To put this review in perspective, it is probably of some advantage to know a little about its author. Though I have viewed workout tapes in the past, it has rarely been without the appropriate salted snacks and something with which to wash them down. Furthermore, in the morning, when I walk down the stairs, I often get this strange clicking noise in my left knee. It isn’t always audible, but it does cause me to walk with a limp until I’ve woken properly. I am not considered a very healthy man. Of all bodies, mine is the one screaming for the benefits of yoga (which actually makes a nice change from it screaming for me to slow down a little or to take the elevator).
So the question is: Can the Yoga Basics disc be of any help to the beginner (not just a yoga beginner, but an exercise beginner)?
One thing is certainly beyond question: yoga is a good thing. It is low impact, it manages to incorporate a sense of calm and, above all, it is healthy. Although I am clearly not in a position to judge the disc in comparison to other exercise programs, I can at least offer you a beginner’s perspective.
Yoga Basics seems to provide a reasonably complete package for the novice yoga student. The main instructional body of the disc is an hour-long workout demonstrating each of the basic positions. Although the instructions are clear and easy to follow, I found myself having to interrupt the exercise to check if I was doing it correctly. Not only was this messing with my inner peace, I was often shocked at just how far off the correct position I actually was. Of course, with the benefit of repeat sessions, the exercises would become easier and much more beneficial.
The action (that of the low impact and stress free variety) all takes place on the island of Maui and is complemented by an ambient, chime-happy musical accompaniment courtesy of Benjamin Davis. Instructor Patricia Walden is clear and concise in her instruction and thankfully is in possession of an even and soothing voice (let’s face it - Yoga Basics with Fran Drescher just would not work).
One thing worth noting is that certain apparatus is required. You will need a bolster cushion (a cylindrical cushion to place under the lower back), a blanket (no it is not for catching up on sleep during meditation) and two support blocks (I had to use a can of Watties Cheesy Spaghetti and a can of Campbell’s Garden Tomato which seemed to do the trick).
Since the majority of people interested in purchasing this disc are likely to be beginners, it is important that there is nothing too difficult to scare them away. I personally found I could perform the exercises to a much lesser degree than our girl, Patricia Walden, yet perform them I did. It only stands to reason that more practice would lead to greater understanding, greater flexibility and greater enjoyment.
It must be said that at the end of the session I was walking a little taller and felt somewhat relaxed, so there is no denying that the workout was of some benefit. For someone that may be a little intimidated by the thought of an actual class, Yoga Basics might be a good way to find out if you and yoga are compatible together (somehow I just don’t think we are gonna get along).
Still, until someone devises a no impact exercise program based on a deeper understanding of fried food, this workout is as good as any.
As the review on the content of an exercise disc differs to that of a film, so too does comment on its transfer. Ultimately the transfer for Yoga Basics is perfectly fine, but then how good does it have to be? As long as you can see what the instructor is up to and hear the instructions, then sound and picture quality becomes less of an issue.
Regardless, the picture quality on this disc is of a good standard. Although the definition is a little hazy at times, the colours are vibrant and skin tones accurate. Though this is true of the workout section of the disc, the half-hour ‘class’ footage was shot outdoors and as such is of a lesser standard. In this section, the colours tend to bleed and definition is poor. Yoga Basics is presented in full screen and is not 16x9 enhanced.
The disc is presented in Dolby 2.0, which is, as you would expect, ample for a disc of this nature. Once again, the only real problems that occur are within the ‘class’ segment where, since it was shot atop a hill in Hawaii, there is low-level noise throughout. Though certainly noticeable, it doesn’t detract from the overall presentation.
The extras that appear on the disc are more an extension of the main program and should probably have been listed as part of the overall running time. Subtitles, as always, would have been a worthwhile inclusion.
Interview With Patricia Walden (8:46) – The interview is cut with Patricia showing what she can do along with a little shameless promotion for one of her other releases.
Yoga Class (31:55) – Once you’ve mastered the workout session, you can take one of Patricia’s classes along with her other flunkies in an open field. Not only does the class contain additional instruction, you can learn some new poses. Don’t be despondent that the others in the class appear to be coping better than you are, after all you get to do the workout in your undies and they don’t.
Individual Poses – This is more or less an alternate menu selection. Rather than skipping to a certain chapter, you can reach your location in the workout section by selecting a particular exercise. A handy feature if you need to try a pose again because you just... don’t... get it.
Coming Soon: Yours truly gets busy with instructor Rodney Yee in Yoga For Energy and Strength!
I hope you people appreciate this...