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DVD Review: Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I've seen Jillian Michaels on TV, and I've tried her infamous "30-Day Shred" with co-workers. She lives up to her reputation as TV's toughest trainer. It seems like there's no workout Jillian hasn't tried. She's a jill of all trades in the gym.

On "The Biggest Loser," her co-trainer Bob is usually the one seen leading yoga workouts, so when I heard Jillian was releasing her own yoga DVD, I was intrigued. As a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher and longtime student, I love a good yoga practice. For me, yoga helps me stay centered, builds strength inside and out, and makes me feel good about my body.

Here's what I knew about the DVD before I tried it:
"Jillian Michaels, winning trainer on NBC's 'The Biggest Loser,' introduces a new yoga workout unlike any other. Combining hard-core yoga power poses with her dynamic training techniques, Jillian will get you real weight-loss results fast. YOGA MELTDOWN includes two complete 30-minute workouts that include a warm-up and cool down. Begin with the Level 1 workout which focuses on quickly flowing yoga sequences to burn mega calories. Then progress to Level 2 which adds twists and balance poses for an even greater burn."

I generally practice Ashtanga yoga, which is practiced in silence, with only the breath or a teacher's cues (often Sanskrit counting) to guide you. The same poses are practiced in the same order and held for five breaths, with each one flowing from one to the next. Would Jillian, who's always moving and very assertive, give me that same "love your body" and peace-love-yoga vibe? How would her "you can't phone in a workout" philosophy translate to yoga, where we're taught to respect our bodies and never push too hard?

Well, my friends, I was pleasantly surprised.

I tried this DVD on a rare night when I didn't have a run or yoga class scheduled. I wanted to do some strength training but get my heart rate up. I wore my heart-rate monitor, and while my heart wasn’t pounding, I did work up quite a sweat. It was as high as it would be during a brisk walk.

Who would like it: This DVD is not appropriate for anyone who is new to exercise or yoga. Due to limited cues and a fast pace, it requires a decent amount of strength and knowledge of yoga.

This DVD is ideal for a yoga student who wants to build strength and burn calories while lengthening and stretching the body.

  • Jillian is surprisingly encouraging throughout. Her gruff persona is often misinterpreted as mean, but when you need to find the strength to finish a set of biceps curls, her style works. She's slightly "softer" with her voice and cues here, but she is still aggressively encouraging.
  • She has two assistants, one of whom offers an beginners' modification and the other of whom offers advanced options. You'll find plenty of modifications to suit your body. (She offers her assistants lots of praise and encouragement, which is a nice touch.)
  • Her approach to yoga helps you build strength and fine-tune areas of your practice. You start with 10 repetitions of a yoga pose, then hold each pose for 15 seconds. This helps ease entry and exit--which would normally only be practiced once per pose--and build endurance in a pose. The repetitions require a great deal of focus on the body, and holding the pose builds mental stamina.
  • Jillian includes two 30-minute workouts each with a warm-up and cool-down. Level 1 workout focuses on fast flowing yoga sequences to burn calories. Level 2 adds twists and balance poses for a bigger challenge. I did both back-to-back, and I felt moderately sore the next day. Her chaturanga series (low plank) will having feeling the burn in no time, as will the side planks and the balancing poses.

  • Some of the poses are quite difficult for the average exerciser or yoga novice. Crow pose, in which you balance your knees on the backs of your arms, is held for more than 10 seconds, and pushups in wheel pose can be dangerous if not done properly.
  • Jillian's directions aren't very clear. Instead of saying "left" or "right" foot, she says "this" or "that" foot, which means that if you might end up spending more time staring at her on screen than actually doing the pose.
  • This isn't yoga as you might know it. It's more of a circuit and strength-building workout than a relaxing workout that links mind and body.

    You can buy the DVD for $14.98 or less (currently $8.99 on Amazon). Overall, I would recommend this DVD--as long as you know what to expect and you're ready to feel the burn during yoga.

    Would you try this DVD? What kind of yoga do you prefer: fast and furious or slow and relaxing?

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I love this dvd! I definitely think a knowledge of yoga helps, as chattaranga push ups etc are things you need proper form for, but this is a great in-betweener for when I don't want to go for a full run but I'm too antsy for my usual ashtanga yoga.

And as for Jillian, she's a pleasant surprise. I already had her abs dvd which I bought a little frightened of her reputation, but for once I've found a workout dvd where the commentary doesn't get annoying by the third time you use it. Report
I love this DVD. I get bored very easily but this kept me working and interested. My husband notices how strong my core is for golf after doing this DVD. I can tell my abs, arms and legs are tighter and stronger. Report
Love, Love, Love this video! one of my favorites! Report
Since I have no experience with yoga, I probably wouldn't use this video. Report
I bought this DVD a couple months ago when I first started to really get into exercising and because I didn't have a lot of upper body strength I had to modify pretty much every pose and although I was sweating I didn't feel like I was getting any where. So after I tried about five times I decided to put it down and come back to in a month and see if that helped. I've actually been doing another of her Dvd's " No more trouble zones" (which by the way I really love) and regular strength training. I recently tried it again and while I still find it a little of hard I can get through the whole thing and I feel great afterwards. Say what you will about her but I always feel great and like I've accomplished something when I'm done one of her exercises. Report
I love this workout. As most have said, it is not your relaxing, mind/body/spirit type of yoga but it will definitely leave you feeling like you worked out without using a bunch of equipment. Report
So i bought this DVD and i did it for a week or so and i defiantly saw a change in my body. After i moved my sister stole it and did it for a couple months... She lost so much weight its unbelievable and you can defiantly tell a difference in the way her body is toned, her arms and legs are incredible. So i went out to buy another copy so i can do it i also got the 30 day shred if anyone knows anything about that... If you eat right it helps a lot too. Report
I just finished the 30 Day Shred on Monday, and I tried this tonight after some encouragement from my coach. I'm glad I finished the Shred first. It gave me the strength to move through the positions. If this was a month ago, I probably would have given up. I liked the fast-paced movement. When I tried yoga years ago, I got bored with holding positions, and I walked away from it for 15 years. Report
I must preface this post by saying I've only done one real yoga workout before and otherwise know little about yoga.

I had recently hurt my knee from intensive running and I needed an alternative workout. I was looking to do yoga as a change from intensive cardio. I found myself sifting through Wal-mart's $10 workout DVD's and I was contemplating which DVD to get.

I settled on this one. I still wanted the fat-burning element that cardio offers, so when I saw this DVD combined both, I thought it was perfect. You burn during the workout, and you build muscle tone to burn while in rest.

Definitely not relaxing, but that's okay. I'd rather be burning fat :) Report
one thing that can help with her dvds in general is to watch them a couple of times before u actually do them.that way you have a heads up and can get through the work outs with our pausing will still kick ur bum though!!! Report
I tried the DVD for the first time today and as someone who is new to yoga, it kicked my butt! The main reason for buying the DVD though was I have a major problem with weak and very painful ankles when participating in any kind of higher impact exercise. Loved this DVD because I felt like it gave me a good workout without the usual high impact! Report
I just tried this DVD for the first time and as someone who isn't very familiar with yoga, it kicked my butt! Report
I have tried this dvd twice now. I agree with the review, except I worry that it isn't enough of a calorie burn for me. I have been exercising 6 days a week now for 1 year and 2 months. I have dropped a lot of weight and am training for a sprint tri. I like the dvd to do something at home when I don't have the time for the gym. I was wondering if anyone knows what the calorie burn is for the beginner session? I am 5'2" 157 lbs. Thanks! I do enjoy this dvd! Report
Our yoga group at church is currently working on this DVD. The review NAILED it! Not typical yoga and quite challenging! Give it a try! Report
I love Jill and her DVDs - I even own this one, but it's one I don't pick up very often because of how intense it is! I practice Bikram which stresses holding poses for a great deal of time and this is SO fast that I had to sit out of a couple of the tricky poses that I have not practiced in years!

Great burn overall though! Report
Jillian is advanced. Report
I'm on spark and googled for a review of this DVD and here I am back on Spark! Anyway, you convinced me to get this DVD with one of your cons: "This isn't yoga as you might know it. It's more of a circuit and strength-building workout than a relaxing workout that links mind and body."
I have been looking for a faster paced challenging yoga workout that would help build strength and work up a sweat. I had hope that Jillian would deliver such a workout considering her usual personality. I am NOT looking for something to relax, meditate, etc. And I've done yoga in the past so I'm familiar with a lot of the moves. So thanks for this review! I am definitely going to get a copy now! Report
I'm biased, but I really do love this workout and not because it's a Jillian workout. It is challenging and it is very effective. Totally in love with it. Everybody should own this workout! Report
to hard for me, i need something for disabled people. Report
Jillian DVDs are great.. they have helped me lose 12+ lbs and have visibly strengthened my body (hello abs)! I've tried yoga classes, and although they are relaxing, I've been wanting to up the intensity (yogalates or bikram yoga). This dvd might be exactly what I was looking for! Report
Thanks for telling us about the DVD. I have some traning in yoga but still consider myself as a beginner. But I like to do challenging workouts. Sounds like a plan. Report
thanks for listing both the pros and the cons. As a former group fitness instructor, safety first was always my focus. There are so many safe and effective DVDs out there for the average person, I never felt it was worth the risk of injury to try something advanced without a professional to monitor form. Report
Thanks, Stepf. I look for the same experience in yoga, yet with your thoughtful pros and cons I'm interested in purchasing it. Great review! Report
I am a Bikram Yoga fan. All classes are beginner you push yourself to your own limit when you are ready. At the end of 90 minutes I come out feeling refreshed and have a natural high. I am sticking to my hot yoga - more fun than looking at my tv screen. Report
Thanks so much for this review. I was really wondering about this DVD. I use different DVD's in combination with my own practice and it sounds like this one will add some interesting elements. Report
Thanks for the review, I have many of Jillian's other DVDs and I'm going out tonight to buy this one, so excited to try it out!!! Report
I'll admit that I am curious about the workout, just to see what she does. However, Jillian never struck me as the "type" of person who would be interested in yoga. Bob Harper strikes me as the one who should be doing a yoga video.

Personally, I prefer slow classes like Hatha. I don't like the fast moving ones because you really don't get the time to understand the pose. you're just moving too quickly.

Just bought it today and looking forward to trying it in the morning!! Report
I also did this workout for free from On Demand and it totally kicked by butt!!!! I don't do yoga regularly but enough to know the poses and it is not for beginners. I recommend that people try it for free through On Demand before purchasing it. Report
I like what work outs I do right now. I think for now I will pass on spending money on this DVD.
I love this DVD! I am a weekly Bikram Yogi, so I enjoy an intense yoga workout. This Yoga workout is not really relaxing, as is Bikram, but add it to a heated room, release them toxins, and you will feel AMAZING after. After the stretch I like to lay down and mediate for a few minutes... it rocks, honestly- if you are like me, regular yoga is just not intense enough- this video is intense and fun! Report
I hope that someday down the road I can meet the requirements to use this workout DVD. It sounds like a good one to do!! Report
I would totally buy this video! I like Jillian and I have her other videos it would be nice to see her a bit toned down plus I would like a bigger yoga workout. Report
No i don't think i'll be getting this video
anytime soon. I like my Body balance(body flow)
we have at the gym. and if i do get back into yoga it
will be the normal slow and relaxing.
My body is not able to do the wheel pose
or the crow pose at all. Report
Thanks for the review, this is a DVD that would pique my interest and I would like to know more about. From reading your review, I know it's not right for me. I'm a total beginner to yoga and not strong at all. I have a yoga for beginners DVD which is challenging enough, and I constantly have to modify poses when I take a class. So, maybe in the future after I build some strength and am more familiar with advanced poses, I may consider adding this to my routine.

Thanks again! Report
I get quite bored with yoga, but I feel great after a long stretching session. Thanks for the detailed review: this sounds like something I would like! Plus, if I were to get a personal trainer for myself, I would love a Jillian-style personality. Report
Well written review, appreciate all the details that went into sharing about the DVD. I will not be using this DVD. I do basic yoga, stretching, strengthening and breathing. It is a combination of stress release and strengthening. I would find a program like Jillian's very stressful as its too intense and high energy. I prefer my yoga to be closer to meditation than a workout. Report
Thank you for the review SP_STEPF Report
I don't think I would buy this DVD. I tried her 30 day shred by checking it out from the library and it was definitely good. But I don't enjoy unclear directions and I prefer yoga to be relaxing. Report
can you be more annoying than her? nope, can't see how. that goes for her partner and the whole show. what a moop. Report
I Love Jillian Micheal huge Fan of hers, BUT I like my wii fit for my yoga, even though I love what she does & have tried other products of hers I watched a preview of this dvd & said it might be to much for me, tyty for posting more info on it Report
Yoga is yoga, and cardio is cardio. I don't have the time to do a whole lot of both; but then again, I expect to be advancing slowly after the first big advancing from gentle/gym yoga/fusion that has taken well over a year. I have been practicing nearly 3 years. I get enough of the drill sergeant from the master instructor over at the studio--primarily practicing at home, which is no small feat as much pre-conditioning is involved to match the level they teach at the studio. The style the studio overwhelmingly teaches is slow flow, but it is ANYTHING but laid-back or sleepy. This yoga kind of illustrates the differences between climbing steep hills (the studio), running a footrace (what I did before, rapid flow/fusion--little attention to form); or, in Jillian's case, mild rock climbing (which I have no interest in). Report
I would and enjoy yoga slow and relaxing! It's a good way to stretch and loosen up! Report
I am a Jillian Micheal Fan! I preordered the Yoga Melt I generally use Yoga for relaxation but this DVD is definitely more of a Yoga Shred! I do like it alot tho and enjoyed it! Report
Oh thanks! I was thinking of getting this DVD but I've never tried YOGA so maybe I should start with something a little less aggressive! Thanks for the info! Report
I am looking for something for a beginner thank you for the information I now know to stay away from this one for now. Report
I did the first part last night and I got a great workout. I wore my heart rate monitor and I burned 304 calories! I couldn't believe it. I am 5'5" 144 pounds. Thats a lot of calories for a yoga practice in 30 minutes. I have been doing yoga for at least 5 years, so I was familiar with the poses. I do not recommend this DVD to newcomers to yoga. I would start out with something less demanding. I agree with the above comment about her directions, she doesn't specify which foot to use..left or right..which can be confusing. But overall, I enjoyed this DVD as a workout to burn calories and build strength, not for the calming meditative benefits you would usually get from other styles of yoga. If thats what you're looking for this is not the workout for you, but if you are ready to sweat and burn some calories, look no further! Report
Jillian's DVDs motivate me. She pushes me to the point of almost tears, and I thank her later when I get results. I bought this DVD and am looking forward to it. My fear with yoga has always been that I wouldn't get much of a burn and if I should focus my time on something that I wasn't burning enough calories, so I'm really looking forward to adding this DVD to my workout schedule. Report
I just picked this DVD up from Costco last night for $7.99. I can't wait to try it tomorrow! I love Jillian's style and am looking forward to her approach to yoga. Report
many opinions about this one. I have chronic back, neck and shoulder muscle injuries and I enjoy yoga for the stretch while working on my core. I tried a more advanced yoga class last year and it wasn't for me - doubt if this is, either. think I'll skip it..... Report
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