Judge Herrell tested her new limberness by making four dozen holiday cookies.
Strong Core. Lose Inches. Lean Abs.
This is a nice entry-level yoga flow DVD. But its billing as an "abs" DVD is a bit misleading.
Facts of the Case
The Fit Abs DVD of the YogaWorks For Everybody series features 10 minutes of ab work and 40 minutes of yoga flow.
It's true that you can get great abs in only 10 minutes a day. But you'll only see those great abs if you're pretty lean to begin with. And 10 minutes of exercise a day isn't going to help you get lean…unless you also follow a restrictive diet. That's why I hate workouts that bill themselves as "10 minutes to a flat stomach," or whatever. There are so many qualifiers that need to go with a statement like that and they're never included, except maybe in the fine print.
While the Fit Abs DVD doesn't go over the top with the outlandish proclamations, it does say right on the cover "Strong Core Lose Inches Lean Abs." And I'd agree that that is all possible with this DVD but not if you just do the 10 minute ab section. First you need to do the 40-minute yoga flow session to warm up, then the 10-minute ab session (why not twice for good measure), and then run around the block a few times—especially over the holidays. So really I'd rather this DVD be billed for what it is—an entry-level flow yoga DVD.
Flow yoga is yoga without long pauses during and after every exercise. It keeps you moving which is why I generally prefer the style and why the yoga purists don't. There's less self reflection and more sweating—it really can be a good cardio workout when done quickly. Add a hot room and it's an easy way to wear the body out.
This particular flow lesson is taught by a man wearing baggy shorts and a loose t-shirt. He's sort of a good looking, regular kind of guy which makes for a non-intimidating atmosphere, yet there's also little room to ogle his, suspected, chiseled physique.
His voice, and the audio is clear (not so in the abs session), and while one of his minions is supposed to be showing easier moves it is hard to watch her and him at the same time. I wish yoga DVDs would inset the easier moves in a little box so that you could see both levels at the same time.
As it was I found it rather difficult to follow the leader, who is laying sideways (generally, obviously it depends on the exercise) in front of his classroom. While this is the normal DVD style of teaching, it is really hard to lay on the ground, far below your television set, and try to watch the instructor's moves without straining your neck. It might help if the teachers positioned themselves facing the audience.
The moves themselves are continual and not too difficult. I could follow along (when I could see) with ease. I even learned a few moves, which was nice. For those intimidated by live yoga classes, this a great DVD to try at home and see if you actually like this type of exercise.
As for the setting, it looked like most nice, spa-like gyms (think hardwood, soothing colors, a pitcher of cucumber water right outside the door), with the exception that many real yoga classes cram in three times the number of participants, and the participants are not "Made for TV," if you know what I mean.
The 10-minute ab sessions was far more disappointing. First off, all the Yoga flow classes that I've taken always include a period of core or ab work—this is de rigueur not some special, DVD-defining bonus.
Second, my abs were not sore the next day. If I'm going to do ab work I want to feel it the next day.
Third, the female teacher's diction leaves much to be desired. In fact I think she tried to match her speaking to the exercise: "Switching sides, switching as you exhale, finding the breathe, stretching as you twist." All those words for just four bicycles. Plus, she just never stopped talking. I couldn't figure out when she was giving instruction and when she was just babbling.
This DVD was produced by Lionsgate, a pretty major motion picture company (it's part of the New York Stock Exchange for crying out loud). But its presentation isn't any different from most of the DVD exercise videos I've watched. The video quality is fine, but the camera never really moves from its fixed placement at the front of the room.
The Special Features does include a great interactive learning guide which walks through many of the basic yoga moves. It also includes the Sanskrit name for every pose, names which are usually thrown out with ease in any yoga class and if you don't know what they mean can cause a severe delayed reaction in performing the exercise. Anyone could benefit from this detailed primer.
The second Special Feature, which bills itself as a "Custom Workout Interactive Option," is another misnomer. Basically you can choose to do the 10-minute ab section together or separately from the 40-minute flow section. This should be the norm on any modern exercise DVD and is not something I consider special.
If you're looking for an entry-level yoga DVD that is a bit more cardio than normal, this DVD is for you. If you're looking for a killer ab workout or to drop pounds, look elsewhere.
Hung jury. Circumstantial evidence.
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