Tag Archives: Richard Simmons

Yoga Ka-Ching!

When I first starting dipping into Yoga, I had no idea how freaking deep the yoga ocean was, and by “deep” I’m not talking philosophical, I’m talking THERE IS A LOT OF YOGA CRAP OUT THERE.  Books, DVDs, clothing, music, accessories, props, and on and on.  Just to give you an example, I did a few searches on Amazon.  Here are my results.

191,343,885 in All Departments

22, 794 clothing

25, 559 books

6, 201 DVDs

4, 005 music

Yeah, I'm not sure how Kindle and Zombieland relate either, but most of them are yoga

Yeah, I’m not sure how Kindle and Zombieland relate either, but most of them are yoga

Holy Batcrap, Batman!  Even taking into consideration that sometimes Amazon thinks an e-reader is related to yoga, and some possible duplications, that’s a lot of stuff for a discipline that is supposed to simplify your life!  Also, I find it highly amusing to note that there is more clothing than anything else.  Because screw the books and DVDs if you don’t look good while doing Yoga, am I right?

I actually bought some workout clothes back when I was trying various kinds of workouts.  Sure I could workout in old sweats, but I like the way some of the clothes hold in areas of your body that otherwise do not stay where you want them to stay.  It’s important to have, say, your boobs compressed if you’re a female (and possibly if you’re a male, I’m not judging here) if you do anything physical.  Also, in yoga, you really need something that fits fairly well on top unless you want it falling in your face when you are invariably told to turn upside down.  Yoga likes people upside down.

Sometimes regular T-shirts don't cut it during Yoga.

Sometimes regular T-shirts don’t cut it during Yoga.

I don’t just have clothes, of course.  Since I’m a librarian, I admit to having a book problem.  I love books.  I don’t have nearly the number of books my librarian mother has, but I do have some that I keep for various reasons.  Sometimes it’s because they are funny (I have almost everything Dave Barry has ever written) or because they’re pretty or because I swear I’m going to read it someday.  The last category is the biggest one.  Periodically, I weed out books, donate some, and sell a few to Hastings – at which point I immediately buy more books.  As I often say, working in a library for me is like an alcoholic working in a liquor store.  Not very healthy.  Especially since it’s free, so you can take out as many items as you want and Holy Batcrap in a Hat you want them all, of course.

Libraries are not the free entities they appear, though, my friend.  That is a ruse.  Suuuure, check out as much stuff as you want, they say.  Oh, but you will have to pay fines when you forget to return the books on time.  And you will forget to return the books on time.  Because you’ve lost them, haven’t you?  And now you have to buy the books from us.  Thank you for supporting your public library!

Since I am guilty of this very thing, I figured I’d just buy some books, especially if they were on the bargain rack (discount liquor, guys!)  So now I have several books.  But I haven’t even scratched the surface.  I’ve figured something out.  If I want to get published, I should write a book on yoga.  There are so many, probably no one would notice that I don’t have the faintest idea what I’m talking about.  And I know the title.  Yoga Twilight Sexy Times.  Bestseller for sure.

How to fine get in shape with sparkly vampires.

How to fine get in shape with sparkly vampires.

Then there are the DVDs.  Oh, so many.  I love comparing instructors.  The boring ones, the hyperactive insane ones (see the spooky Kundalini chic), the evil ones (yoga meltdown, noooo) the zen ones, the athletic ones, the scarily skinny ones, and the ones who stepped out of a Richard Simmons video.  Just looking at the beginner DVDs alone is astounding, especially what they consider to be “beginner.”  I’ve started with some only to stop and just watch the instructor continue to bounce from one position to the next, down dog, salute the sun, down dog, salute the sun, down dog, I’m not saluting the freaking sun again so stop it!

And finally, let’s not forget the props!  Sure, technically you could do yoga without this crap, but where’s the fun in that?  You’ll need a mat, of course, that’s a given.  Try to make it an actual yoga mat, and not a fruity sixties bathmat.  Then there’s yoga blocks (don’t tell me to use my yoga books as blocks those are for sitting on my bookshelf and looking pretty!), yoga blankets (really), yoga bolsters, yoga beads (like the rosary without the Catholic), yoga straps (a belt, but way cooler, cause it’s, um, yoga).  It’s outrageous what you can pay for some of this stuff, all so that you can relax already.  But I’ll admit, I bought some of it.  Bolsters are overpriced, but worth it, because they are really supportive of your body.  I have one that I was going to take a picture of, but I lost my camera. Anyway, my yoga teacher made it, it is beautiful, and I call it my preciousssss.  There is nothing wrong with me.

The lady has issues.

Alice has issues.

So anyway, with all this stuff, you can start to get slightly overwhelmed, yes?  I know I have!  But I like to throw myself into learning new things head first (I have gotten a few head injuries this way).  If you want some real details with pictures and links and stuff, go see this post at braith an’ lithe’s blog.  There’s some cool stuff here.  Okay, so it’s stuff from the U.K., but it gives you an idea of what’s out there.  Have fun, and remember – a yoga bolster can act as a floatation device if you are afraid of drowning in yoga metaphors.  Good luck and Namaste and all that.

Fat Blast From the Past: 1980s Exercise Videos

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.”

What if I don't want to be shredded?  Quit staring at me, Jillian!

What if I don’t want to be shredded? Quit staring at me, Jillian!

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.