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by Zoe Miku
Lichtung Media, 2010
Review by Christian Perring on Jun 1st 2010
This 80 minute yoga practice for teens has voiceovers in 6 different languages: German, English, French, Dutch, Italian and Polish. It is led by Zoe Miku, with 5 teens following her - 3 girls and 2 boys. It is an unusual set, being completely white, so even the yoga mats are invisible. Whichever language you choose, there is Eastern flavored music in the background. The camera moves slowly, but is rarely completely still. The practice starts off slow with stretching and chanting, but moves into more strenuous exercise eventually. It also ends slowly, with an 6 minute relaxation session and some breathing meditation at the finish. The camera focuses on Miku for much of the practice, showing her in profile so it is possible to get a clear idea of where your limbs should be for the different postures. As with any group practice, the teens do not exactly follow what Miku does, and they have different levels of strength, flexibility and balance. It is always reassuring to see that not everyone is perfect. In fact, it is disappointing that the camera never shows the teens much at all. If this is a DVD for teens, then presumably they want to see other teens doing the yoga, but they are always in the background rather than the foreground. There's nothing much about the set of poses that distinguishes this as being for teens: it has the usual supply of stretches, twists, vinyasas, upward and downward facing dog, So it is far less distinctively a teen yoga practice than Yoga By Teens or Yoga 4 Teens. While the production values are high, the style of the DVD is extremely impersonal: we don't get any introduction to the instructor or the teens and their faces remain impassive the whole time. Most people when doing yoga will often grimace, laugh, or smile, but we never get to see such expressions. There's also no interaction between any of the people on the screen: you can tell that the teens are copying the instructor and keeping an eye on how they others are doing, but they do it a little furtively. Obviously the reason behind all this lack of interaction is that is means that it is not language-specific: we never find out what nationality the teens are, because we never hear them speak. This sort of yoga DVD will suit some people more than others: personally I found it a little cold and minimalist in tone. But not everyone wants a chattering instructor, and so this DVD may well be appealing to some teens looking to try some yoga.
© 2010 Christian Perring
, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York Christian Perring