Yoga Inferno

Jillian Michaels
Year Released: 2013

Categories: Yoga

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This is (I believe) Jillian’s second entry into the world of yoga DVDs. There are two workouts on this DVD; one uses body weight, the other uses hand weights. Just for fun, I clicked on the workout recommendations” from the main menu and read that for best results, I should work out with Jillian 30 minutes a day, five days a week.” Really?

Besides Jillian, there was Shannon for easier modifications, and Natalie for more advanced craziness. The workout was set in a white, sandy location (no water), and the glare was so bad for them that they wore sunglasses. Jillian made a little joke about that.

Both workouts went really fast, as you will tell by reading my descriptions. She also did some yoga poses that I had never heard of (which I’ve put “in quotes”):

The first workout moves quickly from rocking chair, to chair, to “phoenix” (torso bent forward with straight knees, arms extended behind), then we swan dive into mountain pose. From here, we do some side crunches, then forward fold to cat/cow, the “puppy” pose (from all fours, raise onto toes and rock back and forth on your toes – ouch!!) Then we move into “bali seal” (which reminded me of “knee dancing.”) From here (on knees with upright body), we lower into chaturanga, add alternating lunges, then release into child’s pose. Next we lift to downdog, lower into plank, and repeat. From plank position, we bring alternating knees to opposite elbow (twisting mountain climbers), then chaturanga to downdog to mountain pose. Sink into chair and lift and lower heels, then move into forward fold and lift and lower the buttocks while remaining in forward fold (“monkey stretch.”) From here we move into chair pose, then do some “chair jacks”, which felt really awkward to me. The next flow is plank, updog, downdog, forward lunge, then lunge with arm circles. We reach to the ground with hands on opposite sides of foot, and lift and lower the back foot still in parallel position. Then we change the position of the foot (toes now pointed forward) and lift and lower the leg. Lower into plank, then plank jacks. Start from the top, then do other side.

You would think this would be the end of workout #1 … but you’d be wrong! Next comes chaturanga, updog, downdog, split dog, warrior II, crescent pose, reverse crescent, twisted chair, lunge jumps, mountain pose, forward fold, plank, and plank skates. Then do other side. Are we done yet? NO! Lunge jumps, plank skaters, plank, updog, downdog, child’s pose, side plank, side crunches to plank, downdog, split dog, pigeon, and end in plank for mountain climbers. (Natalie did single leg mountain climbers, and all I could think was “WHY???” Why does Jillian have to make it so fricking hard!) But we’re still not done: Next is tricep dips (you can lift an alternating leg for a harder version), reverse planks (beginners in reverse table top position), side planks with crunch, pigeon, downdog, mountain climbers, tricep dips, and reverse planks. We do something called “sprawls” where we are seated in a cross-legged position, then fling our arms and legs out wide (like a wide-legged crunch.) Finally, we get on our backs and lift an alternating toe to the ceiling, then collapse into corpse pose.

Now for the second workout – and believe me, after how tough that first workout was, I didn’t even want to do this one, which adds hand weights to the equation!! The warm-up is sun salutations, planks, updog, downdog, split dog into lunge, then back into plank. Add chair pose, then add pushups. From chair, one toe goes back for forward fold, plank, updog, downdog, and mountain pose. Back to chair, then other toes goes back for forward fold, plank, updog, downdog, and mountain pose. I really felt this in my standing leg! Grab weights, then squat with arms lifting overhead as you lift to standing position. Then stay in squat and do bicep curls. Put weights down and move into plank, jumping legs forward and back. The next sequence is plank, updog, downdog, split dog, and lunge … then get busy with some weighted upright rows and triangle poses. Move into plank position, then opposite upright rows, then plank to squat thrusts. Downdog, split dog, then bring leg under body and push into a side plank (if the moves seem unnecessarily complex – they were!) Repeat on other side.

But wait, there’s more! Figure 4 squat with press, then place crossed leg behind into a lunge position (one legged squats) with side arm raises. Warrior 3 (balancing stick position) to tricep kickbacks, then tree pose with eagle arms with “dragon legs”, then other side. Updog, downdog, child’s pose, superman, camel bends, bridge with arm raises, and skull crushers. Roll ups, bridge again, bridge with arm raises, skull crushers with pelvic tilts, modified plow, then corpse pose where we finally had a chance to relax … if only Jillian didn’t KEEP ON TALKING on that same strident tone. I know she means to motivate us, but the hard work is over; this is supposed to be “chill time!”

If you think these workouts are exhausting, you are right! I get that Jillian wanted to follow up on the success of her Yoga Meltdown DVD with a similar-style workout set outdoors, but I really dislike when an instructor (any instructor) “make up” moves that feel awkward or even unsafe to me, simply for the sake of being different. I also did not like listening to Jillian in this workout. Her voice is very strident, not at all relaxing. Of course, this is Jillian, so what can you expect?

Debbie J