Alan Finger has helped Judge Melissa Hansen find her groove...and that's not a metaphor.
Don't be fooled. The lovely woman on the front cover is not your instructor. Instead we get yoga master Alan Finger—affected voice, polo shirt, and all—joined by his wife, a friend, and two other instructors, all of whom have varying levels of acquaintance with Yoga. It's a family affair, with two discs of energetic content to share.
Disc One contains a 55-minute yoga practice. We begin by centering our breathing, followed by a mix of stretching and strengthening poses. Step by step, we're then taken slowly through each pose, which are practical for most beginners. However, if you've never done yoga before, there may be a few that'll prove to be a challenge. Thankfully, one of the other instructors performs modified versions of the poses, so everyone can keep pace. One nice feature is that the menu allows you to jump to specific poses, or perform the whole routine straight through. It's a decent practice, just not very enthralling.
Disc Two consists of two meditation practices, each of which are about half an hour long. The second is a Chakra mediation, and was shot on a different set and with less visual clarity than Disc One and other meditations. I'll confess, I've really tried to meditate, but can't seem to get the hang of it. My mind is too busy. I'd pretty much given up on trying, but there is something in these practices that helped me to see the light…so to speak. Both meditations begin with a few yoga poses to get you in the mood. We're then directed through breathing exercises and energy guided imagery, leaving only a few minutes of quiet focus for minds like mine to wander. Like the yoga poses, these meditations can be done separately or together.
Unlike the majority of what you'll find in the fitness section, Yoga Zone: For Beginners Only is not "fast food" yoga or meditation. This is the real deal, so I'm warning you up front it may be too New Age for some folks. It's is a good choice for beginners, but not for those of you who just want a shortcut to a great yoga butt.
I'm not sure how often I'll pop in the yoga disc, but the meditation one I'll reach for instead of that beer after a long day. Namaste.
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