Power Yoga for Athletes

Adrienne Reed
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Yoga

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I’m reviewing this workout after previewing and doing it once each.

General workout breakdown: This approximately 55-min. power yoga routine is meant to improve your strength (in both the lower and upper body), stamina, flexibility, and balance while bringing calm to your mind and body. It is divided into a warm-up comprised of sun salutations, workout, and cool-down comprised of stretches for the lower body and a backbend. Asanas include mountain, standing forward fold, sun salutations A & B (plank, chaturangas / push-ups – often with holds, upward-facing dog, downward-facing dog, standing backbend, chair and warrior 1 for B), chair with airplane arms into prayer twist into arms extended vertically, warrior 2, lunge with backbend into wrap into airplane arms into prayer twist back into airplane into crescent, side plank, one-legged down dog into what Duncan Wong calls scorpion into (optional) one-legged and one-armed down dog into one-legged chaturanga, wide-legged standing forward fold into airplane arms into twist, grounded warrior 3 variation into parsvottanasana into lunging variation thereof, wide-legged standing forward fold to each side, supine abdominal series with lowering and lifting straight legs plus large circles and then an isometric hold, boat, seated forward fold, wide-angled bound angle (i.e. butterfly) with forward fold, reclined wide-angled bound angle, reclined leg stretches (including pigeon and lunge), bridge into one-legged bridge, reclined twist with bent knees, knees to chest, reclined twist with legs straight, and corpse. The most challenging series has to be holding a few inches off of the floor in chaturanga, having pushed yourself off from lying flat on the floor. The final relaxation is very short, but you can stay down during the credits, or there is a bonus extended savasana of about 8 min. Rather than moving briskly through all of the poses, Adrienne often has you hold poses for a few (3-5) breaths. I found her sun salutations gave me enough time to get into position without being too rushed. Although the participants are athletes and Adrienne introduces the practice by explaining the benefits to and differences from athletics, there is no mention of athletes and sports during the practice itself.

Level: I’d recommend this to someone with a little experience in yoga and some preexisting strength and flexibility through a low to mid-intermediate yogini. True beginners may be frustrated by the difficulty of a few poses or a lack of basic, specific form instruction and focus on the beginner-level exercisers, but after a couple of live classes or videos you may find this doable. There are some modifications mentioned and a few more shown, but Adrienne does not focus on providing a lot of modifications for those with joint issues or less strength and / or flexibility. Advanced yogi(ni)s will be disappointed that none of the intermediate and more advanced postures demonstrated by Adrienne on the cover or in the intro make it into the practice – although beginners will be thankful!
Those with wrist issues should know that, as with many power yoga workouts, a good deal of time is spent in chaturanga, up dog, and down dog.

Class: three men and four women, who include a (professional) baseball player, Tae Kwon Do black belt, ballet dancer, tennis player, and soccer players. Adrienne walks around and instructs, sometimes pausing to correct physically or praise one of her students. Two women (including the oldest participant) provide the advanced modifications, two women and one man perform the intermediate level, and two men do the routine at the beginner level.

Music: atmospheric, sometimes almost Celtic-flavored and other times almost Indian-flavored, with some occasional vocals (nothing recognizable as words, though).

Set: brightly lit interior set in neutral colors with candles grouped off to the sides.

Production: excellent picture and sound, usually helpful camera angles - although not all levels are always shown front and center for all exercises. Some variations are labeled on the screen according to their level.

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: The extended savasana is in a separate chapter off of the main menu. From a sub-menu you can choose the entire workout, warm-up, or workout + relaxation, with the intro chaptered separately (yeah!). The poses or even flow series are not individually chaptered, however.

Conclusion: This is a nice DVD, so I’m disappointed my elbow does not agree with that chaturanga series. I may keep this DVD in the hopes that my significant other follows through on his intent to take yoga classes at his gym; I think he’d enjoy this sort of practice. It’s not at all “girly,” and it’s a great challenge for those who believe that their legs and arms have to wobble or feel like jello in order to know that they’ve spend their exercise time wisely. Additionally, there’s no mention of burning fat, getting a great butt, etc., and the attire is modest and tasteful.
The practice is athletic in nature, although Adrienne encourages you to be mindful of your breath and movement. She primarily uses English names for poses, although sometimes she introduces the pose with the Sanskrit name before quickly translating into English.
I did this video shortly after trying Mark Blanchard’s Foundation from the Sedona series, and the practices are similar. Power Yoga for Athletes is a shorter and perhaps more accessible practice, and I personally clicked with Adrienne’s on screen persona more than with Mark’s, but I prefer calm, professional instructors who focus more on cueing to sincerely enthusiastic ones who focus more on encouraging.

Instructor Comments:
Adrienne has a calm, professional demeanor on camera. She focuses on cueing moves. She does not mirror cue; rather, she cues the right and left of her live class.