Vancouver Yoga; 151-1917 W. Fourth Ave., Vancouver, B.C. V6J 1M7, Canada; (604) 732-3108; 2 DVDs, 270 minutes.
A search of my video review index, which dates back to 1990 and includes 250-odd reviews, reveals that this is the first one I've seen dedicated specifically to happiness. Considering the times we live in, we probably should be seeing more of these. Actually, when you think about it, yoga's central question has always been "How can I be truly happy?" I'm not convinced that Power Yoga is the answer, but the folks on this video give it the old college try.
The two-disc set offers almost 4Q hours of instruction, comprising five routines: "The Quickie" (30 minutes), "Total Happiness" (80 minutes), "Magically Hips" (55 minutes), "Strong, Free, and Happy" (53 minutes), and "Daily Dose of Bliss" (40 minutes). Like some other DVDs on the market, the individual routines are constructed from a stockpile of sequence snippets, so while each is outwardly different from its companions, there's a strain of familiarity running through the batch.
Included are the standard challenging Power Yoga sequences—Sun Salutation, standing poses, hip openers, and so on—reminiscent of K. Pattabhi Jois–style Ashtanga, though not as rigorously defined. The sequences are relatively accessible, except for a few advanced arm balances, with straightforward "Do this, then that" instructions, perfect for yoga practitioners weary of Iyengar-type agonizing over nitpicky alignment details and reliance on props. Eoin Finn, proprietor of Vancouver Yoga, and his coterie of 20-ish models have a buoyant, playful approach to the practice. If you don't feel happy after 30 minutes with these young, up-with-people types, you're probably an unredeemable cynic—like me.
Contributing Editor Richard Rosen teaches public yoga classes in Northern California. He is the author of The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama.