I love yoga. I love the feeling I have when I roll out my mat and wonder what poses I will do. I love the way it forces me to quiet my mind and drop all the drama that unfolded during my day. I love the way I feel when I leave class and the lessons I take with me off the mat (and yes, I realize I sound like I drank the yoga Kool-Aid).
What I don't love about yoga? The crazy-high price tag.
My credit card's "annual summary" landed in my e-mail inbox a few months ago and I had a decidedly un-zen-like reaction when I saw how much I dropped on yoga classes over the course of a year. Let's just say when I realized it was more than what I spent on organic groceries, I felt the need to look into some alternatives.
And I came up with a real winner. Want to see which at-home yoga DVD helped me drop 10 pounds and tone up? Here's my story …
My starting point:
Weight: 148 lbs
Arms: 12 1/2"
More than just traditional yoga, Mandy Ingber's Yogalosophy is a hybrid that combines traditional yoga postures with toning exercises to deliver accelerated sculpting and to help strengthen and lengthen muscles. Mandy's workout includes increased repetitions so you feel that Jane Fonda "burn." Translation? You get results more quickly. Since patience is not my strong point, particularly when it comes to seeing weight loss results, I already like the sound of this program. Let the yoga-ing begin. Ohmmm …
Related: Can Kim Kardashian's Trainer Whip a Real Woman into Shape?
As I position myself on the ground in front of the television, I can't help but feel like I'm cheating in some way. Doing yoga in my living room and not at the yoga studio feels strange. But, I press on and press play.
The first thing I see is Mandy standing with the ocean behind her in a private backyard and I can't help but wonder, could it be Aniston's Malibu beach pad? Let me tell you, there are worse places to work out.
I follow Mandy's advice to begin with her express workout, which is 35 minutes long. (The cool part is I can either do it with Mandy's verbal cues or opt for music instead). She also offers a fully loaded challenge that has additional stretches and sun salutations, but I figure I should start slowly.
I'll tell ya one thing, Mandy is mellow. The way she laughs while asking me to do calf raises almost makes me forget that she's my instructor and not a friend.
Related: Create an At-home Gym for $0
"I have a great ass, I have a great ass …" I repeat Mandy's personal mantra aloud as I do my squats, one of 12 toners featured in the workout. As I repeat the words, I envision my future fit self playing on a Hawaiian beach, debuting my derrière in bikini bottoms without an ounce of self-consciousness.
I follow Mandy's cues as I drop into one of the first yoga poses: Chair. I hold my arms above my head while sinking into an imaginary chair. Easy enough. We then transition into Crescent pose, where I lunge forward at a 90-degree angle while holding my arms up, palms facing each other. I am definitely feeling the stretch, particularly in my thighs. For extra motivation I'm picturing myself two-inches taller with my soon-to-be elongated muscles (bye-bye high heels!).
I find my Zen in Temple pose (click here to find out how to do the move). Next we come to the dreaded Downward Facing Dog (pushing palms into the floor below shoulders while pushing my butt back into the air). I say "dreaded" because my arms aren't Wonder Woman-worthy yet and it takes a lot out of me to hold this pose.
Wimping out after a few seconds, I retreat into my safety net, Child's Pose -- the rest position, which consists of dropping my knees to the floor, extending my arms in front, and bringing my forehead to my mat, stretching my hips, thighs, and ankles. Mandy says this is a great back strengthening pose that is gentle on the spine. I say this is the most relaxing workout move I've ever tried.
And then I don't feel so relaxed … To find out what happened next in my quest for a slimmer, better body, click here.