You Are in Control1 Feb, 2003 By: Dan Bennett
That's not simply a self-help phrase designed to get you in shape for the new year. As fitness trends become increasingly high-tech, it's the truth. Look only as far as “The Interactive Yoga Series” from Maryland-based Bodywisdom Media.
The titles enjoy proprietary DVD software that allows consumers to customize their workouts in virtually unlimited ways. The viewer can use the DVD menus to program various interactive options.
“I had a bad back for a long time, and I picked up a few yoga videos, trying to feel better,” said company president Mike Wohl. “But they actually made me feel worse. Later I discovered yoga in a big way and found out the tremendous advantages it had to offer.”
Wohl, who enjoyed wild success in the unlikely arena of candle selling, founded Bodywisdom Media. Armed with an undergraduate degree in optical engineering physics and a master's degree in biomedical engineering, Wohl was seeking funding for his doctoral studies when he began making and selling candles, soon growing the part-time job into a company employing 60 other people.
While on his honeymoon and enjoying a trip around the world, sitting on a beach in Southeast Asia, Wohl began thinking about a yoga DVD with considerably more options than what he had seen.
“I wanted a product with a tremendous amount of depth,” Wohl said. “Everybody said the product I wanted was impossible, putting so much information and so many options on a single disc. But working with a team of programmers, we did it.”
Titles include Yoga for Inflexible People, Yoga for Athletes and Yoga for Everybody on DVD, as well as 15-Minute Office Yoga on CD-ROM. The product is new, but already selling in Target, Best Buy, Borders and Wild Oats. The titles are top sellers at Amazon.com. In February, the company will release a similar line involving Pilates, with five different levels on one disc.
“Through careful production, we can combine so many different phases of a fitness routine into one product,” Wohl said. “This is information that can be condensed for the benefit of the person viewing and makes the product that much more convenient for store shelves.”