As much as I’d love to be someone who eagerly hops out of bed at 7 a.m. and straps on my shoes for an early run, I am not. If I actually manage to get up and start a workout before 8 or so in the morning, it’s almost a given that it’ll be pretty low-key. Mornings leave me feeling sluggish, grumpy and, most detrimental to most workouts, completely uncoordinated. (No, seriously. You should’ve seen me tripping my way around the gym during morning practices in high school. It would have been laughable if I’d been able to laugh that early in the morning.)
But, if I can drag my lazy butt out of bed, I do love to get in a workout before work begins, and an energizing yoga workout is an awesome choice. And I’ve got two yoga DVDs right here that are designed to be revitalizing and invigorating, making them, in my mind, a great way to start the day.
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Power Yoga is an hour-long workout, led by FBG favorite Ashley Turner, and it really has a lot going for it. The setting, right on the Pacific Ocean, is gorgeous and immediately put me in a peaceful frame of mind. The workout consists of a mix of well-known and rarely seen yoga poses, often with modifications offered to increase or decrease the challenge as necessary—a good thing because parts of this workout totally kicked me in the teeth!
The flow went quickly, but not so quickly that I found myself scrambling to keep up, which is an issue for me more often than I really care to admit. Much of the credit there goes to Turner’s voiceover cuing, which made it easy to follow the workout, including proper breathing. And although this definitely falls within the mind/body category of yoga, make no mistake—it’s a solid full-body workout as well with a great focus on the core. (And there are only a couple of chants—other than that, and being called to set your intention several times throughout, it’s pretty athletic.)
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★1/2
Meets Expectations: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ 1/2
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Best for: Those who enjoy the mind/body aspect of yoga and want to energize their body while calming their mind.
Shiva Rea A.M Energy
Not only does Shiva Rea A.M. Energy offer more than 90 minutes of yoga; that 90 minutes is comprised of several different workouts that can be done together or alone to create a customized workout that’s just what you need it to be on that day—this is something I always love, because while there are some days when an hour or more of yoga sounds like bliss, there are other days when you just want to get your body moving and get on with your day. I know at least a few of you know what I mean.
If you’ve never done one of Rea’s workouts, you might want to check out a preview before you order—she’s all about the mind/body connection and connecting your stomach to your heart to your third eye to your sacred speech. She’s so genuine that, while the super-feely approach might bother me with another instructor, hers doesn’t bug me. Then again, that might be in part because I’m incredibly busy trying to bend into half the positions she glides into so easily. Also, she spends a decent amount of time encouraging you to just move and shake it out, finding your own rhythm, and, well, how can I hate on someone who busts into freeform with a big smile on her face? I can’t. It’s the truth.
This is a toughie—although there are modifications offered for many of the poses, if you aren’t terribly flexible to begin with, you might have a hard time flowing from one pose to another in some instances. I would definitely recommend having at least a bit of a yoga background before jumping in because, while Rea explains foot position and posture in the poses, she doesn’t go into great detail on some of the subtleties of poses the way an instructor would do in class, so if you’re not already familiar with some of the basic poses, you won’t always know where your hips should be.
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★1/2
Fun Factor: ★★★1/2
Meets Expectations: ★★★
Best for: If you love the traditional aspects of yoga and really seek a tough yoga flow workout with a serious focus on the inside as well as the outside, this could be just the DVD for you!
Fit Bottomed Line: If you’re an beginner to intermediate exerciser looking for a longer yoga workout that is athletic yet relaxing, Power Yoga is your DVD. If you’re a seasoned yogi who’s okay with some hippity-dippity in her yoga but needs shorter mix-and-match sessions, Shiva Rea A.M. Energy is your pick!
What’s your favorite qualities in a yoga DVD? Fast? Slow? Short? Long? Tell us about it! —Kristen