Okay, logistics taken care of. Now on to the real business at hand.
Title: Cardio Burn Yoga
Yoga Style: Gentle non-traditional vinyasa — flowing motion but no traditional sun salutations.
Suited To: People somewhat familiar (even passing familiarity will work for this, though) with some basic yoga postures since alignment discussion is limited and most of the video involves flowing from one asana to the next.
Props: None suggested. I didn’t find any places where I particularly wanted them, either. (Though some people certainly might.)
Run Time: On this DVD, there’s a 50-minute practice, a 30-minute practice, and a “bonus stretch” section. I’ll be mostly focusing on the 50-minute practice here since my impressions are basically the same for both. (I’ve not actually watched the bonus section.)
(I know this might look alarmist, but I want to make sure people see it.)
On this DVD, there is one area of instruction that I consider to be a safety issue. It is isolated and easily fixed, so I’m okay giving away the DVD anyway. However, it’s significant enough that it gets its own spiffy box.
In the express workout, there is a standing balance section. There is a time when Patricia Moreno, the instructor, suggests pressing the raised foot into the standing knee in order to stabilize the posture. Later during the sequence, while Moreno calls it a “modified” tree pose, it again appears that the foot is balanced against the standing knee. I’ve always been taught that this is a safety issue that can destabilize and injure the knee, so I recommend placing the foot just above or below the knee during that series.
When I first happened across this DVD (purchased as part of a mixed lot on Ebay), I was not enthralled with the “cardio burn” part of the title. Too many times, that’s been code for “yoga infused with weight loss talk,” which is not so much what I need.
When I first tried it out, I was a little perplexed. Though the pace of the class is definitely more flowing than static, neither the pace nor the postures was sufficiently vigorous that it raised my heart rate or left me feeling burny.
When I read the fine print on the back of the case and discovered that the DVD had previously been released under the title Yoga Dance Fusion, things started to make a lot more sense to me.
The basic instructional structure mirrors the way I’ve seen a lot of dance teachers teach parts of a routine, particularly when teaching to non-dancers (read: people like me). Essentially, it goes like this:
- Learn Asana A in isolation.
- Learn Asana B in isolation.
- Practice linking Asanas A and B in a flow. Repeat a few times.
- Learn Asana C in isolation.
- Practice linking Asanas A, B, and C in a flow. Repeat a few times.
- Learn Asana D in isolation.
- Practice linking Asanas A, B, C, and D in a flow. Repeat.
- You get the idea by now, right?
By the end of the practice, I’d definitely had a lot of time to get used to the first half of the flow sequence. I was pretty much an expert at that. Generally, I can picture this being useful for someone who’s partly familiar with some common yoga postures (child’s, cobra, down dog, lunge) but who may have little or no experience linking poses together in any kind of flow. During the practice, there are a lot of chances to figure out how to move from one position to the next.
As far as the physical intensity of the practice, neither of them felt particularly vigorous to me. Even though the shorter practice is actually paced faster than the longer one, both of them spent enough time in poses that I use for resting (cobra, child’s, down dog, knee-down lunge) that it doesn’t give me the sort of fiery practice I tend to want when I follow a DVD. (When I want a more restful practice, I tend to go DVD-free and make up my own.)
The longer practice starts with a grounded flow: moving from child’s pose through to cobra, then back up to a gentle camel. After a few rounds of that, it progresses to include down dog, lunge twist, warrior 3, warrior 2, reverse warrior, and side angle. Of course, it adds them one at a time and offers both the opportunity to practice in isolation and to repeatedly practice each inside a flow.
Also, probably something worth mentioning — Even though a lot of the advertising surrounding the DVD mentions “fat burning” and getting “rid of excess body fat,” there is no mention of it inside the practice itself, at least not the 50-minute one.
Overall, this seems like a reasonable and well-balanced DVD, just one that’s slower-paced and more repetitive than fits my personal taste.