The obstacle is the path.
Gah, do you remember when Cass was this small? Yeah, me neither.
I’ve been an avid student of the school of Rodney Yee when it comes to yoga DVDs for years now, having been given the AM/PM editions back in the days of VHS (I know, right? So quaint). I moved through the beginners and flexibility and power and ultimate yogas with Rodney— I’m talking over years, friends, lots of stopping and restarting from the beginning.
I’ve also recently started with Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred, so when I started thinking I’d like to kick the whole yoga thing up a notch, I ordered her Yoga Meltdown. But while I wanted something more demanding than Rodney’s DVDs, which are like a slow, lengthening dance, Jillian is too harsh on my zen. I wasn’t getting that contemplative aspect that I love, it was just a workout based on yoga moves, not yoga movement that provided a workout. There’s a difference.
When the student is ready, the master appears.
Today, Danielle Diamond’s Xen Strength Yoga is released, and it’s the perfect blend of flexibility, stretch, demand and strength, with a little calorie-busting on the side. I got to try it out early because I’m lucky like that (see disclosure), and it was exactly what I wanted at this stage. And because it is a workout, I feel like I can trade it off with the Shred without being a slacker (as opposed to having to do two workouts, which I just don’t have time for these days).
The DVD has 3 segments that can done separately for a quick workout or all-together (72 minutes) to kick some serious butt:
- A rigorous warm up prepares you for a blasting upper-body and core strength training session
- Intense core moves deliver balance training, functional fitness, and a slimming, detox, and twist routine.
- The bottom line routine melts inches off your glutes, lifts your butt and lengthens and tones your legs, ending with a restorative and much needed cool down to slow down your heart rate and calm your mind.
I did the whole thing but I took it easy for the last third.
And then I just laid on the floor for a while.
Visually, it’s very very minimalist, which this punk rock girl (in my own mind) is totally in love with. Danielle is very sweet and funny and soothing in a way that Jillian failed at (sorry Jillian! I still love you), pushing you in a “you can do this” sort of way that is not rah-rah cheerleading.
The rah-rah is this punk rock girl’s most hated aspects of most fitness classes. There, I said it.
This is not a for-absolute-beginners workout; you’ll need to know your basic poses and how to execute them correctly. (HOT TIP: because I viewed this as a download on my laptop and not on my TV, I was in a different part of the room than usual, and was able to see my shadow on the wall. EXCELLENT WAY to check the angles on your framing without the benefit of mirrors or an instructor.)
But, like the Shred, you can do this without weights or with 2lb weights to begin and then work your way up to heavier weights as you progress over time, meaning you’ll see long-term value in just one program.
The DVD also comes with a 12- page pose guide to take on the go, an intro to the Zone Diet from Dr. Barry Sears and a sample menu to get you started, and HOLY HELL 7 bonuses ONLY AVAILABLE TODAY, December 14th.
You’ll be wanting to skip on over to xenstrength.com to check out a quick video and you’ll see why I like her so much. And then you should buy her DVD for yourself because you know I wouldn’t lie to you about getting my ass kicked by such a pretty lady.
And then you should leave me a comment telling me about your relationship with yoga. Do you go to classes? Do internet videos? Are you a Rodney Yee fan? Or have you always just meant to and never got around to it? (You should. It’s so good for you, especially if you’re a hunched-over-on-your-laptop-all-day person like myself.)
On Monday I’m gonna choose a comment at random using random.org, and one lucky lucky reader is gonna get get a copy of Danielle Diamond’s Xen Strength Yoga. YOU’RE not gonna need it, because you bought one on my say-so, so if you win you can give it to someone you like a whole lot.
Disclosure: I am the Community Manager for FitFluential and Danielle Diamond is one of our ambassadors. She provided me with a download of her DVD to try out and review; however, this relationship did not have any effect on how sweaty and spent I was at the end of the hour. All opinions are my own.