Power Yoga For Athletes: Ultimate Flexibility

Adrienne Reed
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Yoga

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I’m reviewing this workout after previewing and then doing each workout at least once.
This is from Adrienne’s Body Transformation series, which was released following her original Power Yoga for Athletes video.

General workout breakdown: This yoga DVD focusing on flexibility has three different routines, each with their own focus and savasana.
• The 20-min. routine (actually 25 min. with the final savasana) focuses on hips and shoulders, with more for the hips than shoulders. You almost literally jump right in with a sun salutation straight into pigeon with three different leg variations (moving your leg progressively towards parallel with the front of your mat). There's a vinyasa in between, but that's it for sun salutations / vinyasas for the rest of the practice. After a standing half lotus, you do full lotus and then double pigeon with forward bend in three progressions (here moving your leg position to deepen the stretch). The shoulder portion includes standing forward bend with hands clasped and eagle arms with tree legs. (No, you read that correctly. It seems odd for her suddenly to offer such “easy” leg variations after she had you do pigeon - for a warm-up, no less - and full lotus.) The pinnacle pose is horse, a kneeling half lotus with eagle arms. And then it's right down into savasana.
• The 40-min. routine (actually 48 min.) focuses on lower body flexibility and backbends. This is more of hodge-podge (or, as my family says, “parts is parts”). It starts out seated, unlike the other two programs, but actually ends up having more vinyasas (i.e. plank - chaturanga - up dog - optional push-up - down dog) than the other two practices (4 here or so compared to 1-2 in the others). You jump right in with a seated forward fold with one leg straight out in front, the other curled back to the outside; next comes runner's lunge into standing split. There are splits, a one-legged down dog into split / pigeon, standing splits with shoulder stretch, an ashtanga standing leg series (i.e. standing balanced on one leg while extending the other), camel, king pigeon, bridge into wheel into walking wheel, and supine twists, before coming into savasana.
• The 60-min. routine (again, it’s slightly longer, closer to 65 min., with final relaxation) focuses on the splits, twists, and other challenging poses. After one sun salute A and one B you jump right into some serious standing forward bends with twists. There are a few hip openers like an seated wide angle pose, lunges, and some outer hipwork, working up into the splits (hanumanasana) and legs behind the head. When you're winding down, there are a few backbends like wheel. Overall this really stretches hamstrings, does a decent job for the hips, and has some good deep twists.
Although this is labeled power yoga, it's not really, since poses are held for several breaths and there really aren't any flowing sequences, or vinyasas. You tend to go into a pose, maybe add a progression or two, and then shake it out before going to the other side. Thus, the flow's a little choppier than I'm used to with yoga videos.

Level: This is the video for you if a) you can find no flexibility-focused yoga videos challenging enough for you (you yawn when people talk about how it’ll take time to get your nose towards your nose because you’re already there) and/or b) you've always wanted to tackle splits, leg behind the head, etc. (like Shiva Rea in segments from Yoga Shakti). This is NOT a video for beginners to exercise and especially beginners to yoga. I’ll repeat that: this is NOT for beginners, even those with some experience. I'd only recommend it to someone who's at least crossing over into an intermediate-level yoga practice (and I mean intermediate yoga, not just intermediate-level fitness, although you’ll need to be there, too). You MUST have some pre-existing strength and definitely A LOT of prior flexibility to tackle this, as the so-called modifications aren't exactly for those lacking either. I’ve been practicing yoga for about 6 years, never seeming to move much past the beginner / intermediate stage, and I found these sequences difficult because of the quick transition into challenging poses and because of my limited flexibility.

Class: 2 women and 1 man perform the poses as Adrienne walks around and instructs live.

Music: upbeat mostly instrumental with a light beat.

Set: interior set with banners and candles in front of a blue background.

Production: clear picture and sound. The camera angles get a little artsy at times, but it’s still easy to see what’s going on.

Equipment: yoga sticky mat (or equivalent). All participants are barefoot.

Space Requirements: enough room to perform full sun salutations and to move limbs around while lying down.

DVD Notes: The DVD begins with commercials for Adrienne’s original Power Yoga for Athletes DVD and for PodFitness workouts; next comes an intro from Adrienne. The main menu lets you choose one of the three workouts; the Bonus Features is basically Adrienne performing a more advanced yoga flow.

Comments: Adrienne recommends that you tackle these programs later in the day in a warm room; I’d also add that you may want to warm-up beforehand, too.
Reviews stating that this is more of a Western / athletic / gym-oriented approach to yoga are fair. Not only is there no chanting or mystical / New Agey language or really any Sanskrit names for poses, but Adrienne approaches each pose as more of an exercise to be tackled.

Instructor Comments:
Adrienne is very comfortable on camera. She cues for her class, so no real mirror cueing. I have to say I like her demeanor much better in the original Power Yoga for Athletes, where I feel she's more professional / less casual. In this one she jokes about how her class must be so happy they're done with a certain pose, repeats phrases like "Pshew!" and “Awesome!” a lot, and things like that. She says she doesn't like to beat about the bush, to dive right in; believe me, she’s telling the truth there.