1995, $2.99, at Goodwill Superstore on San Fernando
First Impression: “Discover the dynamic vitality of being truly fit.”
Second Impression: “Discover the joy of having shadows Photoshopped over your armpit hair.”
The intro begins. A ponytailed Bryan Kest, in jeans as tight as Billy’s from Stranger Things, struts his stuff in a leather jacket. Who knew your soap opera boyfriend was a yoga instructor? He looks over his shoulder, lips slightly parted, staring down the camera with an intense gaze. He walks in slow motion to his lair, a brick building that Dexter Morgan probably used as a kill room. Do you dare follow?
Inside the yoga studio, he’s freed his bounteous locks from the constraints of a ponytail. He has the thick, long hair of a Vegas magician. He has indeed made most of his clothing disappear, but now wears acid-wash jean shorts over his leotard. Who does that?
We meet Bryan’s dead-eyed disciples. The men are shirtless and the women are wearing flesh-toned leotards. Everyone looks naked. Bryan paces among the students, offering wisdom. “Yoga’s not about being loose or strong. Yoga’s about…” here he pauses, having not yet made this part up… “releasing the tension.”
Nothing about this workout relieves tension. As the routine progresses, Bryan starts to get… handsy with his students. Yoga instructors do sometimes correct their student’s alignment, but this is just beyond. Here he uses correcting a pose as an excuse to manhandle this poor lady:
I start to feel that I am a witness to a crime. This is not so much an exercise DVD, as a piece to be entered into evidence.
By now, the music has gone full Tangerine Dream as Bryan Kest invades his helpers’ personal space without regard for decency or cameras. The danger that was hinted at in the intro has now manifested. I switch off the DVD and hope that his students can find a way to put their lives back together.