Power Yoga With Eoin FinnEoin Finn
Year Released: 2002
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I’m reviewing this workout after doing the short routine twice and the full routine once.
This power yoga routine has already been reviewed so well by Loretta and Sophie especially that there’s little left to say, as Renee noted. So I’ll just break down the DVD options, the equipment and space needs, and compare it to his later productions.
The DVD’s main menu offers these options: Play Full Routine, Chapter Points (Introduction, Sun Salutation “eh,” Sun Salutaion B, Back Bends, Standing Flow 1, Standing Flow 2, Flow 3 / Seated 1, Seated 2 / Abs 1, Abs 2 / Finishing, Hip Stretch, and Corpse Pose), and Special Features (Short Routine, Upward Dog - an instructional segment, Downward Dog – another instructional segment, Surf and Yoga – Eoin and students talking about his retreats, Slide Show – showcasing Eoin in poses plus Vancouver sights, Web Links).
For this practice you just need a mat. I have blocks handy, but no one in the routine uses any props.
You should have enough space around you to do a full sun salutation plus be able to lie down with limbs extended and have room behind you for plow.
How does this rank in terms of difficulty with his other DVDs? Even though, as Jane points out, Power Yoga for Happiness 1 has more advanced postures than PY vol. 1, the fact that PY4H1 also shows the modifications (here Eoin simply mentions them, and although the class performs the postures to varying degrees there’s no designated modifier, plus everyone seems to give the more challenging postures a try, even if for a second) and has a slightly slower pace means that I’d recommend PY4H1 over PY1 to someone newer to power yoga or to someone with strength and/or flexibility limitations. (Of course, if you’re even newer to yoga or more limited in strength and/or flexibility I’d recommend Eoin’s Pure & Simple Yoga first.) The most “advanced” poses here aren’t anything that a solid or even low intermediate yogi(ni) probably doesn’t already have under his/her belt: shoulderstand, wheel, etc. Eoin includes some tips and reminders about form and alignment, but he’s more focused on encouraging you here, and it’s best if you already have some idea of what you’re doing. Personally I find Power Yoga for Happiness II the most challenging of his three power yoga DVDs, but that has a lot to do with the pace, plus, like the original Power Yoga, PY4H 2 also does not show many, if any, modifications; at the same time, it has more challenging poses, like PY4H 1.
Honestly, this is my least favorite Eoin DVD, which is like saying white chocolate is my least favorite type of chocolate. The sequencing is kind of different here, as has been noted, with vinyasas up until the final corpse pose. (That’s not necessarily a bad thing – it’s just different.) In the “it’s not you; it’s me” corner is the fact I don’t do much power yoga; in fact, Eoin is one of the few people who can inspire me to do it, and I reach for his slower flows when I am so inspired because I need to modify chaturanga – up dog – down dog vinyasas. This one is as fast as I can go while successfully doing that. I feel bad that I’m not finding it as easy to fall in love with this incarnation of Eoin when I’m so used to the personality and instructional style he brings to his newer media. I’m so spoiled with the multiple premixes on the two PY4H DVDs (I adore the three shorter premixes on PY4H1), plus I also have about a dozen free MP3s from Eoin; as a result, I’m just not finding myself using this one.
That said, this would probably be a must for Eoin diehards who want to complete their collection, and it could be interesting for those looking for a power yoga DVD with something kind of like Bryan Kest or Baron Baptiste but not sure about Eoin’s reputation for saying goofy things, as he’s a little more reined in here.
Eoin’s very earnest and encouraging, always emphasizing working at your own level and listening to your body rather than telling it what to do. He cues for his class’s left and right. This is Eoin’s earliest DVD, and he’s still finding his voice here. The instruction is a little stilted in places, with ums and uhs, and he still bears many hallmarks of his teachers, especially Bryan Kest. His language is straightforward, without much poetics (“some things we rule at and some things we suck at”), but you can start to see that emphasizing the bliss and sweetness will become his focus, that his sense of humor and play will enliven his approach.
Loretta and Sophie both do a good job of outlining the video and discussing it's various aspects, so I'll keep it short and sweet. Good workout, lovely setting (although you don't spend much time looking at the screen), great instruction. It's a keeper.
I love Eoin. His cueing is excellent and I love when he tells me I won't come back in the next life as a bug just because I can't do a certain pose.
This was a Christmas present, and in fact, my Christmas evening workout after the kids went to bed. Probably not the very best choice after an afternoon of turkey and wine, (boy, I really felt it on the seated forward bends. Arrrgh!) but a wonderfully satisfying and enjoyable workout nonetheless.
As far as I can tell, this is a first production from Eion Finn, of the Vancouver Yoga studio in (where else) Vancouver, BC. Other than being generally attracted to new power yoga tapes, I was additionally motivated to get this one because I grew up in the area and spent much time during my university years on the beaches on which this tape was filmed. Plus, some fellow Vfers have met Eion and from their reports, he is one cool guy.
Production comments: This is definitely not a Living Arts production. The immaculate sand dunes and unfailing sunshine is not here - hey, this is Canada's West coast, after all! In some shots, there is a dull quality that one supposes must be due to a passing cloud. The beach sand is grey, and it must have been filmed at low tide, as there are blobs of seaweed here and there. You know how in Rodney Yee's videos, you can't even tell where the mat ends and the sand begins? No such illusion here… the (blue) yoga mats are laid over (brown) bamboo mats held down by stones on the (grey) beach - this is filmed in an area where they hold kite festivals. But it's authentically Vancouver, and in Eion's introductory talk, passersby walk past the driftwood logs, and during the asanas a dog actually runs between the yogis in the class. In the relaxation segment at the end, it's difficult not to peek up to watch the passing freighters in the bay. You can either be bothered by the set's apparent lack of sophistication and isolation, or enjoy its natural simplicity, and integration with its environment. Eion says he intended this tape to give the feeling of a live class, and I think that is achieved - it does feel spontaneous and immediate to me.
Similarly, Eion Finn's personality may not suit everyone. He talks constantly, in a very natural, earnest, and unscripted way. And he has his own Eion-isms. As Rodney asks you to breathe into your groins , and Bryan urges you to be where you're at, Eion really wants you to feel the sweetness of the positions, the breath, the experience…sweet as cherry nectar, among other things. I found this funny (at least as funny as Baron asking you to make your big toe glow with your gaze). On the other hand, he also comes across as sincerely caring, both of his "live" students and his video audience. And sometimes intentionally funny - during the full backbends, he reminds you that if you decide to do a bridge instead of a full backbend, it doesn't mean you're doomed to come back as a bug in your next life. Overall, once I got used to his constant talking, I liked him, and as is often the case, what seems irritating when you're just watching a video becomes useful and encouraging during the actual practice.
The practice is not pure Ashtanga, and is more of the modified power yoga types of practices like those of Bryan Kest and Baron Baptiste. If you've done any variety of power yoga tapes, you're unlikely to find anything completely new here. Eion teaches a class of eight (I think!) yogis, of varying abilities and ages. They wear the standard yoga wear (thankfully, no thongs or schlongs) and Eion walks around the class in a T-shirt and the male equivalent of capri pants (WHAT would those be called?). Every once in a while, to clarify form in a posture, it cuts to a shot of Eion performing it. He wears decently cut pants. This may be either a relief or disappointment to some of you. I can't help but comment on the guy's build - even in a T-shirt, you can see his upper pectoral development. Impressive!
There are some interesting differences in the practice. After the sun salutations and before the standing poses, there is a backbend sequence, which surprised me. I'm used to seeing backbends appear after standing poses, after being a bit more warmed up. However, one of my complaints about most power yoga routines is that they lack backbends, so this was a welcome addition. Eion also gives many of the Sanskrit as well as the English names of the poses throughout the practice, which I like. Fans of the dancer's pose will be happy to find it included in the standing sequence. There is also a full cow's face pose at the end, which is another one you don't see often. There is a core/ab segment where you lie on your back and do slow double leg drops and lifts…90 degrees from the body, then 45 degrees, then 12 inches off the floor, then 1 inch - and back. This is one segment many people might want to pay particular attention to what their lower back is telling them! He adds an interesting variation to boat pose - from the balancing V-position, place both palms together, and bring to the left side, centre again, then right side. It's always fun to learn a new twist to familiar positions!
Throughout, Eion constantly reminds you of the purpose of yoga - to move towards clarity of mind, release of old habits/patterns/emotions, and self acceptance, and throws in some cautions against competition "just because you can lift your leg high in this pose doesn't make you a better person than anyone else" or WTTE. Depending on your yoga outlook, this may either annoy or encourage you….myself, I liked it and it was a good reminder most of the time. He pays more attention to breath, gaze, and unnecessary tension than most instructors on tape. He keeps reminding you to keep your face and gaze soft, and makes the good-humoured observation that some people in downward dog look like they're hanging onto a cliff. The only thing that really bugged me was the "AAAAHHHH" he would say sometimes as he encourages the class to release in down dog or forward bend. Otherwise, I liked him a lot. I didn't even mind his goofy "downward cheetah" comments.
Despite its extra length, 68 minutes of asanas, before you even get to the 7 minute relaxation segment, this is not the most intense power yoga tape I've ever done. I find Bryan Kest Vol. 2 tougher (though maybe just because of the dreaded lunge sequence). However, it is also one that I would never dread doing or have to psyche myself up for. It is friendly, accessible, and well cued by a caring and knowledgeable instructor. It is not really instructional in nature so I'm not sure it would be a power yoga tape to start or learn with. But it is certainly satisfying, thorough, and enjoyable, and the 68 minutes fly by. All in all, a great addition to a yogini vidiot's collection.
A brief comment about the music - I wish I liked it better. It's ambient and inoffensive, but I really like more of a presence and rhythm in video music, even for yoga. On the other hand, at least it's not a grinding harmonium or Muzak, so one can be thankful for that.
I LURVED it!!! It has a great selection of poses, beautiful scenery, tasteful clothing, and cool vibe. The video is filmed on the beach in Vancouver with beautiful mountains in the background. It's very much like a live class with Eoin walking around instructing and giving encouragement to the class. Occasionally the picture cuts to Eoin alone on the beach demonstrating a pose, but it doesn't break up the flow of the teaching at all. Eoin's voice is so encouraging and soothing I totally amazed myself by being able to do poses I didn't know I could even do (like eka pada rajakapotasana, i.e. king pigeon holding onto my foot with BOTH HANDS!!! and uptavista konasana with both feet off the ground balancing). The yogis in the class show different levels of the poses. At the end of the video each of the background yogis was introduced with a full camera shot, I really liked that. I think the thing I liked the best of all was that he started out in the warm up by asking you to state an intention for your practice today and dedicate your practice to it. His relaxation talk during savasana was wonderful, heavy bones & light skin. I almost floated right away. This one's a keeper for sure!
It's 68 minutes of poses followed by 7 minutes of relaxation. It's power yoga style with sun salutations inserted between standing poses. It's well paced and if you are a beginner you can use the brief sun salutation times to rest between poses and then work on building up to the full practice. Many of the poses included are ones that are not in many other videos, dancer's pose, gomukhasana, king pigeon, plough & shoulder stand.
I'd give this tape an A++Instructor comments: Eoin Finn is a yoga instructor in Vancouver BC. He hosted the Bryan Kest seminar that I went to last year and was such an enthusiastic, positive, nice guy, that I knew I had to get his video. He comes across on video just like he does in real life, really upbeat, positive, supportive and genuine. His love for yoga and joy in teaching really comes through in the tape. He has a wonderful, soft soothing voice and it quietly humorous and supportive throughout the video. He uses both English and Sanskrit names for poses, so it would be a good tape for starting to learn the Sanskrit names.