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Battle of the Yoga DVDs: Tara Stiles vs. Denise Austin

DVDBattleThis time of year, after the stress and hoopla of the holidays is behind us and the New Year is awaiting us, we thought it would be the perfect time to review a couple of new yoga DVDs. So we’re doing a head-to-head battle royale for the title of best yoga DVD!


Tara Stiles Yoga Anywhere: The New York Sessions

You know that girl in yoga class who is always super bendy and can get into almost any position with total grace? The one you love to hate and also stare at in total awe? I’m pretty sure Tara Stiles is the goddess of all of those girls because girlfriend is amazing at what she does. And I have a total love-hate relationship with her and her DVD Yoga Anywhere: The New York Sessions.

First, the good: This DVD has a fantastic a hour-long yoga session where Tara leads you through a peaceful yet challenging routine of basic poses that are well suited to the intermediate yogini. Although I wish she showed more modifications for beginners, her instruction is clear and her delivery is uber calming, which I loved. This DVD also features four bonus yoga routines that are set in fun places around New York City such as Central Park and even the city streets. These little yoga vignettes are more art than workout DVD, with fun music, different graphic elements and unique camera angles. One of the best quality workout DVDs I’ve ever tried, in fact!

Second, the not-so-good: What the freak is up with her outfits? In every scene, pretty much all of your attention is drawn to her butt. And while she’s a really fit Fit Bottomed Girl and I get flaunting what you got (and what you work hard for, as it’s obvious she’s a master at her craft), it’s a bit, er, much. Or not so much, as she has butt cleavage throughout pretty much the entire video. And the fact that the DVD boasts having four bonus routines? Hooey! While the art value of these yoga workouts is awesome, it’s in no way possible to follow along because there is absolutely no instruction and no way for you to keep up.

So there you have it, the good, the bad and the butt-naked.

FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Instruction: ★★★
Long-Term Likeability:★★★
Music: ★★★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★

Overall: ★★★

Best for: Regular yogis who dig art and are looking to be inspired by one bendy chick.

Denise Austin: Hot Body Yoga

Denise Austin has quite the reputation in these parts as being on heck of a workout DVD instructor. Her workout DVDs usually rank high in the star department, and we always have a blast chatting with her. So we’re always excited to try any new DVD she releases. From the Hot Body Yoga title alone, I was curious as to how this one would go, and oh, was I surprised.

You get two solid yoga workouts in this DVD. The first is Yoga Fit, a 30-minute power yoga routine that takes you through basic poses and more challenging ones like planks, side planks and balance poses. Then in Yoga Sculpt, you get another 30 minutes of yoga that are more intense—you use light dumbbells to add some resistance training to your ommming. Through a number of combination upper- and lower-body moves, you really do get one heck of a workout while also feeling all stretchy and relaxed. I really liked it and it reminded me of this fave yoga DVD of ours.

So what surprised me? Denise. She was her usual perky self, giving great instruction and modifications, but she was also something else: Handsy. IT’S SO WEIRD. In the first Yoga Fit segment there are two girls that she seriously can’t get her hands off of. And although she is pointing out proper form on them, it’s just, well, handsy. There’s no other way to say it. Hands on thighs. Hands on butt. Hands on low back. Again. So weird. Overall, it’s a solid yoga DVD but beware of the roam. Gives a whole new meaning to “hands on…”

FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Instruction: ★★★★
Long-Term Likeability:★★★★★
Music: ★★
Fun Factor: ★★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★★

Overall: ★★★★

Best for: Denise Austin fans who are ready to try power yoga (and aren’t bothered by extreme hands-on instruction).

Fit Bottom Line: While both DVDs have an oddly overt sexuality to them, they both give you a really good yoga workout. According to the stars, Denise takes the slight upper-hand (har har!) here, but Tara isn’t far behind (again, with the jokes!). Overall, pick Tara if you have been practicing yoga regularly, and pick Denise if you’re new to the yoga world!

Want to try these DVDs yourself? Leave a comment telling us why, and we’ll select two lucky U.S. readers to win. Winners will be contacted via email in about a week so comment away! —Jenn

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!