I’ve researched a lot of different workout programs. That’s what I do. Obsessively research. Everything. It’s a handy disorder for library work, but not much else. Last time I let you know that I’d narrowed it down to Yoga. Then I figured something out. There are eleventy-billion versions of Yoga.
The first time I experienced something like this was when I started learning about penguins. Thing Two has been crazy about those wacky birds since she was two years old. There are like 17 different species of penguin. Of penguin. I mean, seriously? Yes. They range in size from about a foot to four feet (the well known emperor penguin). I bet you didn’t think you’d get penguin facts in a yoga post. That’s just the kind of extra oomph I offer you in my blog.
Anyway, so I’ve checked out lots of yoga books and videos. And I’ve bought some too. Also yoga accessories. You can buy lots of yoga crap as it turns out. I’m all into that. If you’re going to go into something, go all the way I say. That’s why I paid money for a cushy yoga mat and two foam blocks. For my HEALTH people. There are tons of other products I can
waste my money on invest in if I choose. More on that in a later post.
First I have to tell you about the different kinds of Yoga. According to the women’s health site there’s Anusura, Ashtanga, Bikram, Hatha, Lyengar, Kundalini, Restorative, Power, Furby, Tatooine, Hokey Pokey, and more! I might have made the last three types up. Bikram is yoga that you do in a room turned up to 150 degrees. That way your body becomes like Plastic Man’s and you can do all sorts of poses. Also you can see all sorts of colors as you dehydrate out all your brain cells.
I’m thinking that’s not my type. I don’t like sweating. Power Yoga was also quickly eliminated. Power Yoga is basically the Western way of screwing up an Eastern tradition. Someone said, hey, let’s take the worst parts of Yoga, stretching people’s bodies to the limit, rip out all the relaxing, spiritual parts, add in a lot of aerobic crap and market it to Type A Americans. That’s why Jillian Michaels has a Yoga video. Jillian. She is not what I associate with inner peace. More like extreme horror.
Hatha seems to be the most common type, at least in my area. It’s fairly basic. There’s stretching and meditation, but no chanting and chakra stuff. That works for me. I also like Restorative yoga, which is great for stress relief. You lay on pillows and breathe. I’m all for laying on pillows and breathing. In fact, I rather consider myself an expert at that. I might open a studio soon.
I did learn about one other type of Yoga in detail. I got a book from the library on Kandalini Yoga. It was a nice, pleasant book with soft, relaxing colors. Sure she mentioned lining up your chakras and chanting om and stuff, but eh, no matter. It looked okay. So when I saw a video of this type of Yoga at the library, I thought why not?
Oh, my peeps, there were so, so, so, SO MANY reasons why not.
First off, I should have taken a clue from just looking at the cover of the video. It was called “Fat Free Yoga” which is a rather odd title. Are they saying no fat people should do this? Or that they have somehow removed the fat out of the yoga routine? Is this a diet Yoga video?
The girl on the cover looked like a recent graduate of a hippie concentration camp. As you can see in the picture, she sits in front of a purple swirling rainbow vortex of some sort. The cover mentions something about a Matrix menu. Trust me, the Matrix is not just in the video menu.
I took it home and popped it in the machine. The Things decided to help me review this video. Pretty soon they are going to run from the room as soon as I turn on the television. In the beginning, we zoom into a white room with a woman sitting on a shaggy, round pink bath rug type thing centered in the middle of flower petals. Normally you hear gentle, non-distracting music in the background, but here we’ve got some Indian tune. I actually like Indian music, usually, but somehow this theme makes me think of those old 60s videos with people smoking pot and yammering about the universe.
She says nothing in the video, but there is a disembodied voice that speaks to you, and it’s not at all creepy. It’s also, interestingly, a male voice, which gives you the vibe of some guy peeking in her window and reporting his observations. A guy who first smoked a little crack.
Our bony little Yogi is wearing dog eared ponytails that I normally don’t see on people over twelve, and a little spandex outfit that’s way too small for her. Maybe she borrowed the outfit and the ponytail holders from her little sister. She also made the mistake of tanning herself a Cheeto orange and not investing in a bra. Let’s just say it was clearly a little cool in the room.
She starts out cross legged, looking somewhat normal. This is the last time she does this. Soon she opens her mouth and starts chanting oma lama ding dong or something to that effect, punctuated by Lamaze style huffing and puffing. I half expected her to give birth to a pea sized baby. At one point, she began panting like a dog. The Things crowded in closer. “I’m scared, Mommy,” reported Thing Two.
But this was only the beginning. After the breathing, chanting stuff, she starts to shake her head back and forth. And not gently either, we’re talking whiplash inducing whipping of the head, back and forth, until you half expect the head to go flying off her neck. Soon you start hoping this happens. After the head shaking, she goes back to the huffy breathing and chanting. Then just when she’s calmed down, she hops up and starts swinging around some more. I sat, fascinated. I’d never seen anything so incredibly bizarre before.
It’s really indescribable, which is why I encourage you to check it out. I included a clip here from youtube, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the insanity. Suffice it to say, if that’s Kandalini Yoga, I think I’m sticking to the basics. More on my adventures in Yogaland later. Now I leave you with the spookiest Yoga chick on the planet. Enjoy.
Remember how earlier I mentioned that there were scary words in the titles of some exercise videos? There’s a reason for this. It’s because there are scary PEOPLE in these videos. And I’m going to show you one of them right now. First up, Jillian Michaels of Biggest Loser. She’s a real peach. Check out her pep talks here right after she gets through beating the crap out of a punching bag!
Inspiring quote from Jill: “I don’t care if you both die on this floor. You better die looking good.” Awww. You just want to cuddle her up like a teddy bear full of rusty metal spikes and nitroglycerin! Who wouldn’t want to work out with this . . . .lady?
Here’s a sample of one of her workouts. It’s called “Last Chance Workout”. You know, like last chance before she murders you. Sounds like fun. Check out how enthusiastic her
victims students are! Watch her threaten to jump through your television set like something from Poltergeist!
But wait, there’s more! I searched through several clips. I have to tell you – I’m not sure I could watch an entire Jillian workout video. Note I said “watch one”. I’m not even talking about attempting to DO one of these workouts. I read the Amazon reviews. I read stuff like “knee replacement surgery”. This does not surprise me.
Just the titles of her videos can strike fear into the hearts of man. Here’s just a few of them:
30 Day Shred
Ripped in 30
Shred it – with weights
Extreme Shed and Shred
Why does she want to shred things? Why??? I’d prefer the “non-shredding” variety, thanks. Even Yoga isn’t safe from Jillian. She has one called “Yoga Meltdown”. As in Chernobyl. I thought Yoga was relaxing, not nuclear.
One final video clip. This one’s from her “Kickbox Fastfix” and it makes me tired just watching it and wincing. Wincing burns .05 calories each time – I know because there’s a workout just for your face. One of my readers told me. Anyway, here goes kickboxing:
First off, you have to love how they jump without jump ropes. Why? Jump ropes are pretty cheap exercise equipment. Without them you look kinda stupid. Especially if you have the manic expression of that blond chick. Then we go into the jab, up, kick, jab, up, kick, fall down, cry (I added those last two, because I’m pretty sure that’s what I’d be doing at that point). She says to “visualize your target”. Who would that be? Did someone piss her off at Target?
I think maybe her class pissed her off, because by the end of the clip she has them flinging themselves up and down in some kind of psychotic full body situps, that then progress into donkey kicks. I think she’s just trying to see what she can get them to do. Whatever you do, do NOT look into her eyes.
Are there any other exercise gurus that scare the crap out of you? Won’t you tell me in the comments below?
Hey, team! Are you ready for some fitness? Are you? Bounce up and down! Again! Now stand on your head! And bounce, one, two, three – keep bouncing! That’s right, bounce on your head! You can do it! Don’t stop, or this giant Gila Monster will eat you! Yay, motivation!
Last week you guys gave me a great list of exercise videos to check out. There were scary words in the titles like “shred”, “burn”, “ripped”, “turbo fire”, and “Richard Simmons.” Freaked me out a little bit. I don’t want to own most of them. Keeping people like that Jillian girl from “Biggest Loser” around would keep me up at night. I could just see her staring at me from that box with that look on her face that says “I hate you. Now I’m going to kill you.”
So I figured I’d check them out of the library, or rent them, or something. And then I decided, meh, I’m tired. I’ll check out youtube. Turns out this is a great source for some real exercise gems, folks. So I figured we’d do a “Fat Blast from the Past” with some 80s exercise videos. First up is a 1987 clip from “Buns of Steel 2” (because the first one wasn’t steely bunned enough).
You have to love the exercise leader. Mullet, hippy beard, headband, spandex, and . . . electric blue legwarmers. I simply must have that fine specimen of manhood! Also, check out the girl in the back. They’ve got her up on some sort of platform, the better to see her pink spandex leotard and blue tights. Watch at about 2:47 on the tape where they all bow their heads in shame.
Next up! The Firm. No, not the Grisham novel that was made into a sucky movie filled with endless close-ups of Tom Cruise trying to act like he’s thinking. This one’s another 80s trip – 1988 to be exact. This clip starts up with a chick in a white leotard (more spandex!) looking confused in front of a serene picture of some hippy woman with flowers in her hair. But then we’re in familiar territory with multi-colored leotards and tights in all shades of hot pink, blue, purple, peach – like a human Easter basket. She starts out the routine with pelvic thrusts that would look inappropriate, but she’s so thin I don’t think she actually has a pelvis. She stays chipper through the entire ten minutes.
But if you really want upbeat, look no further than Richard Simmons! He is truly a
freak of nature inspiration. This clip of “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” begins with Richard just happening to show up on what looks like the set of Sesame Street, where some random people are just hangin’ out, playing with hula hoops. You know, the usual street stuff. He asks if they want to dance and they all hop up and down. This video differs from the others in that, for some reason, these people are not already in shape. I mean, wtf, why are they doing an exercise video then?
Richard himself resembles an undercooked, malnourished turkey, but you can’t beat him for enthusiasm. Check out his glittery tank top and short shorts. Then pray that they never bring back those short shorts on men. There are some fun dance moves, like on about 0.36, where you move two fingers back and forth over your face and splay your legs out like disco dorks.
Of course, no flashback would be complete without a Jane Fonda clip. Back in the 80s, Jane Fonda was the Queen of Exercise (Richard Simmons was the Princess). She still does exercise tapes today, but much, much slower and a with a lot less bouncing. This one’s her “New” workout from 1985 and features Jane, some other chick they keep focusing on (isn’t this Jane’s video?), and a girl wearing a visor, a purple crop top, yellow shorts, and a tan to literally die for – how long was she in the tanning bed? The best one, though, is our token guy in the back wearing a crop top and red spandex pants so tight I’m surprised he’s breathing. I admire a guy brave enough to bear his hairy midriff.
Well, that’s all for today, folks. Aren’t you tired from all that exercise? I know I got tired (and slightly nauseous) just watching them! You just can’t beat the classics. Stay tuned next time while I check out some more exciting and not at all terrifying exercise videos.