I confess! I know nothing about Yoga! In fact, when I was but a wee lad, I thought “Yoga” and “yogurt” were the same thing. However, as the years progressed and I became more aware of the world around me, I slowly started to listen for clues as to what this “Yoga” thing meant. I’d hear folks in small groups discussing the benefits of Yoga and that slow drip over the hard rock of my mind wore away the insolence of my youth.

Yoga is over 5,000 years old. Yoga serves as the glue for binding the mind, body and spirituality together as one. Pilates takes several of its exercises directly from the Yoga canon and that was a pleasant surprise since I know and enjoy Pilates.

The PBS Yoga shows of my youth came sprouting back to my mind as a modern wonderment. I decided to confront my ignorance and discover precisely what the practice of Yoga could mean in my life. I contacted a woman named Wai Lana and asked for her help. This review is the result of that connection. Born in Hong Kong, Wai Lana has been teaching Yoga for 15 years across the world. Wai Lana Yoga can also be seen on PBS stations across the country.

Review Lights
I will rate each Wai Lana Yoga Easy Workout video individually with our standard system of one to five Go Inside Magazine Review Lights. Five green GO lights are best while all red STOP lights are the worst. Nothing I say here should be taken as a guarantee of product or a promise of performance. Before starting any Yoga routine, please consult with your doctor first. A text tag will also be placed under the Review Lights so you’ll know the colors of the lights in case you choose to print out this review on a black and white printer.

I would like to have a booklet included with each video that would describe and demonstrate how to do each asana. I also wish the sub-titles of each asana would be kept on screen during the entire life of its performance. None of the Wai Lana Yoga videos are Closed Captioned. I find that unfortunate since the Deaf and non-native English speakers have no way to discerning Wai Lana’s excellent instruction.

Universal Comments
The locations, Yoga mat and Wai Lana costumes continually change from asana to asana. Those “set changes” are quite welcome because it helps keep the material fresh upon the 25th viewing of the tape. I wish she would wear a bodysuit so I could always see the angle of her elbows and knees. Her baggy jumpsuits hide those clues from view.

Easy Beginner’s Workout
40 Minutes of Instruction
1997
$19.95
This video lives as an introduction to Wai Lana and her Yoga technique and it focuses on stretching. I have a bit of Pilates experience and I found a couple of the asanas to be difficult to perform perfectly (even though they serve as the inspiration for less challenging Pilates exercises!).

It’s also interesting to note that several of the asanas obviously inspired Joseph Pilates. The modified Pilates Teaser is actually a “Half Arrow” Yoga asana. You’ll recognize Rocking, the Single Leg Stretch and the Twist as well. Don’t sweat it that some of the asanas may be difficult for you.

On the second viewing of this tape, I was able to perform the asana where you shape your body into a one-legged standing “S” posture while you play an imaginary flute. The first time through, I could not stay balanced on a foot for more than three seconds. Upon the subsequent viewing, I finally understood I could not keep a rigid body. If you have a rigid body, any movement will send you toppling to the Airex mat! Keep your body pliable and flexible and if you begin to wobble, the wobble will be absorbed by your knees and hops and torso. Learning how to control my own rigid inertia by becoming inert myself was a revelation and and a pleasure.

Wai Lana knows you might have difficulty during the posturing of some asanas and she offers several modifications to the “perfect position” to help bring you along at a pace that does not hurt. When Wai Lana says, “This asana will release abdominal gas,” believe her! You’re likely in for a round of tootin’, so clear the room or make sure you’re with someone who understands the end result of the asana coming out of your end. Wai Lana believes this tape will:

Loosen stiff joints
Strengthen your abdominals
Firm your buttocks
Calm and tone your nerves

(four GREEN, one RED)

Easy Relaxation Workout
38 Minutes of Instruction
1997
$19.95
The Easy Relaxation workout focuses on bringing peace and tranquility to your body. Wai Lana tunes you in to the “burn” in your body after some exercises as proof that your body is responding to the asanas. I’m amazed that, in spite of all my heavy-duty weightlifting, Pilates workouts and aerobics exercising, I am unable to reliably and cleanly balance my body on one leg!

I know that kind of balancing trick takes extreme body control and every muscle in your body must work as one by not flexing as one in order to maintain balance. I’m grateful that Yoga will allow me to add the harmony of balance to my spirit, spine and sinew.

The Half Camel is a killer, but it provides a good kind of dying: You know your body is being manipulated and changed for your better goodness. The asanas in this tape are generally easy on the body and, once again, the Pilates Swimming, Bicycle, Roll Over, Rolling Like a Ball, the Saw and Side Leg Lifts are all revealed to be based on ancient Yoga asanas you’ll find in this video.

I confess to being wholly confused by the last five minutes of the video where Wai Lana instructs us to concentrate on sound. She then lip-synchs a song. Are we supposed to have our eyes closed and concentrate on her sound? Join in? Should we find our own sound? Stop the tape? I didn’t like feeling lost at the end of the workout when it was obvious I was supposed to be finding a higher level of being via sound. Here are the video’s benefits:

Learn to let go of stress
Massage your entire spine
Increase flexibility in your elbow and shoulder joints
Strengthen your thighs, abdominals and lower back

(three GREEN, two RED)

Easy Toning Workout
34 Minutes of Instruction
1997
$19.95
The Easy Toning workout starts off with seven minutes of breathing and warm up. You really feel cleansed to the core as Wai Lana prepares you for the asanas to come.

Once again, if you’re familiar with Pilates, several of the asanas herein will remind you of the genesis of the Pilates program. You’ll recognize variations on the Double Leg Kick, Shoulder Bridge, Corkscrew, Single Leg Circles, Leg Pull, Cat Stretch and Shell Stretch.

The mountains and water are breathtaking and really help you get into the spirit of the asanas. In order to complete all the postures on this tape, you’ll need a belt (for a hamstring stretch and lower back stretch) as well as a folded towel (to comfort your forehead while you are flat on your stomach).

All postures here flow into one another simply and peacefully. I was only humiliated once during this tape and, again, the culprit was a balance posture. Standing straight, bringing one knee to my chest and holding it there with fingers laced together around my raised knee is just not easy. I wobble and wibble but, I assure myself that, with time, I will be able to hold the posture as rock strong as Wai Lana if I don’t give in to my warbling despair. Videotape benefits:

Tone your thighs and buttock muscles
Increase the flexibility of your spine
Strengthen your lower back
Stretch your hamstrings

(four GREEN, one RED)

Yoga Music of the Heart CD
61 Minutes of Music
1998
$15.95
This CD soundtrack by Wai Lana and Siddha is the music you’ve heard in the background on each of the tapes in this series. The music will help you relax, meditate and find inspiration. Each track is earthly and ethereal and playing it during your Yoga asanas without the videotape will make that experience comforting. Favorite songs of mine include: Call of the Plains, Seaside and Crystal Stream.

(all GREEN)

Conclusion
You can learn about life from Wai Lana if you will only open your heart and let her bend your body to her will. You can visit Wai Lana online for more information and you can order all of the products reviewed herein. You might even be able to get a good discount if you purchase more than one product at a time.

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