Monday, September 8, 2008

Stacy McCarthy's Yoga Body Lean & Defined Total Body Workout

THE WORKOUT: Stacy McCarthy’s Yoga Body Lean & Defined Total Body Workout ($12.99 at Amazon).


WHO CAN DO THIS: A beginner with background in the basics should have no problem with most of this workout.


There's something oddly muddled about this workout, which doesn’t present enough explanation for a rank beginner nor enough challenge for anyone beyond beginner—until you get to the bonus flow segment, which is full of challenge but not particularly fun.

The warmup has some nice stretches. The chapter of standing postures is least engaging, with a too-quick and too-brief triangle series and some tree poses. Seated postures are OK, but McCartney rarely permits enough time for those five full breaths she prescribes in poses. Or at least for my five full breaths—maybe I’m a particularly slow breather. She probably should have demonstrated with the strap, as well, if she’s aiming for beginners.

The “fire up flow” yoga sequence is tagged onto the end of the nonprogrammable DVD, which means if you want to include it within the workout you have to stop, return to the main menu, select that chapter, do it, go back to the main menu and continue the workout. Silly.

While the main body of the workout is beginner-friendly, this flow has a couple of particularly challenging pose—such as a down-dog done with one arm bent, one arm straight, and a leg in the air. Yikes, where did this come from? I thought we were just having fun here.

Stacy McCarthy is pleasant enough as a pro, though a little on the bland side. Which pretty much describes the whole workout.
Production is sloppy, too.
Early production glitches have been repaired, but although the set, a gigantic studio, is attractive and the guitar music is nice, the workout just didn't engage me. you can hear voices in the background in some spots, the introduction to the savasana is repeated and if you happen to peek at the screen during savasana, you’ll see Stacy sitting up instead of lying down. Huh? I was initially confused that Stacy was sitting instead of lying down during savasana, but she tells me, in response to this review, that this is not uncommon for teachers while students are lying like loxes o their mats. OK. My teachers, come to think of it, are usually walking around during that time.

THE SWEAT FACTOR: Not so much.

BUT IS IT FUN? Not so much.

WHEN IT'S OVER: Depends on your fitness level. Beginners might feel a little something. I felt very little until I did the flow sequence and even then, it was too quick for much kick.

GEAR AND APPAREL: Yoga mat and, if you like, a block and strap.

FINAL WORD: I still prefer Livingroom Yoga.

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