Linda Barker is a celebrity Interior Designer. She is most famous for TV Series “Changing Rooms” in which two neighbours would perform a makeover of one another’s living rooms. This usually involved building some shit out of MDF and gluing bits of fabric to the wall. I don’t know about you but that’s the sort of essential qualification I look for when sourcing a yoga instructor.
If you are wondering what drew Linda to yoga, on the back of the DVD box there is the following credit: “Candles from Linda Barker’s range from Arran Aromatics”. This probably explains the existence this workout DVD. She has to shift those candles somehow.
Inside the mind of Linda Barker
Barker starts the workout by introducing us to her trainer Izzi Valenti from the British Wheel of Yoga. Now don’t get too fond of Izzi – that is all you are going to see of her. From then on, Linda Barker is on her own. Although to be fair there is both Voiceover-Linda and Yogaing-Linda so it feels like we’ve got a double act.
Don't get too comfy there, Izzi. Your bus is in ten minutes.
The first section is “Lying Postures”. Voiceover-Linda encourages us to relax and then asks “How do you feel right now?”
I’m very well, thanks, Linda. Nice of you to ask.
She then gets us to visit each part of our body and to encourage the mind and body to unite before asking “What’s going on in your mind right now?”
Well funny, you should ask that Linda. I’m actually lying here trying to think of something to say about your yoga workout for CLCW.
“Acknowledge any thoughts and then decide – quite consciously – for the hour or so, all thoughts can be left aside.”
Well that’s a nice idea, but if I do that I won’t have anything to write up, do you see? And then where will be? In a world bereft of a shiny new CLCW write-up that’s where.
“You will be absolutely absorbed in your yoga practise. Centred, Focused, Non-Judgemental and in the present moment”
Woah. Hold on there, Linda. Non-Judgemental? How the hell’s that going to work? I think we may have to re-think the parameters of our relationship.
I was quite conflicted at this point
There are eight different sections on this DVD – Warms Up, Lying Postures, Sitting Postures, Standing Postures, Kneeling Postures, Breathing Exercises, Sun Sequence and Moon Sequence.
Mostly it’s lovely. You stretch and bend and centre your breathing and do that standing on one leg thing like on the front of the Wii Fit box.
Or the Tree Pose as it’s more properly known.
“Think of the quality of your tree” Linda said soothingly at which point I lost my balance. It’s fair to say my tree is not a high quality tree.
This is my tree.
Sometimes the instructions were a little confusing. For one exercise we were instructed to lie on our backs with our knees bent. Linda said “Imagine your body is on the ground floor of a four storey block”. Which was fair enough. If there’s one thing I’m good at while lying on the floor it’s imagining I’m lying on the floor in slightly – but not completely – different circumstances.
She then complicated it by saying, “On your next inhalation, raise your buttocks to the first floor”. Wait a minute. If my body is lying on the ground floor, what are my buttocks doing going up to the first floor? Are they travelling independently? Am I supposed to be imagining that my buttocks have broken free the tyranny of the rest of my body and decided to strike out on their own?
I suspect that Linda really wanted to imagine that my whole body was the four-story building and my buttocks were a sort of arse elevator free to stop of the first, second, third or fourth floor as directed. In which case she should have said so in the first place and not just expected my arse to change character mid-way through the exercise.
The exercises were clear and easy to understand even if they weren’t easy to do. (I maintain that nobody can do the plank. Any video evidence to the contrary is just cunning computer trickery. Like Pixar movies. Or the Moon Landing.) Voiceover-Linda’s voice is soothing and calming to listen to. Which is odd because Yogaing-Linda’s is a bit irritating.
I didn’t see those damn candles anywhere. I assume they were in the Moon Sequence bit because that was at night but those things in the front are fire bowls not candles and those look like lights in the background. Where are they? I had been looking forward to them ever since I read about them on the back of the box. I can’t even go on the website to check what I should be looking for as the DVD was made 10 years ago. The Arran Aromatics web page doesn’t mention Linda Barker so there was presumably an almighty feud of some sort and now the descendents of Arran and the descendents of Barker are sworn enemies.
These are not candles!
Linda doesn’t use the word ‘difficult’, she uses the word ‘strong’. When she tells you the next one is ‘a strong pose’ you know some serious shit is going down.
Would I do this work out again?
I really do like Yoga. There’s a lot of emphasis on stretching and feeling content which is the sort of workout my cat would approve of. I like the ridiculously difficult poses as well (apart from the plank) and who knows, one day I may even manage to do one. Of course I’m all hyped up on yoga at the moment so it might just be the positive energy talking.