Exercise DVD Review: Bob Harper’s Inside Out Method Yoga for the Warrior
For prior reviews of Bob Harper’s new series, see here for cardio and here for strength. When I finish filling out my last will and testament, I will perform and review the Bob’s Workout DVD, which nearly gave me a coronary when I watched it on the couch.
Ahh, yoga. For me, the name does not conjure images of forgotten temples nestled deep in Indian jungles, where ancient limber wise men teach the ways of breathing life-giving force in a special manner while contorting into impossible positions. Instead, it makes me think about the 1990’s soccer mom and the (to me) mystifying popularity of what looked like an extended period of stretching. And let me tell you, I hate stretching. Always have, since pee-wee football. I have always been incredibly inflexible. At some point, though, my wife talked me into trying a yoga class, and I honestly enjoyed it. I started going regularly, then stopped when I got lazy. That was 10 years ago.
We own a lot of yoga DVDs. I’ve tried it a few times since in the last 10 years, but I just can’t get into it. In class, Courtney the instructor was awesome, his voice putting me into a nice zen state. I haven’t been able to get that with any of the DVDs I’ve tried. I am frankly quite impatient with the ones that spend 15 minutes trying to get me to breathe in a certain way. Guess what? When I am straining and fatigued, I’m gonna breathe the way I always breathe, without trying to focus on my diaphragm or whatever whistling sound you want me to make. So that’s my yoga background, and I was hopeful that Bob’s yoga video would bring more of the Courtney-type inspiration and less of the hippy-dippy mystic stuff that gets on my nerves.
Bob tells you, right off the bat, that you will be doing things you’ve never done in a yoga workout before. He ain’t lyin’. There is the standard stuff, plenty of down-dog, up-dog, Warriors I and II, and the like. Then there are the shoulder presses in the downward dog and the put-your-arm-behind-your-back-and-the-other-under-your-leg pretzel stance. Those are definitely things that I’ve never done in a yoga workout before.
Bob’s style is smooth, very evocative for me of the old classes with Courtney. I made a crack in an earlier review about him being a granola-crunching yoga zen dude, and while that isn’t true (maybe) he is an awesome yoga instructor. His reminders to focus on what you are doing RIGHT NOW and not worrying about the moves that are upcoming are excellent, almost forcing you to remember to relax. His instructions are clear, which is helpful when you can’t see the TV from your stance.
He is joined by the requisite trio of very fit people. Leah and Kristin are advanced, and have that long, lean yoga body that you generally see in an instructor. Robert, on the other hand, does not have a long lean yoga body. Dude is seriously ripped and muscular. He’s what I aspire to be. He does the modified moves. Probably the thing that I like best about this video is the way Bob explains the difference between the advanced and modified poses. Robert isn’t doing the same deep moves as the others, but as Bob explains, they’re more flexible, and the net result is that both the advanced people and modifiers are getting the exact same workout. I believe it. Robert is dripping with sweat, and I was too, like literally dripping off the end of my nose in a cold basement.
This workout will push you to the limits of your flexibility and beyond. I said in my other reviews that his cardio and strength stuff wasn’t really for beginners (although I didn’t mention that there are short beginner videos on each), but this DVD is for everyone, whether you’ve ever done a minute of yoga or you are well-practiced. I’ve done it a few times now, and I can see improvements in my flexibility and ability to perform more difficult moves (first time I’ve managed the Wheel ever, yesterday, even if it was only for a few seconds). Even if you have no interest in his other workouts, if you like yoga at all, or you aren’t sure and you want to try it, get this DVD. At times, your abs will be screaming, your legs will be shaking uncontrollably, your shoulders will feel like fiery suns, and going into a down-dog will seem like the sweetest relief from agony you’ve ever seen. At the end, you’ll be relaxed, stretched, and feeling good, I promise.
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