Losing your muffin top without ommmming. A few years ago one of my co-workers said she can’t stand going to yoga class because she hates chanting om. She loved the poses but just hated that aspect of the class. It made her feel uncomfortable. It made me think about why some people don’t feel yoga is right for them even if they know there are so many benefits to yoga.
I turned to yoga over 15 years ago and it has been part of my lifestyle and life journey ever since. I order and review all kinds of yoga products, DVDs, books, clothes ( about 50% of what I wear is yoga apparel even if I am not doing yoga that day) mats, blocks, eye pillow, CDs, music, essential oils, gluten-free products, yoga-lifestyle cookbooks, cards ( I could open a small gift shop of all my yoga related products) as well as attending various yoga classes, workshops, retreats, kirtans etc.
How does Yoga help you lose weight?
I recently came across Shapeshifters Yoga Program which is described as helping you feel younger, stress-free, flexible and even SLIMMER. I wanted to see if it would be a good fit for the om-hating crowd that wanted a scientific based program that would help them lose flabby butts and guts and also maintain that toned sculpted look. With all the images of yogis contorting themselves into Russian Circus kind of poses, yoga can be scary. I was also looking for a program that would demystify some of the more exotic aspects of yoga. Starting yoga does not mean you start wearing a loin-cloth or wear a turban. In my classes, I just find folks that want to soothe their nerves along with toning and trimming.
Are you yoga-curious or thought about losing weight through yoga but feel weirded out but some of the more exotic aspects of the practice? Are you looking for a scientific based exercise practice that has the power to transform and sculpt your body if you are ready to commit to it?
What I liked about Shape-Shifters…
There is a focus on overall flexibility, core-conditioning, body awareness and muscle-conditioning before you move on to master the more advanced part of the practice. There are some basic traditional stretches and yoga poses that all body types and sizes can do.
There is no oooming, no talk of your crown-chakras so you won’t feel like you have to wear a turban and a loincloth to do this program. It’s all scientific based, practical and utilitarian in how they explain the benefits with no woo-woo.
There is no extra equipment like a weight machine. The most extra equipment you need is a yoga mat. Click here to read about our yoga mat guide.
You can do the practice almost anywhere any anytime. I’ve done yoga poses in all kinds of weird places from the airport lounge area, toilets, waiting for a subway in NYC, in the car, on the beach, at the park, watching TV on the couch and even on the airplane – both in my seat and in the back of the plane where the flight attendants gather. I used to live in a tiny match-box size apartment in NYC and the only space to practice in was in front of the front door. When I stay in hotel with small rooms, I move all the furniture around so I have enough space to practice in.
The workouts are very compact – You can do most of the sequences in about 20-30 minutes. Being consistent and doing a little bit everyday is more important than doing 1-2 practices that are 90 minutes long every week.
It’s a comprehensive fitness program – There is a cardio component, a strengthening component, a stretching component and a recovery component. The methods are based on ancient wellness and fitness principles so they have been thoroughly tested, practiced and vetted.
There is an explanation of the benefits of the poses in the down-loadable Yoga Manual so you know why you are doing knee-bending and cranking (to prepare your body for the weight bearing movements.)
It’s a step-by-step plan that is also customizable. Shapeshifters is very structured but there are also some modifications based on your body type and athletic ability.
Ideal for Couch Potatoes or Seasoned Athletes. If you don’t know squat about diet, wellness, fitness or strength-training then this is a suitable program. If you do have some prior experience and knowledge with these, then it will build upon and complement your prior training and experience.
Very Professionally Presented – You’ll feel like you are at a Yoga Journal Video shoot with the quality of the video and the voice. I’ve listened to other videos before and some of them sound all muffled and the lightening and angles make it harder to follow the sequence.
Wallet-Friendly – You could get a personal yoga session for more than the cost of this video and wouldn’t get nearly the amount of tips, instruction, alignment cues that this has. It’s a lot of yoga for the buck.
I think the strongest part of the shape shifter programs is the kind of feedback, support and community that you get with their online forum. One user wrote that she couldn’t do a certain type of pose because of knee pain and the teacher wrote back and gave her some modifications. The teacher even checked back in a week later to see how the modifications was working for her. Feeling supported and part of a community is a critical part of any weight loss program. As much as possible with an online program there is a strong sense of support so you don’t feel abandoned after you bought the product. When people post comments or questions, it looks like they get a response within an hour or two.
All the poses are described in English first and then there is the Sanskrit. That always bugs me about yoga teachers only using Sankrit. Unless you are teaching a group of yoga teachers at a training, there is no reason to use Sanskrit only. It may seem pretentious and confusing.
The Yoga Instructor, Kristine Fondran, has a background in exercise physiology, which is not required of most yoga teachers but really should be to prevent injuries. In 2008, as a part of her Master Degree in Exercise Science at Cleveland State University she conducted a research study on the benefits of a 10 minute, twice daily, Sun Salutation practice. So you know you are in expert training hands with her educational background.
There are videos for those of us that need to see how to get in the pose and there is also a written manual with descriptions and modifications for each pose.
What I didn’t like about Shape-Shifters…
Some of the materials is recycled- If you have bought any of Adam Murdock or Ryan Steer’s previous materials, then you might not feel like you are getting a completely new fitness program. If you are just being introduced to them for the first time, then this won’t bother you.
It’s not all entirely new practices and poses. I thought maybe I would come across completely original poses and yoga practices. If you are a seasoned yogi, like me, you might want something completely unseen. If you are not as familiar with yoga and yoga lifestyle concepts, then this information will be fresh.
There is no mention of diet, food in the online program. In their blog, there is lots of tips about what to eat, when to eat and there are also a lot of what I assume to be ads for weight loss products such as protein powders. In the blog there is a lot of commentary on the psychological , social and emotional rewards of food. If you buy this program, make sure to read their newsletter and blog for tips and advice about food and diet, otherwise you will miss a crucial component of this program.
She calls some of the poses in English unfamiliar names, such as Equestrian pose ( for Lounge). If you haven’t done much yoga before, this won’t bother you, but if you have it will be confusing. Also Half-Moon pose, a pose I often teach and have been taught is a completely different pose.
Are you wondering if this is a program that can really help you to transform your body and way of being?
If you are looking for a quick-fix, then yoga is not for you.
If you are looking for magical, instantaneous results then yoga is not for you.
If you enjoy feeling sluggish and edge, yoga is not for you.
If you want an easy, non-challenging workout, then yoga is not for you.
If you would rather make a permanent butt imprint in your couch and watch DWTS, Two and a Half Men, then this is not for you.
If you you are committed to your excuse that you aren’t flexible, don’t have time, don’t have the money to do any fitness program then this is not for you.
If you want to stay the same, yoga is not for you.
But it will take discipline,
It will take committment on your part.
It won’t be a light endeavor.
It is not about going to a class once and never again. You will find all kinds of excuses and limitations that get in the way of you going to class.
You will have to show up. You will have to be on your mat. Even if you body is on the mat but your head is somewhere else, you will have to re-committ to being present.
You won’t always enjoy it.
You will resist.
You will complain.
You will have all kinds of reasons that you can’t or shouldn’t go.
Sometimes, you just won’t want to go.
Just examine your resistance.
What are you committed to?
Are you committed to having your life being the same or are you committed to it substantially transforming?
Why are you committed to transforming?
What is so comfortable about the way life is now that you don’t want to change.