Customer Review

117 of 119 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong practice sessions with a flawed teacher, March 13, 2006
This review is from: Mark Blanchard's Progressive Power Yoga Trilogy (DVD)
This is a tough set to review - they are the most complete and physically challenging yoga videos that I know of, and can provide a wonderful workout, but Mark Blanchard's personality can also be challenging and even irritating to some people. My sense is that Mark, like a lot of us, struggles with his urge to be competitive and dominant, and that competitive streak emerges in these tapes as he seems unconsciously to want to beat down his students (including his wife) and show his own mastery. He has a history as a would-be actor and athlete, and inadvertently brings a sort of Hollywood ego / jock competitiveness to his yoga.

The tapes are filled with little moments where his ego seems to take control - I'll give just one example. There is a moment when Blanchard and his wife are side-by-side while jumping through from downward dog into staff pose. Blanchard happens to catch his foot on the floor and can't do the movement the first time, but his wife is able to do the movement perfectly. Blanchard gets a vexed look on his face, and stops the flow of poses to make the class do the movement again and again until no one has the strength left to do the movement except for him. He looks around at the class (and his wife) while balancing on his hands as if to be sure that everyone can see that he's the strongest. Then, with his dominance restored, he allows the class to go on.

Because of all the moments like this, the discs are a mixed bag. Blanchard is a good teacher, and the movements he puts together are powerful and satisfying at a physical level. I also believe that Blanchard is struggling genuinely to serve others through yoga, and to overcome his personal limitations. Over time, however, the emotional dynamics between Blanchard, his wife and the rest of the class become distracting and even a little disturbing.

None of us is perfect, of course, and it comes down to a matter of taste whether the intangible elements in these discs will keep you from enjoying the excellent physical movements they teach.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 31, 2007 8:37:14 AM PST
This reviewer's comments echo my own feelings. The workouts themselves are challenging and satisfying physically, but leave a very bad taste in the mouth from a mental point of view. From Blanchard's inappropriate touching (tickling his wife's tatoo while she is doing downward dog) to his oily comments about touching your own firm thigh (and if it's not firm, he says, maybe you should do something about it) to his obvious need to show that he is the strongest person in the room make it impossible to develop the proper mental attitude during the workouts. I find myself making nasty retorts to his offensive comments and snarking out loud on his unnecessary phyical contact with his (female) students. I get a good workout but end up in a very bad mood. It's a pity, because these DVDs would otherwise be top notch.
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