Summer DVD 3: Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown

This DVD will not be part of the giveaway for reasons I hope will become obvious.

I’ll admit, I purchased this DVD because I was curious. At first, I was curious as to what result the Jillian Michaels + yoga equation would yield. If there’s one thing Michaels is known for, it’s physically intense workouts, and I am a fan of physically intense workouts.

Well, after trying both workouts, I continue to be curious. This time, I’m wondering if DVDs also make those cool crackling designs if you put them in the microwave:


[Clip uploaded by futsang via YouTube.]

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Yoga Meltdown Specs:

DVD case of Yoga Meltdown

Yoga Style: The best way I can describe this is circuit training using yoga postures.

Suited To: Because of some instructional issues (which I’ll get to later in the review), I’d only recommend this to people who are pretty familiar with common yoga poses and — most importantly — who are aware of what safe alignment feels like for their own bodies.

Props: I don’t remember if a strap was suggested for the forward folds in the cooldown portion, but some might find it useful. There were also a couple of places (side angle, half moon, revolved triangle) where a number of people I know would like to have blocks.

Run Time: There are two workouts — Level 1 and Level 2 — each approximately 30 minutes long.

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Things I like about this DVD:

  1. On each of the leveled workouts, there is one of Jillian’s “students” demonstrating “beginner” modifications and another student demonstrating “advanced” modifications. This means that — assuming one followed the same student for an entire workout — there are up to 4 different workout options.
  2. On the Level 1 workout, there is a really nice half-camel to camel flow. While instructing, Jillian emphasized quad strength in the poses, but it mostly felt like a good shoulder opener to me.

Things I do not like about this DVD:

  1. Instruction & Safety — This is really the dealbreaker one for me, why I am not comfortable giving this DVD to anyone else. There are several places where important instruction is notably absent — as in standing backbends and wheel pose. For what I see as important Do Not Injure Thyself reasons, there should be some backbending instruction on how to protect the low back; here, however, there is none. Similarly, some of the instruction for other asanas doesn’t sit well with me. There is, for instance, an instruction to “lock” the arms both in mountain pose and while doing pendulum repetitions, the latter of which seems like an excellent way to develop some shoulder, elbow, or wrist issues, perhaps where none had existed previously. This mirrors the instruction to “lock” the legs in revolved triangle (and perhaps other standing poses); again, I predict knee injuries. Going along with that, the main alignment instruction in up dog is to be looking up — which can be appropriate for some people, but can also lead to crunching in the neck and/or low back for others. The thing that makes me really not like this is that these are just the examples I remember without re-watching; I know there were more.
  2. Breath & Pacing — At the very beginning, Michaels instructs people to link their breath with their movement. However, then she immediately goes into some upward salute vinyasas at a pace that would leave me hyperventilating if I actually followed it — so I ignored the instruction. Similarly, a lot of “circuits” on each workout involve “repping out” a two-pose vinyasa — like plank to side plank, for example — in succession, building up to a 15 second hold at the end. The side plank one works fine for me, but there are some — ones involving revolved triangle, warrior 3, and wheel (separate circuits, not all the same one) — where I didn’t have enough time to move through the rep as fast as she was calling out. I have a bigger body and a larger range of motion; I’m moving more mass through more space, and I need an extra second or so (each rep) to do it. Sometimes I accommodated by moving slower, sometimes by keeping my range of motion smaller. Which worked out, sort of, but it felt like I was spending a lot of my time in each workout ignoring the instructor.
  3. Attitude — This part is trickier to explain. I feel like… Jillian Michaels is sending conflicting messages. Like, at the beginning, she introduces the term yoga “practice” in a tone where you can just about see the Sarcasm Air Quotes around the word practice. At the end, however, she smiles and says it’s all about yoga being a practice, a journey. One of those rings false to me, and I think I know which one it is. Or how she says at one place that it’s okay if you can’t get into the flashier variations of poses (e.g., half moon with the bottom hand lifted, one-legged wheel) but says in another place, lacing the last three fingers in Jupiter mudra is “cheating.” I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS. And of course, there is the standard body-changing talk. It is largely toned down for a Jillian Michaels DVD, though; some talk about becoming leaner and looking like the people in the DVD. And my favorite line, paraphrased here for the irony, “Your body weight is the best tool you have.”

Things I would rather use instead:


  1. [Video by HolmTV via YouTube.]

    This one is actually somewhat more physically intense for me than are either of the Yoga Meltdown workouts. However, the instruction is much more solid for someone with a moderate amount of yoga experience.


  2. [Tara Dale instructing for HolmTV. Video via YouTube.]

    A slower, shorter, less vigorous practice with instruction appropriate for beginners.

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I'm here. I like stuff. Some other stuff, I like less.

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2 comments on “Summer DVD 3: Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown
  1. G says:

    Aaaaargh Jillian Michaels. If the microwave doesn’t work out, I think the blender might be an entertaining second choice.

    Friends of my friends have a party every year where they microwave everything they can think of (in their back yard, of course, with microwaves they don’t care about). It sounds like fun and the party goes until all the microwaves have been destroyed.

    • Tori says:

      That sounds awesome. Alas, the only microwave I currently have is the one I use to reheat food. I’ll have to find something to do with this DVD that doesn’t put my home appliances at risk.

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