-- Product Review --
I was really quite surprised that the products arrived so quickly from the States to southwestern Canada, where I am. Erin and I started the conversation about this project late in the day April 2nd, and after some discussion of the details back and forth she informed me it was on the way – and I received it early morning April 15th. That is pretty good timing when you consider it did go through customs and all.
The package that I received contained one ABX Yoga Towel and both DVD and Blu-ray versions of her work out routine: Air Bar Exercises. They arrived in a paper bubble envelope – the DVD, Blu-ray are shrink wrapped as was the yoga mat towel, however all of that is recyclable in our area.
I wasn’t all that familiar with the difference between the two formats (DVD/Blu-ray) so I did some research and here is what I found out. Blu-ray discs are said to be the next in the evolution of entertainment – they offer higher resolution and storage capacity, and are said to be more durable (scratch less, etc.). Interestingly blu-ray players will play DVD’s, but DVD players are not able to play Blu-ray.
Yoga mat towel – now that was something I was really curious about - how they are used, cared for, benefits of using it, etc. So taking this one out of the plastic wrap was kind of exciting for me. The instructions are to wash separately before using because the color dye may bleed otherwise, but they do specify that their dyes are heavy metal free – which is a plus. Simply machine wash in cold with like colors thereafter, and you can either tumble dry on medium-low or hang to dry. I ran mine through the drier on low. The instructions also state to never use dryer sheets or fabric softeners as they’ll reduce the stabilizing and gripping benefits that the towel brings – so it looks like people will have to dry separately from other laundered items as well.
So - you lay the towel dot-side down on top of the yoga mat prior to the workout. This can also be used on workout machines, floors, etc. The first thing that struck me about this is how much more sanitary it would be for those who go to communal gyms where people share mats, walk on the same floors you are about to lay on and share machinery too. The towel would be much easier to keep clean than the rubber yoga mat, which you have to wipe down by hand. I also noticed there is a little logo pocket in the upper right corner, and this works perfectly as a hoodie of sorts to keep the towel rolled up and tidy; simply fold the towel lengthwise, roll up and flip the hoodie corner inside out to encase one end of the roll. Ta Da! Nice and tidy, easy to pack around. Now when the towel is lying flat on top of the mat, that little logo pocket becomes the perfect spot to place a little towel, tissue, your keys and anything else you want to stuff in there. Turn the pocket inside out and tuck a corner of the yoga mat for more stability (less chance of wrinkles forming) and this action also creates a hidden pocket of sorts to hold the same kinds of things I mentioned before.
|"...flip the hoodie corner inside out to encase one end of the roll. Ta Da! Nice and tidy, easy to pack around"|
The towel is made from anti-bacterial ultra fine microfiber. The dots are what cause the towel to be non-slip, and this towel proposes to have more dots than many other popular yoga towels on the market. It covered both styles of yoga mats that I have completely, and is made to last a lifetime. It is absorbent too, wicking away moisture – so people who are working out in hot rooms, humidity or are just plain working hard will stay dry and comfortable. The mat is said to have a greater number of dots than other yoga mat towels on the market giving users more stability – it retails for $44.97, but is also on sale now at $39.97 (US).
It is always a good idea to watch a workout prior to actually doing it so you become familiar with the moves and routine and become aware of any special equipment you might need. Expect an hour workout. Listing price on Amazon.com was $39.97 for the Blu-ray but is now on sale for $35.00, similarly the DVD retails at $39.97, but is currently on sale for $34.97 (US) – patent pending on those two products.
Several things stood out for me with the workout - I noticed that Erin is motivating, and not afraid to appear foolish; she is entertaining and makes you grin as you are working out; before you know it the time has come to move on to the next routine. It is mixed with self-help guru statements, encouraging people to have more positive thoughts, to feel empowered. Her focus on the core, breath and use of many yoga moves was quite appealing to me. Some of her exercises are done much too quick and snappy, but users can easily dial down the intensity of their workout and smooth out the moves to match their body’s ability each day and avoid re-injury of delicate areas. This is a low impact workout – no bouncing involved. I loved how there was no special equipment necessary, no screaming loud music, no fancy clothes being worn by instructors playing dress up for the camera – it was like working out with your sister or best friend.
The instructor had a little bit too much make up, was a bit overly chipper at first and the pigtails sometimes made her look silly, too young (Erin’s image on the front cover looks more mature). The work out is designed for males and females. In fact the assistant in the video is a mature man who is obviously working hard to keep up to the instructor. J I noticed that at one point it seemed like she forgot what the next move was so the video was edited there but could have been edited that section out so it smoothly transitioned to the next move. I did notice a few small audio problems i.e. when the microphone hit or brushed against her as she moved – these were rare and not overly disturbing.
I felt that Erin’s knowledge really shone in this video though where she obviously studied ancient medicines, meditation, yoga, pilates, Oriental and Indian arts and more. Her bio shows that she has been interested in this field since she was 10 years old, became a certified yoga teacher in 2005… and here we see her today with her company: ABX. http://www.airbarexercises.com Her unique workout does not require special equipment although a long dowel (like those you find in your closet) is useful – it keeps your balance and maintains the distance of your hands and the form of your upper torso while doing the moves. But you can do this with out it, or use a substitute - like a broom handle, for instance. Some of my workouts via DVD require me to clear a space – not so with this one, you won’t need any more space than what you’d use for a yoga routine.
Her focus on breath was impressive, as I’ve studied this myself. In today’s world we tend to breathe with the upper part of the lungs, rather than taking real deep breath and exhale of every bit of air, which cleans the lungs, oxygenates the blood and much more. Have you ever found yourself stressed or concentrating so hard that you realize you are breathing shallowly and unevenly or perhaps holding your breath? Well, this is really damaging to the body, reducing circulation, healing and energy and brainpower too. Proper breath is very important for us to lead healthy lives and in a way it is kind of funny that we have so many health problems resulting from improper breathing habits – after all we should all be fairly familiar with breathing by now. (ha ha) Workout routines like these will help you clean and exercise the lungs and develop better breathing habits.
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