That fitness DVD may not be good for you
"A good yoga master knows which techniques can be safely taught via DVDs and which ones need supervision. I would personally never teach certain things on DVD as I know the problems one may face while doing difficult postures or very powerful breathing techniques," celebrity yoga guru Bharat Thakur told IANS.
"As far as learning yoga from celebrities goes, it is like learning acting from me! I would advise against it," he added.
Fitness expert Tasneem Zaki says DVDs can teach you the basics, but no two individuals are the same and require different sets of training.
"Not every workout is meant for every person. So when a client comes to me, I chalk out a fitness plan for him depending on his fitness levels and fat percentage. What would have worked for Bipasha Basu might not work for some other person," said Tasneem.
Hollywood veteran Jane Fonda was the first to start the trend by releasing her maiden workout videotape in 1982 and after that a lot of Hollywood celebrities like Jessica Simpson and Carmen Electra have come out with their fitness videos.
In the last two years, some Bollywood beauties have also ventured to do the same - Shilpa Shetty was the first, then Bipasha followed and now item girl Sherlyn Chopra has joined the bandwagon with her fitness DVD.
The demand for fitness DVDs shot up after Kareena Kapoor acquired size zero for Tashan (2008) and gave credit to "power yoga" for her extra slim figure.
Delhi-based yoga instructor Zubin Atre says he has been getting unlimited inquiries from people who want to try "power yoga".
"People don't know what power yoga is but they will come to me asking to be taught power yoga because Kareena Kapoor swears by it and has lost oodles of weight," said Atre.
In a way, Atre sees it as a positive change because people are now focussing on their fitness, courtesy these celebrities.
"In India, even though we have got yoga in legacy, the art form has reached out to people because of celebrities as they present yoga and fitness in a glamorous way," said Atre.
But Noida-based yoga instructor Vineeta Gogia feels otherwise and says celebrities are not giving the right information about yoga.
"If you have observed, all these celebrities already have well-toned bodies and then they launch these fitness DVDs, raising the expectations of people from yoga and fitness centres," explained Gogia.
"They know their target audience and to cash in on it, they launch such videos," she added.
So, are these DVDs mere marketing gimmicks?
"Let's be honest. Today marketing and branding is the king. Granted that false expectations will happen, but the positive side is it motivates people to take up an ancient Indian health regime that is showing its benefit all over the world," said Thakur.
"Yoga is also a business like any other and it is subject to the same pitfalls as any other product or service. I would ask people to learn from someone who has proved himself and someone they can trust. Yoga can tone up your body and it also helps in losing weight," he added.