I do yoga at home several times a week, if not daily. Sometimes it’s just me (and often my husband) running through a few poses to stretch and strengthen the muscles that need it most after sitting at a computer for too many hours or running a bunch of miles on the trails — in that case, I usually just turn on some music, maybe set a timer, and go through my practice. But sometimes I need a bit more focus (or, often, something to push me a bit beyond the comfortable poses), and Element Daily Yoga has turned out to be a pretty fantastic source of inspiration there.
Element Daily Yoga DVD Review
The DVD offers two yoga routines (about 40 minutes each): an energizing (and somewhat challenging) designed for the morning and a relaxing, soothing one to do at night. Both feature yoga instructor Mia Togo, who, in addition to her work in yoga, is also a certified life coach with a degree in psychology, so she really focuses on the mind portion of the mind/body workout in a smart and beneficial way. Both parts are filmed in a gorgeous outdoor, ocean-view setting — similar to all the Element yoga DVDs, I think, but lovely nonetheless, and both end with corpse pose and meditation, which I love.
The morning routine offers a practice that flows quickly and smoothly, mixing challenging poses (with modifications offered) with simple ones, so it’s suitable for folks at just about any level of practice. However, while the instruction is pleasant — this might be a weird thing to say, but I really enjoyed Togo’s voice — it focuses more on calling out the poses and helping you get your breathing (and mind) in line, and there’s not a ton of explanation regarding proper form. If you’re a true beginner, you’ll want to get a few in-person classes under your belt to make sure you’re using proper form for these poses, but if you’re somewhat familiar with Sun Salutations and the like, you should manage just fine.
This practice leaves me energized (and slightly sweaty, but not in an “Oh, my god, I need a shower before I go anywhere” kind of way) but in a calm, tranquil way — like I’m ready to accept the day but without feeling like I need to attack it. And it’s enough of a workout that, if it’s the only exercise I get for the day, I’m satisfied, but it’s not so taxing that it prevents me from hitting the gym later if I’m so inclined.
The evening routine is definitely soothing and peaceful with a major focus on releasing the tightness and stress that’s accumulated over the course of the day, so there’s a lot of breath work and stretching, especially along the back and shoulders, but also in the hip area. I enjoy doing it just before bed, but when possible, I actually prefer to do it on days when I’ve finished with work and have a relaxing evening ahead of me — it really sets the tone for focusing on quiet reflection and self-care, which I’m convinced every single one of us could use more of.
However, don’t expect a workout from the evening routine — you’ll move and use some muscles, but you’re not likely to feel like you’ve engaged in a 40-minute exercise session.
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★★
Best for: Yoginis of almost all levels who are looking to add a daily mind/body element to their practice (while getting a morning workout at the same time)!
What do you look for in a yoga practice? Do you want something that leaves every muscle trembling? Something that leaves you feeling at peace? I feel like every year I lean more and more toward the latter, although I totally appreciate a hard yoga workout, too. —Kristen