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Friday, March 4, 2011

Review: Bob Harper "Yoga for the Warrior"

I have been meaning to review this title for a while now. I've done the hour long workout 3 times, so I feel like I can give a fair evaluation. Here goes

About me:
I used to be a yoga teacher. Besides my fitness certifications, I had a 200 Hour Yoga Alliance Approved training, and was allowed to use the letters "R.Y.T" (Registered Yoga Teacher) behind my name.

A few years ago, I grew tired of the yoga purists who would say if you haven't been to India, met Iyengar, and been doing yoga since birth, you weren't qualified to teach. I made my yoga something I enjoyed doing, and decided to quit calling myself a "teacher".

I stayed away from yoga for a few years after an altercation with an Ana Forrest fan, and after my son was born, returned to yoga ON MY TERMS. This means, making it work for me. I would no longer try to fit into one style- I did practices that made me feel good and filled my needs.

So, that will give you an idea of where I'm coming from in regards to this review.

Breakdown:

Bob starts off the workout by telling you how hard it's going to be. Like, this is going to be the hardest yoga workout you've ever done in your life. Your mind will be blown. Starting out, I had it in my mind it was going to be like the Insanity of Yoga. I was pumped. YEAH! (I mean, Ommmmm...)

We do the standard Sun Salutations warmups, and standing poses. There's a balance section with Tree, and Big Toe Pose. Short backbends are included.

Mostly, it's not that different from a standard "power" or "vinyasa" yoga practice.However, there is one difference: Bob's addition of "Shoulder Presses". Yes, these are right out of Insanity. From downward dog, he has you move into more of a pike push-up and you do almost a headstand. It's great for building shoulder strength. You do this twice in the workout, and it is quite effective.

Difficulty:
I think if you're already someone in shape, you could probably do this workout. If you're in shape and have never done yoga, you may be a bit confused. However, it's doable. I don't think I would recommend this to an absolute beginner, though. I think Bob has a Biggest Loser Yoga workout that is designed for that, so you could start there.

Music:

I actually really like the music in this workout. It's not your typical yoga music at all. It's like a combination of U2 and The Ramones. There is some rocking out going on during this workout. I love it.

Modifications:

One of the things that bugs me is that Bob repeatedly leaves out one of the parts of the Sun Salutation. Most go like this:
1. Inhale- Reach Up
2. Exhale- Fold Forward
3. Inhale- Look up with a flat back
4. Exhale- Fold Forward, jump or step back to chaturanga.

Well, he keeps leaving out step 3. It messes me up. I just add it in, but if you're a yoga purist, this may bother you.

Also, there's a section where he goes to table (all-fours) and does a balance move called "awkward airplane". Since I have grumpy knees (and since I recently hurt my knee in a pose like that), I avoid that, and instead practice my "crow" pose. This gives me plenty of time to practice (and fall over several times) and my intensity doesn't go down.

Overall Rating:

Overall, how much you enjoy this workout would depend on what you're looking for from your yoga. I'm using it to keep me limber between runs and also get some upper body work, and it works great for that (I think you do about 1000 chaturangas).

If you want to do the hardest yoga workout EVER, this may not be it for you. It's really not as hard and mindblowing as Bob promises in the beginning.

If you want to have a rest day and just do some mild stretching, this is not for you.

But, if you want to work hard, work your strength, flexibility, core and balance, and maybe get a little sweaty,  you'll love this video.

P.S. There is a 15 minute ab workout as a bonus. It's a really good core workout. I don't think it necessarily has any yoga influence, but you do get a good workout, and I'm always looking for ab work I can add on to other workouts.

Have any of you tried it? What do you think?

*Disclaimer- I was not given a free video or anything for sharing my opinion. I bought it, and decided to talk about it. Not to say I'm not open to reviewing stuff in the future, especially if it's cool and I get to keep it...

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