Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I woke up early this morning and did an hour of Hatha, al la Erich Schiffmann.

A friend recently asked me about Schiffmann' 'Yoga Mind & Body' DVD that features actress Ali MacGraw (the DVD headlines MacGraw, but make no mistake, Schiffmann is the teacher). I vaguely remembered it, mostly as being exceptionally strange, but I do like Erich Schiffman so I was more than willing to give it a go. I found the DVD at the library and I took my 1990s nostalgia trip this morning. It's a nice sequence. I didn't sweat, but I got a bit dewy. The poses are not overly challenging, but the Ardha Chandrasana variation is some good fun.

The entire class is shot on a white dessert under a bright blue sky. That part's okay. Schiffmann, who looks like a lovable Yogi Bear, dramatically appears on the desert to lead the class (the manufactured drama made me roll my eyes). The models are of various ages and ethnic backgrounds (good) and they're all absolutely beautiful (good) but they all looked a bit stoned and none of them cracked a shadow of a smile or appeared to enjoy the practice (creepy).

The camera often flashes rapidly between models, superimposing them upon one another, to the sky, to the sand in dizzying succession. In one particularly creepy shot, MacGraw is viewed doing cat/dog tilts through the slightly blurred silhouette of one of the male models as he pumps his spine suggestively (as jungle beats pound away in the background *rowr*).

It tried to be art, but it's not art.

My biggest complaint about this DVD is that Schiffmann doesn't tell you what's coming or what the poses are - you have to look at the screen and watch the weird models in order to figure out what's going on. This is unfortunate because Schiffmann's cues are pretty good, the sequence is nice and I enjoyed the music. I wouldn't mind practising to an MP3 of this. But Ali MacGraw and the those weird camera angles and the Stepford Yogis? They creep me out.


Summer contract season is here and you know what that means. Many of my classes don't run in the summer, so I do contract work to pay the bills and make extra money to pad my savings account. Last year I ended up at the same place all summer. So far this year, I haven't been placed anywhere long term, but I will be working for the next two days on an eensy weensy little short-term contract.

I have a Grand Plan for my yoga practice over the next two days, which I'm documenting here to keep myself accountable:
Wednesday: Astanga Full Primary Series in the afternoon, as soon as I get home from work.
Thursday: One hour of Hatha in the morning before I got to work (which entails getting up stupidly early, but I might a well get used to it).
Friday: Back to Astanga Full Primary to round out the week.

1 comment:

Arturo said...

hi Kai
the Stepford yogis, hehe.

i hear that on the online board S. directs people are very nice, not hissy or put downish.