Thursday, September 30, 2010

DVD Review: Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown

Believe me, I thought it very odd that a woman who admits time and time again that she is inflexible would put out a yoga DVD.  But I also know that yoga is not about how much of a pretzel you can twist yourself into and so I gave it a try.

Ms. Michael's is her usual self though she is a touch less abrasive than usual.  It annoyed me when she made air quotes while she talked about yoga practice.  Generally, I felt there was a lack of respect for this time-honored (and sometimes very spiritual) tradition.  There was little emphasis on getting into your body and far too much emphasis on using yoga as another tool for weight loss.  And don't get me wrong.  I don't think using it as a tool for weight loss is a bad thing:  I myself started practicing yoga when I decided I wanted to get fit and healthy.  It's just that there's this really glaring ignoring of the other aspects of yoga which you can readily find in even in the most basic and mainstream introductory DVDs (such as Crunch Yoga The Perfect Yoga Workout).  And I'm not talking overtly spiritual stuff like chanting OHM or opening your third eye chakra and all that.  I'm talking about reminding practitioners that it's not all about the physical.  Well, maybe for Ms. Michael's that's all it is. 

Anyone who's done vinyasa yoga can attest to the fact that the flowing movements will indeed work up a good sweat.  Will you burn tons of calories?  Probably not.  But if you do get warm enough, you can get into some awesomely beneficial poses.  The routine that Jillian put together felt disjointed and awkward to me.  It was too fast paced and didn't really have a good flow.  I had to stop and watch a few times to figure out what she wanted me to do.  Once I got into the pose I had to quickly arrange myself into another pose.  Not once did she ask me to watch my breath [while in a pose].  Not once did she speak to my alignment.  Watching her do the workout was even more awkward because like she's said, she's not all that flexible.  Even the so-called advanced demonstrator person looked quite awkward (and un-graceful) to me.  And I found myself wondering (which I rarely do) how many takes it took to get some of the poses completed.  And then I found myself wondering where she got certified to teach yoga.  And then I found myself paying extra attention to what I was doing so I didn't hurt myself doing things that a) the instructor can't do herself and b) she may or may not be qualified to teach.  Like I was definitely sure that doing "reps" in yoga is not such a great thing.  And I am watching my knees these days . . . so I was not going to follow along with that. 

So yes, it was a workout.  I did sweat a bit.  Did I feel like it deepened my practice?  No.  Did I feel relaxed and at peace with the world after?  No. Maybe she should have called it a yoga-inspired workout because I can't say for certain that it was actually yoga. 

So overall, I wasn't too thrilled with this production and don't think I'll be doing it again anytime soon.  I think for folks beginning a yoga home practice, there are far better options out there that will teach you about yoga--it's history and it's spirit and it's form. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nope. Can't Do it. Wouldn't be prudent at this juncture!

Eating wheat that is.  

I am finally, after years of sinking suspicion, accepting that I cannot tolerate wheat.  As a child, I tested as allergic to it but I guess I just adjusted.  I guess as I got older, my body couldn't take it anymore.  I took a break from wheat for a week (which was really tough, I'll admit because I really enjoy my whole wheat breads and things) and then started up again yesterday.  I'm bloated.  And just feel so . . . lethargic. 

I'm tired of the bloating.  Tired of just feeling off.  (((Sigh))) I'm not looking forward to learning a new way to bake.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll get excited at some point but not now.  

For now, I found a pretty decent, straightforward vegan, gluten-free pancake recipe which I'll try next Sunday.  

Are you a vegan, gluten free baker? Any words advice?
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