by Eoin Finn Vancouveryoga.com, 2004 Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Sep 4th 2007
Power Yoga for Happiness has five versions of a yoga workout. They all contain the same core, but they vary in length. The first DVD has 3 of them, the Quickie (32 minutes), the Daily Dose of Bliss (42 minutes), and Magically Hips (58 minutes). The second DVD has 2 more: Strong, Free and Happy (53 minutes) and the full routine, Total Happiness (80 minutes). Eoin Finn guides 6 people in a park, and gives instructions in a voice-over. The camera work is nicely done, showing the individuals from many angles, including directly above -- presumably they had use of a camera crane. The editing is smooth, with images cuts going from one angle to another unobtrusively. Careful scrutiny suggests that the whole workout was filmed over an extended period of time and many at different places in the park, but the workouts are edited together well so that you do not notice these transitions. There's pleasant music in the background which one hardly notices after viewing the DVDs a few times.
Finn's voice-over style is distinctive: his voice is warm, and he has a funny turn of phrase. He often emphasizes that stretching positions should feel good: he says they should be "sugar sweet," tells you to "taste the honey in your hip," informs you that is should be "straight off the good-o-meter," or should feel like "ice cream is being licked off your body." While Finn may verge on hokey at occasionally moments, he manages to be enthusiastic without being overly earnest. His instructions are clear, and the workouts are nicely structured. His focus on the hips is especially welcome, and a few sessions will really make a difference. One complaint though: he spends more time on one side than the other in the hips section: he spends 1 minute 35 seconds on one side, and then just 55 seconds on the other. So you have to either pause the DVD or else find another way to balance out the time here. Some may find various postures very challenging: I know that I found some of the hip postures difficult -- Standing Pigeon took many times before I could even do the simplest version. It's an unusual posture that I haven't seen used elsewhere, but it works well. At other places, the advanced postures that Finn demonstrates will be far beyond the abilities of most people. However, they give you something to work towards. The different participants have different levels of flexibility and strength, so we see variations of positions, which is very helpful.
The style of Power Yoga for Happiness is quite different from many other yoga DVDs: it is more relaxed, and fun. It provides a great workout, and helps you also focus inwardly on quieting one's mind. Having reviewed over 50 yoga DVDs in the last 2 years, I can confidently say that this is easily one of my favorites. While it may not have the same high production values or the programming flexibility of Shiva Rea's Yoga Shakti, it is an easy DVD to use with a minimum of fuss. Strongly recommended.
Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Philosophy 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.