by Kristin McGee Mill Creek Entertainment, 2006 Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Jan 23rd 2007
Power Yoga is a no-frills yoga DVD for people who are already quite athletic or are intermediate yoga practitioners. Kristin McGee is apparently known to viewers of MTV, although I confess I've never seen her there. She is a practiced and confident instructor, who speaks while she is doing the yoga practice, and she had a microphone box obviously strapped under her shirt on her back. The 50-minute practice is done in a studio on a blue yoga mat, which is on a piece of square wooden flooring, with an orange background. So the production values are quite basic. There are no DVD extras, and there's nothing sophisticated about the set up. The music is generic background that is hardly noticeable. Occasionally, the picture even goes slightly out of focus.
Yet McGee's practice is a good workout, and there are not many of these available at the intermediate level. She spends about the first half hour with various sun salutations and standing poses. She often returns, as one might expect, to the downward dog posture, preceded by plank, chataranga, and upward dog. The final part involves more balances and then moves down to the floor for some stretches for the legs and lower back, and she finishes with a very brief relaxation. Her instructions are helpful, although there is one point where she is doing a forward fold in a lunge position, so when following her, one's head is looking down, and she does not tell you to move up when you should, so you realize that she has moved back up and is on to the next posture when you are still in the previous posture. Another quibble is that she demonstrates the postures in mirror-image to the viewer, so when she says move your left leg forward, for example, she moves her right leg forward. It's possible to get used to this, but it can be confusing. For the most part, McGee will offer alternate postures for people who are less flexible, but there are a few points where I found myself so much less flexible than her that I wasn't even able to get close to what she was showing, and she didn't provide an easier alternative.
Despite the small deficiencies of this DVD, I found the workout quite satisfying. McGee has a pleasant manner, encouraging her viewers and showing enthusiasm. After doing this workout for a few times, I noticed that I had become stronger, so it seems well-designed. She does not say much about mind/body connections and she keeps her language straightforward. For people looking for a basic 50 minute intermediate practice, Power Yoga will work well.
Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Reviews. His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.