My husband’s first foray into yoga was through the P90X DVD set. If you’re not familiar with P90X, it’s a 90 day program that rotates through 13 exercise DVDs in a specific order. A typical week has weight training every other day with plyometrics (cardio), kempo (martial arts), yoga, and a rest day in between. The program is geared to people who are familiar with a gym setting for exercise and relatively new to yoga.
To keep my husband motivated to work out, I did parts of P90X with him. Nothing bonds a couple more than suffering together through Tony Horton’s hour-long plyo workout!
When we got to the YogaX DVD, I approached it with a critical eye.
YogaX is 90 minutes versus 60 minutes for all the other discs. I would describe the style as mostly vinyasa as the first half moved continuously from posture to posture. The second half focused more on building strength, balance, and flexibility by holding postures longer, and then closed with ab work.
Overall, I thought the “class” was a good workout. It gets your blood moving and works through quite a few different postures. The sun salutations and standing postures are nothing new, although there were extra chaturangas (ie. push-ups) thrown in for good measure. Tony’s instruction is clear enough that you don’t always need to stop and look at the TV to figure out what’s going on.
However, I found some of the postures needed a bit more care in the instruction to prevent injuries. For example, getting into shoulderstand, Tony starts in plow posture. Considering that most people doing P90X are in it for strength and muscle definition, they may not have the flexibility to fold their bodies in half upside-down and then press up into shoulderstand. Also, if you’ve never done shoulderstand before, you’ll probably be looking at the TV screen often. One of the big no-no’s in any inversion that puts weight on the neck/shoulder area is to turn your head side to side.
The closing “postures” called Yoga Belly 7 is nothing more than an ab workout with slower zen music. It felt out of place.
Does the DVD do a good job for beginners? Eh. It’s okay. It helps to shake off some of the stigma that yoga is ONLY gentle stretching. I think people who are attracted to P90X will find it surprisingly difficult, especially in the strength postures.
I think the biggest danger is that P90X appeals to a certain type of person who may push themselves further than they should. Instead of backing off some of the postures and following modifications, they may end up hurting themselves by twisting too far, bending too deep, or holding too long. For a beginner, having a solid foundation for structure makes a huge difference.
Will a yogi looking for a home practice enjoy this DVD? Probably not. At least not often. Tony’s word choice isn’t quite “yoga-speak”, so while his instructions may make sense to my husband, I had to do a double take on what he meant. And frankly, his side banter can get annoying when you want him to hush up and let you just breathe in the pose.