If the decade best known as the Noughties brought us anything en masse, it was the celebrity fitness video. Every January – of course, perfectly timed to coincide with the January weight loss boom that occurs when people make New Year’s resolutions – celebrities would release fitness DVDs, showing off their own lesser figures and encouraging us to follow their example. Yoga did not escape this trend; with celebrities like Geri Halliwell going as far as doing their own videos, and other well-known converts like Madonna and Courtney Cox-Arquette instilling the virtues of yoga in to our minds, yoga was “in”.
However, with every new celebrity yoga devotee and every new DVD, yoga experts were regularly consulted by the tabloid press – who were quick to dismiss this new “yoga in a box” way of learning. Yoga is, they argued, too complex to be mastered – or even practiced safely – in the comfort of your own home, with no one but an inane celebrity to guide you.
Is there any truth in that, or were the traditional yoga teachers just rebelling against a perceived threat to their livelihoods? Well, a little from column A, a little from column B. Yoga is always best learnt with a qualified, respectable teacher, in a safe location where you can be assisted should physical difficulties arise.
On the other hand, attending a class is not possible for some people due to a busy home, work or social life. So celebrity DVDs do have their uses, and are usually for beginners’ – so the risk of injury is minimal. So long as you warm up and cool down properly, use them freely for a quick yoga boost if you can’t make a class.