In my review of Wai Lana’s Easy Yoga Workout, I shared with you my experiences as an avid exerciser who, it turns out, has little to no flexibility in the back and hamstrings. The Hello Fitness series of videos improves upon the Easy series by inspiring new heights of emotion and accomplishment.

Yoga has been on the earth for more than 5,000 years. Yoga is not a religion. Yoga is a way of unifying your body with the spirit around you through movement and meditation. Wai Lana helps you realize yourself by slowing and methodically taking you through each asana (Yoga posture) for maximum benefit. Born in Hong Kong, Wai Lana has been spreading the beauty of Yoga throughout the world for over 15 years. You may have seen one of her 200 episodes of Wai Lana Yoga on your local PBS television station.

Review Lights
I will rate each Wai Lana Yoga Hello Fitness 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. The results and comments I share along the way should not be taken as a guarantee of product or a promise of performance. Before starting any new exercise regimen, consult with your doctor first to review your potential for working with any Yoga program. I’ll also place a text tag 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.

None of the Wai Lana Yoga videos are Closed Captioned. That’s too bad because non-native English speakers and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing require the Closed Captions to better learn and understand what is being demonstrated. Since many of the asanas flow by quickly, I would like to see the titles held on the screen longer. I’d also enjoy a hardcopy presentation to help me memorize the workout beyond the life of the videotape.

Universal Comments
In addition to her lovely visage and soothing voice, you’ll be impressed by Wai Lana’s on-location exercises. The water and wind and rocks serve as the perfect harmony balance to her workout. This videotapes in the series are quickly paced and while the titles of the asanas (yoga postures) are hard to view in the upper left corner of the screen, you can still try to memorize each asana by the flower type and color jumpsuit Wai Lana uses because she changes each for each asana!

The costume changes also serve another purpose: You won’t get bored watching the video again and again because each time you view the tape, you’ll discover something else about Wai Lana’s outfit you missed before. I do not like the long pants on her outfits because it makes it impossible to see the position of her knees and legs during the workout. That sort of intimate positioning revelation is paramount when you’re learning. Telling is not enough. Seeing is to know.

Hello Fitness Goodbye Inertia
35 Minutes of Instruction
The goodbye Inertia workout begins with a period of warming stretches after Wai Lana informs you that Yoga is competitive and non-competitive. Yoga is non-competitive in that you must not compare yourself to others — remember, she warns, that monkeys are more flexible than the best yoga practitioner but a monkey can achieve no higher consciousness. You compete only with yourself in order to overcome mental obstacles.

Wai Lana also tells you the days you don’t want to do Yoga are the days you need to do Yoga.

Each asana’s benefit is explained thoroughly. You will need a scarf or a belt for one exercise. You will also need a stack of four cushions to complete another exercise. For those into Pilates, you’ll recognize the origin of the Spine Stretch Forward, Rollover and Front Leg Pull exercises.

I still don’t understand what Wai Lana is talking about when she mentions the “meditation sound” but I do close my eyes, listen to her music and try to bring my body into a zero state for a few minutes. I have no idea if I’m accomplishing what she wishes, but I do feel cleaner upon completion. This tape is comprehensive and enjoyable and time speeds along as you create each asana. Benefits of the tape include:

Waking up your spine with spinal twists — and that means energy
Toning kidney, liver and pancreas
Slimming waistline
Toning sciatic nerve and adrenal glands
Improving health of reproductive organs

(four GREEN, one RED)

Hello Fitness Invigorating
36 Minutes of Instruction
The Invigorating workout is the most challenging of all the tapes I reviewed. Wai Lana must be aware of this potential for frustration because she starts the tape off with a blunt confession of her own: The Double Leg Sideways Lift is not her favorite asana. She prefers the Bridge asanas because they are easier

Wai Lana challenges you to stop the tape on an asana that is difficult and practice it until you get it right. Then she goes on to encourage you to re-do the difficult asanas after you’ve completed the entire workout session! She provides excellent and insightful advice and I appreciate her honesty that some of the asanas are difficult for her as well, especially since I am the opposite of Wai Lana!

I don’t like the Bridge exercises because my back is maddeningly stiff, and the Double Leg Sideways Lift has been simple for me ever since I discovered it in a Pilates session. I vow to get my back more limber so I can successfully do all the asanas. I also realize it may take me many months to achieve that end and I am comfortable knowing Yoga is an involved process and not an instant pleasure.

The tape starts off with a large BANG! as you are led into the full Arrow asana. You will be challenged to make that asana look and feel good on your body and the effort was actually a delight for me. Then BOOM! you’re into the next asana and you wonder when you’ll be able to rest a bit.

You don’t.

This is the Invigorating workout and Wai Lana keeps you involved, focused and challenged. The Reverse Arrow Wiggle is a lot of fun and it is now a favorite of mine. I found the HIPS OPENING asana where you lie on your back, bend your knee to your chest and then bring the same knee into your armpit to touch the floor beside you laughably hard! I could barely bring my knee to my chest, let alone then slide it down my side to the floor! Bwa-ha!

I confess that asana will serve as great inspiration to me and I’ll know I’m doing well in my Yoga asana progression when I can successfully do the HIPS OPENING with each leg. The Lion is another asana that is new and fun. You get to growl, roll your eyes back into your head like a electric shock therapy patient and stick out your tongue!

When Wai Lana told me to “focus on your third eye” I was a bit confused. I guessed she meant to focus somewhere between my two eyes around my forehead or something, but guessing is never good. Precision counts in position and direction.

The Camel is also a challenging asana for me, though not as challenging as HIPS OPENING! This video is spectacular in every form and I cannot recommend it highly enough for a good, invigorating, challenge. Wai Lana created this video to:

Oxygenate your entire body
Learn to balance while strengthening your abdominals
Stretch and tone hips and groin
Open your chest and increase your lung capacity
Soothe and tone your central nervous system

(all GREEN)

Hello Fitness Wake Up Body
36 Minutes of Instruction
The Wake Up Body workout begins with Wai Lana discussing food. Food, she reasons, is a great excuse for not exercising. Yoga demands you exercise on a stomach that has been without food for 3-4 hours.

You can imagine how hard it can be to find a quiet time to practice when your stomach is empty. I do Yoga in the morning before I eat. A morning workout helps energize my day and build my appetite. Wai Lana says a healthy appetite is a good sign of overall fitness, but eating when you are not hungry can lead to an unhealthy result. Wai Lana urges you to skip a meal once-in-a-while if it means you can slip in a Yoga session you otherwise would exercise from your schedule.

This tape is quite enjoyable. The scissors into a rollover (for you Pilates folks out there) is fun and challenging. The Boat asana (a modified Pilates teaser) in this session is a delight to perform. You’ll need a wall for one of the asanas, so be sure your sticky Yoga mat is near a sturdy vertical surface.

The Imagining Chair asana is harder than it looks and I was happy we only had to do that one once. The Back Bends are terribly difficult for me to do perfectly and the progressions Wai Lana teaches will have to wait a few months until I can loosen up my spine a bit more.

The workout ends with eight minutes of Wai Lana dancing. That conclusion to the video series was fun and a welcome change of pace. I can tell you right now that eight minutes of continuous movement will get a good sweat poring from your pores! The video can help you:

Increase flexibility and strength of all major muscle groups
Improve digestion/strengthen your abdomen
Stimulate and massage spine
Gently tone your heart

(four GREEN, one RED)

Yoga Sound CD
1:05:39 Minutes of Music
This music CD by Wai Lana and Siddha is the soundtrack for this videotape series. The sounds will jingle your spine and send your mind a tingle! Close your eyes, concentrate on your inner core and let this CD wash over you. You will feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Awakening, Swan Dance and Mirror of the Mind are my favorite musical experiences. I enjoy practicing my difficult asanas with Wai Lana’s spirit encouraging me on in throaty song.

(all GREEN)

Wai Lana does an outstanding job of bringing you into her world of Yoga. You can go to her online at Wai Lana to get more information and purchase her products.

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