Ursula Karven is a German actress whom I only know because of her series of yoga DVDs. If, like me, you tend to check out the workout section of any DVD display, you will know her face.
Her DVD Power Yoga is not the kind of thing I usually go for, mainly because I prefer hatha to vinyasa yoga. However, I realised lately that I crave a slightly more energetic, flowing yoga practice, so I decided to give this a try.
It’s an older program, as you can probably tell from these images. There are English and German tracks — I used the English track, which is narrated by a man. The yoga flow is about 50 minutes long, and there is a half-hour guided breathing meditation that seems only to be available in German, narrated by Karven.
I have to say that I was really pleasantly surprised by the program. It assumes you know the basics of yoga postures, and doesn’t provide excessive cueing or instruction. It does, however, provide enough so that you don’t have to keep looking at the screen: cues for where to put your limbs, what to do with which breath, how to modify a position to make it more or less intense. The narration is calm throughout.
More importantly, it’s just a gorgeously put together program. It begins with breathing and gentle stretches and twists, moves on to sun salutations and standing poses, then back to the mat for back exercises, more intense stretches, and inverted positions. It’s everything I want in a yoga practice, a bit of sweat and a bit of stretch and a bit of breathing, all in under an hour. If I were the kind of person who gets up early in the morning, this is what I’d spend that extra time doing.
The program is filmed in a desert landscape, with a very artsy, Ali McGraw-aesthetic. Positions are performed by Karven and four other practitioners, some of whom do modified versions of poses. I appreciated not having to “float” anywhere during my sun salutations, but it would have been nice to be given a modification for chaturanga.
All told, however, Ursula Karven’s Power Yoga is an excellent vinyasa yoga practice, and made me feel strong and relaxed once I’d finished it. Even though it’s an older program, it looks likely to become a favourite in my collection.