to be of good quality. In the intro Rodney says they can be used for other activities, but doesn't specifically suggest any.

The only equipment used in the workout is a yoga sticky mat and the gloves (although of course they are optional, and Rodney recommends starting out with no weights anyway).

There is no chaptering on the DVD, although it appears well segmented. The set is very simple: a softly lit raised wooden platform with a background suggesting a shoji screen. The music is New Age and fairly repetitive. I found it helped the meditative quality of the workout, but if you hated the music in, say, All the Right Moves, you probably won't like this soundtrack either.

By the way, in the kit the DVD is packaged in only a cardboard sleeve. If you are like me and prefer all your workouts lined up on a shelf in uniform plastic cases (insert that Mr. Rolleyes smilie here!) you will need to improvise something.

The routine begins in staff pose. Colleen leans back and circles her arms (kind of reminiscent of pilates). There are a few more floor poses, like Eagle done in Hero's Pose. Rodney has Colleen repeat each move a couple of times, moving very slowly into and out of position.

No modifications are given, and I could have used one for a pose called Garland, in which Colleen is in a deep squat for an extended period (no way will my knees stand for that!).

Colleen then moves to standing, and Rodney leads her through a series of slow sun salutations. The routine finishes with some forward bends and a shavasana.

While doing this video I often had problems following Colleen's pace when I was in a position where I couldn't see the TV screen. It was like Rodney was unconsciously relying on his hands-on guidance rather than his verbal cues. In Hard Body Yoga, which features some similar slow-moving sequences, Tari Rose counts out the pace every single time. While that can get tedious, at least you feel secure following along when you can't see the TV.

By the way, I understand from some VF posts that Colleen is Rodney's girlfriend. Although they do share a grin when one of them makes an occasional bobble, I did not find them acting overly familiar on camera, nor did I think Rodney's physical guidance was too intimate. Colleen does not speak, but she appears very strong and athletic, and I think she did a good job demonstrating the moves.

My overall impression of this workout is mixed. I loved the slow, meditative pace that allowed me to really concentrate on form (I'm not a power yoga fan). I could feel the weights gently pulling me into better alignment during certain poses like Triangle, and the sticky mat palms really added stability to Downward Facing Dog. However, although I felt relaxed and calm, I certainly didn't feel anything like a "burn." I also feel I could have gotten a similar effect from other yoga videos I already own and just adding my old 1-lb. wrist weights.

Essentially, while this isn't a bad DVD and the gloves are decent quality, I don't feel the kit was worth the money I paid for it.

For those interested in combining yoga and weights, I strongly recommend Iron Yoga with Anthony Carillo (which uses 1-5 lb. dumbbells, shows different levels, and overall is better cued and much more intense). Although it doesn't use weights, Hard Body Yoga also uses yoga poses in a similar way and is also much more challenging.

Instructor comments: In this video Rodney only instructs and does not demonstrate. While I enjoyed watching him in a student-teacher setting, I sometimes found his verbal cues inadequate for times I could not view the TV screen.

Sandra

October 20, 2005



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