Year Released: 2009
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Note: I received a free copy of this DVD to review for the web site Metapsychology.net.
Yoga instructor Mandy Ingber’s main claim-to-fame appears to be that she that she is Jennifer Aniston’s yoga teacher, although her web site lists several other celebrities who she has trained, including Brooke Shields, Helen Hunt, and Woody Harrelson. It is Aniston, however, who is actually quoted on the cover of this DVD and who appears within for a very brief endorsement.
Yogalosophy purports to be a blend of traditional yoga postures and toning exercises. The DVD features a 35-minute “Express” workout plus a longer “Fully Loaded” option; the latter adds “Breakout Segments,” or additional chapters which are also featured under the Extras submenu. The Main Menu of the DVD reads as follows:
Introduction – Mandy Ingber
Introduction – Jennifer Aniston
Yogalosophy Express with Cuing
Yogalosophy Express with Music Alone
Fully Loaded Challenge
Ingber is working out alone on a large patio-type area overlooking the ocean. The background music is quite eclectic, a mix of vocals plus jazzy and almost techno tunes. For the 35-minute Yogalosophy Express, Ingber oddly combines both live cuing and voiceover instruction, with names of the exercises appearing on the screen. She states that she will be doing “eight of everything,” including eight breaths followed by eight repetitions and then eight pulses—this is the basic format, although Ingber sometimes deviates slightly from this pattern. The exercises in the Express workout are as follows: calf raises – squats/crescent lunges – temple/plié squats – down dog w/leg lifts – cat/cow – fire hydrant – bow – superman – plank/push-ups – side plank – floor tricep dips – bridge/pelvic tilts – reclined twist – abs work (crunches into boat/v-ups) – brief seated meditation.
As noted above, the Fully Loaded Challenge is an extended version of the Yogalosophy Express practice, as it includes add-on chapters which are listed under Extras. The entire Extras submenu appears as follows (I have added approximate times in parentheses):
Sun Salutation (7.5 minutes)
Rock Block (3.5 minutes)
Balance Challenge (3 minutes)
Stretch (6 minutes)
Mandy on Breath (<1 minute)
Mandy on Yogalosophy (<1 minute)
Mandy on Vision Mat (2.5 minutes)
The first four of these segments are incorporated into the Fully Loaded Challenge practice. The routine begins with the Sun Salutation. Ingber takes the sun series at a nice, measured pace, adding a pause of five breaths in down dog and building up to hops forward/back as well as three-legged plank. (Note: it is easier to follow Ingber here if you have your mat perpendicular to your television rather than parallel to her.) The “Rock Block” is a series of warrior poses which Ingber holds for five breaths per pose. She moves through warrior 2, reverse warrior, and side angle, and then repeats the entire series on the other side. Next is the Balance Challenge sequence. Ingber begins with a knee hold, moving into tree pose and then continuing to balance on the same side for warrior 3 and front leg extension; she finishes on the second side. Following the balance work, Ingber moves through the entire Yogalosophy Express portion. Finally, she concludes with the Stretch segment. The postures in this series include lunge, pigeon, one-legged forward bend, cobbler’s forward bend, and full forward bend (no savasana), bringing the complete Fully Loaded Challenge to 55 minutes total.
I’ve been practicing yoga for almost ten years now; personally, I usually turn to yoga to stretch and relax, not to “work out.” Given this, I wasn’t particularly expecting to enjoy this DVD, as I don’t generally click with power yoga or other quick-moving vinyasa-style yoga practices. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that what Ingber offers is quite different. I found that the toning exercises, which are performed at a moderate pace, flowed very nicely from the yoga postures, making this an excellent yoga practice for building strength. I enjoyed the overall tempo and never felt that it was either rushed or too slow. Of course, those who do tend to prefer fast-paced yoga practices are likely to be disappointed with this DVD.
There are several other caveats worth mentioning as well. First of all, Ingber’s cuing can be a bit difficult to follow, as she does not always alert the viewer to when she is switching to the next move/next side. If you are used to counting on your own, that will help, as for the most part, Ingber does stick to the 8-count format; also, as noted above, turning your mat to face your television may be beneficial as well. Another major issue is Ingber’s personally, which came across as lighthearted and tongue-in-cheek to me but which might rub some people the wrong way. The most salient example of this is during the squat sequence, when she states that she has a mantra that she uses: that mantra is “I have a great a--,” which Ingber repeats several times.
In conclusion, I would recommend this DVD to those who do not take a purist approach to their yoga practice, who want a yoga routine that is challenging without being fast-moving, and finally, who do not mind some irreverence from their yoga instruction.
See notes about Mandy above. She definitely is quite goofy at times, and she says a lot of things which I think are probably meant to be tongue-in-cheek (such as the "a--" comments). I don't think her cuing is quite as bad as some of the reviewers make her out to be--after all, you are basically just doing things like squats, so how hard is it to follow along?--but like I said, it is helpful to keep your own count. ;)