Friday, October 2, 2009

Element: Yoga for Weight Loss

THE WORKOUT: Element: Yoga for Weight Loss


WHO CAN DO THIS: You’ll need yoga experience—at least an advanced beginner—and be prepared to work.

THE BREAKDOWN: If you need to lose weight, Los Angeles yogi Ashley Turner’s taut, flexible body will either inspire or discourage you--that’s up to you. Turner has taught “celebrities, famed musicians and hundreds of yoga students,” and she has a master’s in counseling psychology. She demonstrates in a pretty garden setting with a voiceover that includes affirmations about self acceptance, internal beauty and intentions. (Is it just me or does everyone try to inhale and exhale exactly with the voiceover instructions? That doesn’t work—the voiceover usually has a lot to say while I’m holding my breath and I end up getting dizzy. I really must stop trying to be teacher’s pet.)

The 45-minute(ish) workout flows at a steady, calorie-burning pace, starting with sun salutations with some pushups and chairs tossed in. Poses are focused more on strengthening than stretching, with, for example, a long, active series of warriors. (My arms begged for mercy during this—it’s a long time spent holding them up. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Some table poses, boats, legs scissors, plies, more pushups … you get the idea. There’s nothing fancy or tricky—it’s all pretty basic stuff—but there’s no pampering. You wanna lose weight? You gotta work for it.

The big motivational speech comes during savasana, although I found Turner's chattery voice something less than soothing.

THE SWEAT FACTOR: I was, literally, dripping. But it was a humid day in Texas.

BUT IS IT FUN? More fun than lifting weights but not as much fun as chocolate cake. (Oops, that's not the right attitude, is it?)

WHEN IT'S OVER: I was pleased with myself and particularly felt my quadriceps and arms.

GEAR AND APPAREL: A mat and blocks, if you’re a block-user. Their use is suggested but not demonstrated.

FINAL WORD: Thumbs up. It will enter my rotation.

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