Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Somewhere after attempting Levels 1-3 of Jillian Michaels' Ripped in 30, I injured my shoulder (I'm looking at you, shoddy Week 3 warm-up). So I spent 1.5 months going on fast walks in the park. As I eased myself back into workout DVDs, I started with yoga as it's pretty low impact. Although, I still had to be careful with my shoulder as frequent arm movements can be questionable. Considering Jillian Michaels' Yoga Meltdown Level 1 warm-up was just flapping your arms, I knew I would have to be cautious.
Now, before you start complaining that you never get a good workout from yoga, might I recommend looking into 'power yoga'? During my undergraduate years I de-stressed with two years of Baron Baptiste Power Yoga, which is basically the most American-ized version of yoga out there. You know it's different if K. Pattabhi Jois is calling it "ignorant bodybuilding". If you're one of those people who dislikes yoga because of its spiritual side, or dislikes the meditation portions, and wants a good workout this is one possible route to go. I really like my Baron Baptiste Live!: Soul of Strength DVD, as it is basically just like the classes I took seven years ago but you can also find local studios that offer power yoga if that's more your speed.
Aaaaanyways. Jillian Michaels' Yoga Meltdown is even more like "ignorant body building" than power yoga. Where power yoga starts with a series of fast moving chaturanga sequences (i.e., low impact burpees with push ups), and then follows it up with holding lots of painful poses (triangle poses, twisted chair pose, three-legged downward dog, crescent lunge twists, etc), Jillian Michaels has you pop in and out of these poses for 30 seconds for a cardio workout, and only then do you hold the pose for 15 seconds. This is an interesting approach, considering her 30 Day Shred Level 1 did dynamic poses as they are the easiest, then moved to static poses for added difficulty, and finally to plyometrics (i.e., jump training) as the most challenging. She applies dynamic poses in her Yoga Meltdown program for cardio, when she doesn't have to. She could just insert more chatarungas, but maybe then her plan wouldn't be uniquely different from power yoga?
I found I could just hold the poses instead of doing the dynamic versions, for more of a yoga experience, but then I was lacking in cardio. You can't win. It's also a bit bizarre to have an explicit warm-up and cool down phase, as the natural progression of the yoga session should have these built in implicitly. And then at the very end, I like to add 10 minutes in reclined bound angle pose for some extra good hip stretching that Jillian omits.
Overall, I think the main difference between real yoga and Jillian Michaels' "yoga" is the goals of the practice. Certified yoga instructors are more concerned with the process of yoga. The goal of their yoga is the practice. The goal of Jillian Michaels' yoga is to get you to lose 5 pounds a week, as stated on the DVD cover. While Jillian Michaels makes head nods to the practice, it's clear that it's not really her main purpose. LEAN MUSCLE MASS is her purpose, which hearkens directly back to Jois' criticism of "ignorant body building."
JM Yoga Meltdown - Level 1 Review
This first level is just plain weird. I don't like it much at all. From the goofy upward salute in mountain pose warm-up (Urdhva Hastasana), to the popping in and out of warrior II pose, it just rubbed me the wrong way. I will probably replace Level 1 with Level 2 anytime a Jillian Michaels mash up calls for it. That being said, I did get a mild workout from this level, with DOMS lasting a day. Maybe Level 1 of Yoga Meltdown works for someone else.
JM Yoga Meltdown - Level 2 Review
I hated Level 2 slightly less as not having a dynamic warrior pose went a long way with me. The warm-up wasn't quite as stupid, and I was already somewhat accustomed to Jillian's practice of building cardio into her "yoga". That, and her dynamic goddess squat had me sore for two days. On the second morning, I nearly fell over when I first tried to stand up on it cold. So Level 2 provides a better workout than Level 1, and is slightly less irritating as well. Quite the glowing review ;)