Kimberly Fowler's Yoga for Athletes DVD

Kimberly Fowler's Yoga for Athletes DVD
Kimberly Fowler's Yoga for Athletes. Courtesy of

Yoga for Athletes is a sixty-minute yoga DVD led by Kimberly Fowler, a California yoga teacher and owner of five Yoga and Spinning (YAS) fitness centers on the west coast. Fowler is also a former lawyer, was at one time Nike's "Face of Yoga," and is a brain tumor survivor who credits yoga as a major force in her recovery. She has several popular yoga DVDs and books on the market, including The No Om Zone.

About the Yoga

Fowler's style is very straightforward. The yoga sequence she teaches on this DVD is suitable for intermediate and above yoga practitioners. Athletes, especially runners and cyclists, tend to have tightness on their lower bodies, so there's a focus on the flexibility of those areas. Improved balance through strengthening the core is also of great benefit to competitors in many sports, as is general strengthening of the upper body, both of which areas are targeted here. Despite the title, there's plenty here for yoga students who don't do any other sports either. The pacing of the flow is great and Fowler's alignment instructions are right on. To its credit, this video has the feeling of a real yoga class, putting you in the room with Fowler as she leads five students (including three men) in a realistic yoga studio setting, albeit one in which the students wear matching Yoga for Athletes tops, sip water from Yoga for Athletes bottles, and wipe their sweaty brows on Yoga for Athletes towels.

About the Marketing Slogan

The cover of the DVD proclaims “No Chanting. No Granola. No Sanskrit,” which is the slogan Fowler has adopted for her style of teaching. While this may appeal to an audience of people who fear yoga will be too touchy-feely, but it also serves to alienate those who already know better.

Her desire to present yoga as primarily a beneficial physical pursuit is done a disservice by this outdated marketing, which seeks to sensationalize what is actually quite commonplace. It’s not difficult to find yoga without chanting or granola these days (it's called Power Yoga and has been around since the 1990s) and everyone knows yoga isn’t just for hippies anymore. Plus many athletes (including some Olympians) find that the mental benefits of yoga as just as crucial to honing their competitive edge as the physical ones. Fowler's prohibition on Sanskrit in particular,  is limiting and smacks of xenophobia, while also leaving her without anything to call poses that are commonly known by their Sanskrit names, like chaturanga danda sanna. She does allow herself one slip-up however, thanking her students with a namaste at the end of the session.

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