Monday, April 14, 2008

Livingroom Yoga--Strengthen & Lengthen

THE WORKOUT: Livingroom Yoga ($12.99 at Amazon)


WHO CAN DO THIS: If you know your way around a yoga mat, you’ll enjoy this easygoing but effective intermediate workout.

THE BREAKDOWN: Eva Barash has a pixie haircut, an appealing naturalness in front of the camera and lots of useful things to say. Her goal, she says in an interview segment, was to create a DVD workout for the “everyday person” so they can “feel like they had me to practice with in their living room.”

That’s exactly what it feels like.

Filmed on an airy living room set, the 50-minute workout is simple and sensible. It sticks with the familiar: triangles, up and down dogs, warriors and sun salutations with no fancy stuff.

Barash has a talent for explaining the fine points of a pose, negotiating perfectly the line between pragmatic and airy-fairy. “Look down the length of your own glorious right arm,” she instructs during warrior pose.

The DVD is packed with other useful bits as well. The 30-minute “Library” segment is a mini-workshop. Barash has two students demonstrate while she provides slow, careful breakdowns of mountain, downward-facing dog, full wheel, several vinyasas--even savasana.

In “Getting the Most Out of Your Living Room,” Barash wears jeans and a T-shirt and kicks off her heels for 12 minutes of no-fuss stretches using her couch and coffee table.

Finally, in a six-minute interview, Barash articulates, with that same easy charm, the good feelings yoga can elicit.

THE SWEAT FACTOR: You should work up a healthy glow during the sun salutations and series of warrior, triangle and balance poses.

THE ENERGY LEVEL: Barash is chipper, but her energy is calm and focused.

BUT IS IT FUN?: It is.

GEAR: A mat and a few feet of space surrounding it. Barash uses blocks and a blanket, but they’re not absolutely necessary.

WHEN IT’S OVER: You’ll have that sweet yoga glow. And you’ll probably be glad Barash has several more DVDs in the works.

FINAL WORD: I do this one frequently.

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