Tonight I tried out Yoga Download, a great site that lets you select a yoga class to stream online from their site or download to your computer. I decided to try Power Vinyasa Flow #1 by Dawnelle, which was listed as Advanced Intermediate level, vigorous, with a rating of 5.00 stars based on 8 reviews.
The site interface is very clean and the ordering process was very easy. Somehow, though, I missed the fact that I had just paid to stream an audio only program. Doh! I assumed everything on the site was video. Well, to tell the truth, I’d prefer to have audio only. It’s too difficult to crane my head around to look at the poses. A PDF diagram of the poses comes along with the purchase, so you can review them before beginning.
I did the class here in my home yoga/music studio, which is just barely big enough for one person to practice. I lit some candles, fired up my studio speakers, and got down to business. Danielle’s instruction was very thorough, and I love some of the new descriptors I learn from other teachers, such as when she says “twist…and rinse”. Clever. The sound quality was excellent and the music was decent…not quite as “cheesy new age” as a lot of yoga soundtracks, but it could have been a little more interesting.
The program was very vigorous indeed. Even though the instructor has a B.S. in Exercise Physiology, I was surprised as I felt a few of the transitions were a bit too awkward, like transitioning out of revolved triangle into chaturanga. I personally don’t like to make my students literally spin the body around so dramatically. And there is not sufficient time to adjust your nervous system or balance…the poses jump so quickly from one to the other. It’s difficult to gain control or enjoy that feedback your body gives you when you take a moment to experience a pose. In general, I tend to like a bit more focus on pranayama and meditation, and this is the kind of westernized yoga that focuses completely on the physical asana…like a gym exercise routine. Really just my opinion, I guess. But why call it “yoga” at all if it’s just bang bang bang “do this, now this”? I can see myself at age 25, coming back week after week and probably mastering more of the class through simple repetition, I suppose.
I did enjoy the challenge of going from eagle pose straight back into warrior 3. Definitely inspired me to work on that move some more and really get my legs stronger! I was plenty wobbly trying it, so I’ll have to gain good control of it before teaching it. Also enjoyable was the challenge of stringing together a very vigorous sun salutation of moves, with only 1 inhale or exhale allowed on each move. Going from warrior 2 to chaturanga all the way to the floor in one long exhale….that is hard!
I had to modify what I have to guess was the pinnacle pose: tripod headstand. Headstand is something that I NEVER think should be sequenced into such a rapid-pace class. The upper vertebrae of the neck are so delicate, so one should be very careful when entering headstand to take my time and make sure my forearms bear the weight of the pose. You do NOT want to compress the neck and hurt the upper vertebrae by putting weight into the head.
I think it’s much easier to have control over the distribution of weight by interlacing the fingers around the back of the head and bearing most of the weight of headstand in the forearms and elbows. I’m sure Danielle probably knows what she’s doing, but in group classes I just don’t see how any teacher can keep a keen enough eye on students entering into this pose, especially at such a fast pace. I would definitely opt to take a safer route to headstand.
While I appreciate the intensity of a “workout” like this, I often question the safety. I think people should gradually and carefully graduate up to a class like this. I’m not sure all studios and teachers make good judgments about students who should be in the class? Hopefully, it is clearly encouraged to opt out of a pose if you’re not ready. Sadly, I would probably be the student they’d kick out of class! lol.
My final thoughts: would be nice if, once you paid for a “one time” class (that means, it’s only available as a stream from their site for one day), would be nice to be able to upgrade it to a full download. I decided I might like to download this class, but I feel I should only pay $4.50 rather than the full $6 to download. I think the initial $1.50 I paid towards the “one time” class should count towards buying it. I think that would give more incentive to end users on the site.