Rachel Grunwell brings you the lowdown on a new way to exercise.
What is it? Yoga classes via the internet.
What's needed? Yogasync subscription, yoga gear and mat.
The experience: New-Plymouth entrepreneur Al Hall dreamt up this big idea of providing yoga tuition 24/7 via the internet. He bills it as bringing yoga "into the 21st century". Yogasync already has 500 international subscribers even before its official global launch this month.
Just don't ask how much it's cost to build this baby on the Amazon Cloud over four years. Al will just say, "I employ 12 staff", and, by the way, he's largely funded it by making moolah through brokering, consulting and branding work. Eventually, he hopes Yogasync will be his main job because he loves that it "brings value to people's lives".
I was keen to hear how this 42-year-old yogi/surfer/roller-blader tripped over the idea. Turns out he suffered a shoulder injury 13 years ago playing volleyball, and one guy's answer to his rehab question was a Mande White yoga tape.
"I had never stretched in my life and so I was sweating, in pain, and I couldn't believe the intensity of the workout," recalls Al.
The yoga poses cured his sore shoulder and he's been a strong believer in yoga's healing powers and health benefits ever since.
When Al asked me to review his online world, he tailor-made some classes for me after asking about my level of ability. The result featured cranes and cool back-bends. I later requested shorter classes (to fit into my busy life) and more challenging moves to test if Al could cater to changing demands. Well, he came up trumps. Meanwhile, I got a kick out of typing in names of poses like "bird of paradise" and practising them.
I loved accessing yoga at home. The kids joined in, too, and there's no wasting time, or petrol money, driving to a studio. I could also please myself with a hard or easy session. And with no need to dress up for workouts, I did one class in my PJs.
My only peeve was that Sarsha wears the same outfit all the time - although I understand this is so every combination of poses look seamless. But one reason I love local yoga classes is that I get to admire my fellow Lululemon-clad yogis - not in a creepy way, I hasten to add, but to admire their fashion sense and form.
Al reasons that the Indian yoga gurus only ever do poses "in their undie shorts" and it's all about good fundamental teaching. So, fair call.
Ultimately, I think Al's yoga dream will fly as it gives so much flexibility to people who want to be "flexible" - pun intended. You can be in Auckland, Gore or London and access these workouts. It really is a stroke of genius to have yoga at the tap of a few buttons.
How much? Subscription rates vary from about $13-$22 monthly.
Worth it? Yes, but perhaps mix it up with local studio classes, too.
Rachel wears: adidas Stella McCartney: Yo Loose tee, $120; S SL straptank, $120; ES SL 7/8 tights, $100. Stockists ph (09) 523 5005