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  • Interviews - Interview with Rodney Yee
Yoga Journal's Yoga - For Energy & Strength
Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 130 mins . E . PAL


Smug from the relative ease with which I completed Yoga Basics with Patricia Walden, it was time for me to mix it up a little with yoga guru Rodney Yee in Yoga For Energy and Strength. Although I was hardly the picture of supple grace throughout the Basics workout, I had nevertheless managed to achieve a rough approximation of most of the positions (the Proud Warrior and the Reclining Mountain poses being my personal favourites - come to think of it, most of the reclining positions were my personal favourites) and could be forgiven for thinking this whole yoga game wasnít such a difficult thing. That was with Patricia Walden. Itís funny... I actually miss her now...

Yoga For Energy and Strength is divided into two sections - one for strength and one for energy. Sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the television (OK, OK, it wasnít exactly cross-legged but I was sitting on the floor), and wearing my most serviceable undies, I began the program. At the beginning of the strength session I was treated to an eight-minute, wordless demonstration from Rodney Yee. It was here that the alarm bells went off. Bare-chested and with a single long plait running down the centre of his back, Rodney looked more like something out of Mortal Kombat rather than your average yoga dude. Furthermore, he was twisting himself into shapes that our maker had never intended. Hell, he was twisting himself into shapes that even the maker of Play Doh had never intended.

Oh well, give the guy his day in the sun - the workout would soon begin. Begin it certainly did - that is where the trouble started. He began by placing his chest on the floor in front of him while still in a kneeling position. My pose actually looking nothing like Rodneyís, but I was at least content that we were roughly the same height above sea level. It was when I was exhaling back into the dog pose that I fell forward and smacked my right shoulder on the floor. I whimpered slightly, rolled back into a sitting position then decided to sit the dog pose out and wait for Rodney to catch up. Then, when it was time to move into a standing forward bend, thatís when I got the cramp and, just like that, I was out of the game.

Would you like to know why I got that cramp? It was because I was reviewing a yoga disc for you, the reader. Well, never again, do you hear me? NO MORE!

Viewing the disc from the painless and carefree comfort of the couch, I was able to make some keen observations. Firstly, there is no chapter selection option so there is no real advantage to having the program on disc rather than VHS, since you have to fast forward to the relevant parts anyway. After the relative practicality of the Yoga Basics menu system, this is an enormous flaw and a waste of technology.

Although Rodney does tell you when to breathe (something Iíve always considered myself to be quite good at), he doesnít actually explain any of the poses during the workout. Rather, he announces the name of the position and then proceeds to contort himself into the appropriate polygon, so if you donít know the names of the positions and the required technique, you miss the boat. The only way around this is to keep craning your head towards the television to see what Rodney is up to but I donít even want to think about how hard thatís going to be when you are shifting from a standing forward bend to a double half dog twist (OK, I made that last one up).

In all fairness, there was never any mention of the program being suitable for beginners in the first place, so I canít complain on that score, but the fact remains that for a program that should be conducive to repeat viewings, this is a poorly presented disc.

Technical failings aside, I guess the bottom line is that for the accomplished yoga fanatic, Rodney Yee may just give you the workout youíve been looking for. However, if you think you can just waltz on in the way I did and attempt to stick with Rodney the whole way through, you may be in line for some serious physiotherapy.


The disc contains one extra feature and that is an Interview with Rodney Yee (11:12) in which we get to hear our Rodney explain to us the virtues of a yoga lifestyle and how it has made him such a joy to be around.

The question remains when discussing the transfer of an exercise disc: 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.

Irrespective of that, Iím afraid that the picture quality on Energy and Strength is rather lacking. The first section, 'strength' was recorded in a studio and is of reasonable quality but the second, 'energy', was recorded outdoors on a beach in Hawaii and, despite the glorious location, does not look good at all. A series of red, pink and orange filters appear to have been used to give the impression of sunrise (or sunset Ė itís hard to tell) and as a result the picture has an unnatural, almost post-apocalyptic glow. If thatís not bad enough, excessive saturation has caused the colours to bleed making it all look a bit psychedelic. Yoga For Energy and Strength 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 sound isnít wonderful in the 'energy' section as it was shot outdoors, but Rodneyís voice still comes across loud and clear which is the most important thing. If you are attempting the full workout, I sincerely doubt that sound clarity will be anywhere near as important to you as finding some way of knitting your muscle tissue back together.

So, it is at this point that I take the opportunity to announce my retirement from the world of home exercise.

Please... no... donít try to stop me. Itís just better this way.

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  •   And I quote...
    "Aaaugh! CRAMP!"
    - Peter O'Connor
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-725
    • TV:
          Sony WEGA 80cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DA50ES
    • Speakers:
          Accusound ASC160
    • Centre Speaker:
          Accusound ASC160
    • Surrounds:
          Accusound ASC160
    • Subwoofer:
          Accusound SW150
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