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This review is for the Nintendo DS information title, Let's Yoga, developed by Vanpool and published by Konami. The product is more of a guide to various yoga positions, so don't expect any game play.
The product starts by offering a variety of yoga moves which you can view either individually, or as part of a longer programme. Each of these different poses is displayed by a model on the screen in great detail. You are able to tilt the Nintendo DS to be able to see the model's position from every angle, to help you recreate each pose. There are five different difficulty levels in the game, Naga, Krishna, Ganesha, Vishnu and Shiva, so it's quite easy to get into the product.
You can use this product to be able to create your own yoga programme with a range of different positions. This takes a little bit of experience in using the product, but like most parts of Let's Yoga, everything is quite easy to figure out and the controls are logical and easy to use. You do of course have to move around with the console to some degree so that you're able to read the next instructions that you have to follow.
There is also a set programme which you can work through, called The Master's Lesson, which lets you work through the different poses in a set manner, and this is also a good introduction to the game. The Master's Lesson has 25 different exercises some are quite easy, whilst some do take some effort to master.
Each of the different poses is explained well, and they are enjoyable to follow. They are all rated using three different criteria, energy, flexibility and balance. The effects of working through each exercise are given, as are the benefits, and you can choose which form of yoga you think would be best for you. You should be aware that breathing is important, and this product does remind you of that, and you shouldn't over-exert yourself, as it is possible to over-stretch and cause yourself some difficulties.
The graphics are satisfactory, and sufficiently clear to be able to follow all of the different poses, despite some of these being quite complex. The models are in displayed in 3D mode, and as mentioned, you are able to see the move from all different angles. There isn't much sound or music in the game, but there is a soothing voice which takes users through each of the poses. It's certainly the most relaxing product that I've ever used on the Nintendo DS!
This product has no multi-player function, although this is rather to be expected with subject matter such as yoga. It is possible to see some possible benefits of being able to link different programmes with others, and this might be a useful addition for a future release of Let's Yoga.
This product is currently available on play.com for 14.50 pounds currently, but if you are happy with a second-hand copy, these are available at the time of writing for around ten pounds on sites such as eBay and Amazon. The game is rated as 3+, so is suitable for children of nearly all ages.
In summary, this product is of really of interest to those wanting to learn more about yoga. With that premise, the product does work at being an informational tool and is more flexible to use than a traditional book or manual. If you can pick the product up for a reasonable price and this is a subject that interests you, then Let's Yoga is an interesting addition to the range of Nintendo DS titles that are available.
New Year, New health kick! So I thought I'd try this. Yoga.
I didn't expect alot to be honest, but this game is pretty good. It's like having you're own personal Yoga instructor. The main part of the game is the Master's lesson.
The Master explains what you are learning, and the more spiritual aspects of Yoga, and then you are taken through a Yoga set with your instructor.
They start off simply, and progress gradually.
You get told the name of the pose you are doing, and then you have visual and verbal instructions of what to do. The verbal instructions are brilliant, because having to keep looking at the DS while trying to do yoga is both inconvenient and difficult.
The visual instructions are easy to follow aswell, as its actually a woman doing the pose's instead of pictures or diagrams.
Whenever you are at the menu of the game the top screen shows your total time spent doing yoga,the amount of days you have been doing yoga for, and it shows you your energy points, flexibility points and balance points.
There is also a Yoga course section containing five sections.
Section one: Short Set
This is where you can choose a short set of poses. They are headed under Mind, Body, and soul, and are titled things like 'Restful sleep', 'Boost your motivation' and 'enlarge your chest'. You can choose sets that help with many different aspects of your life.
And after using their 'Get to sleep' and 'avoid headaches' sets, I can only testilfy that they work!
Section 2: Random Yoga
Select your difficulty level and the game will automatically set you a 10-60 minute yoga course.
Section 3: Chair Yoga
A selection of lessons that you can do while sat in a chair, which is handy for people who work in an office!
Section 4: My Yoga
Select from the list of poses and create yourself a yoga session that you will love!
Section 5: Pose list
A list of every single pose. You can examine each one in detail or just have a single pose lesson!
This game is one of the greatest fitness games I've ever played. It can be as simple or difficult as you like, and it makes the excersise relaxing and enjoyable.
Before I got Let's Yoga for the NDS, my experience of practicing yoga was limited to doing a Yogalates DVD that I bought a few years ago and has since been gathering dust.
My fiancé got me 'Let's Yoga' and also 'Quick Yoga Training' for the NDS. I tried them both at the same time and I immediately preferred 'Let's Yoga' because it has a voice that instructs you on how to manipulate your body into all the poses. You still need to look at the animation on the screen to understand some of the moves, but having the voice really does help.
There is also an animation which helps you control the timing of your breathing which is really important to get all that revitalizing oxygen into your system!
First of all you need to set up a profile by choosing a gender (this is pretty pointless as the animated person is always a girl!) and an outfit to wear. It records how much yoga you have done in time and days and records how many energy, flexibility and balance points you have accumulated. You can also view this information for specific days on the Calendar.
On the main screen there are several options:
*** Guide ***
Here you will find yogic tips, explanations of the lesson screens and other things you should know before beginning yoga. It basically tells you what to wear, that no mat is required, not to do yoga after meals and to drink water as you exercise. It then goes on to explain how the Breathing Meter works and the 3 different positions: Standing, Forward Sitting and Side Sitting (this means lying either on your front on back). It also explains different terminology such as asana and chakra and how you should perform the poses.
*** Settings ***
The settings are very straightforward and easy to change. There are 4 tabs: Config, Outfit, Colours and Other.
Under the Config tab you can:
* turn the Music on or off and adjust the volume
* turn the Voice on or off and adjust the volume
* turn the Subtitles on or off
* turn the Breathing Guide on or off and adjust the volume
* change the animated symbol of the Breathing Meter
The Music is only played whilst you choose your options and not when you do your workout, so it doesn't distract you, but it's not my kind of thing so I have it turned off.
I always have the Voice turned on as it's so helpful to perform the moves and it offers guidance on breathing and alignment.
I also have the Subtitles turned on as it's a good back-up to the voice.
I have the Breathing Guide turned on as this is one of my favourite things about 'Let's Yoga' and makes it far superior to using a conventional yoga workout DVD. Breathing is such an important element to doing yoga and you have to know when to breathe in and out. The Breathing Guide/Meter makes it so simple because the animated symbol appears on the screen behind the animated person and grows larger when you need to inhale and then gets smaller and disappears as you exhale. As well as this visual aid, you also have the noise of inhalation and exhalation to help you.
Under the Outfit tab you can:
* Select from 3 different characters (they're all girls)
* Select a different shirt (there are 4 to choose from when you start the game and more are unlocked as you progress through the Master's Lessons)
* Select different pants (same choices of patterns as the shirts)
* Select a different yoga mat (there are 5 to choose from)
Under the Colours tab you can:
* Select from 7 different colour schemes. In one of the Master's Lessons he will tell you that using different colours will influence your mood and make practicing yoga more beneficial in different ways depending on the chakra you are focusing on.
Under the Others tab you can:
* Delete User
* View the credits of the game
*** Master's Lesson ***
This is the best place to start for complete beginners, as you will work through the basics of yoga and all 25 teachings of the Master Yogi. There are 5 different classes which get progressively harder: Naga, Krishna, Ganesha, Vishnu and Shiva. Each class has 5 lessons to complete and the game is designed so that you have to complete the beginner's classes before you can do the more advanced ones. I think this is a good feature in terms of safety, as your body needs to become accustomed to stretching and holding poses.
Before each lesson there is an introduction from the Master Yogi for you to read, telling you about the spiritual background behind yoga and how it can help in everyday life. The screen then changes so that the animated girl you created appears on the top screen and you simply follow her instructions.
During the workout she will advise you on correct alignment and your breathing. On the top screen it also tells you whether the position will be sitting or standing and also how much time of your workout has elapsed.
Each lesson lasts around 20 minutes and as a beginner I find it sufficient to do just 1 lesson everyday. You can pause the lesson by tapping the bottom screen and then you can use a stylus/finger to rotate the image if you need to view it from a different angle.
I have just completed lesson 4 of the Krishna class and I have found it challenging but not so difficult that I want to give up. I have only come across 1 pose that has been impossible for me to do, Heroes pose, but my fiancé told me that at his Kung Fu class only a few flexible people could do this pose so I'm not too discouraged!
*** Yoga Course ***
If you're more experienced in practicing yoga and don't want to go through all the beginner classes then you can select Yoga Course to get a workout.
There are different modes you can select:
* Short Set - there is a selection of simple 5-minute exercises that are divided into Body, Mind and Beauty categories. This is good if you want to fix a certain problem, such as headaches, or if you want to boost a certain feature, such as beautiful skin.
* Random - here you can set a time and difficulty level and the game will automatically create a 10 - 60 minute workout. There are 5 difficulty levels and you can choose whether you want to boost your Energy, Flexibility or Balance points.
This is a brilliant feature of the game as there are numerous combinations of workouts that you can create, so you're unlikely to repeat the same workout or get bored.
* Chair Yoga - these are exercises you can do whilst sitting in a chair so they're perfect for when you need a break from your work or studies.
* My Yoga - here you can create your own workout by combining all your favourite poses.
* Pose List - this useful feature allows you to review any of the poses in more detail. The animated girl appears and you can rotate the angle and view the pose from different directions.
*** My advice ***
If you're a complete beginner like me and your exercise regime consists of going for the occasional walk then I would highly recommend doing the Master's Lessons. The first time I "played the game" I did a random workout and I got a bit carried away and selected a 50-minute workout on Level 1. Whilst I was doing the workout I felt really good - it must have been the rush of endorphins my body experienced from stretching and awakening muscles that had been redundant for so long! However, the following day my muscles really ached and it felt like I'd pounded the treadmill for an hour! So if you do the Master's Lessons it will make sure you build up your yoga practice gradually so you don't hurt yourself.
I told my mum about this game and she was really interested in buying a DS so she could play it. However, as much as I love this game, I dissuaded her from buying a DS as I didn't think the console would be suitable for her, so it would be a waste of money to buy a DS just for one game. She's in her mid-60's and has arthritis and lots of other ailments so we agreed the screen would be too small for her.
Each workout consists of a series of standing poses and then sitting poses (or vice versa) and you have to move the DS from the floor and onto a table or chair so that you can see it. This doesn't bother me as the workout gives you plenty of time between moves to adjust the position of the DS, but she told me that she would find it annoying. If you could plug the DS into a TV or monitor then it would be more suitable for her. I also thought that because of her age and physical condition, it would be safer if she went to a proper yoga class.
*** Summary ***
Let's Yoga is an excellent "game" and they have made it really easy to use with enough options to keep your interest sustained for a long time. I try to do at least 20 minutes of yoga everyday and there are so many benefits. My body is a lot more toned and I feel more relaxed and energised - I love being a lean, mean yoga machine!
Learn basic yoga skills such as the Triangle Pose right on your DS! The game walks you step-by-step through a yoga lesson, and shows you how to pose correctly. There are five classes for you to take: Naga Class, Krishna Class, Ganesha Class, Vishnu Class and Shiva Class. There's even a Beginners' Mode for those who need to know where to start their training.