Certified Pilates and fitness instructor Ellen Barrett presents a workout combining yoga moves with Pilates exercises to help tone, strengthen, and burn calories.
Release Date: 7-FEB-2006
Media Type: DVD So here's a portrait of yoga in the 21st Century: this ancient discipline, created thousands of years ago to enhance the meditative experience (the asanas or poses commonly used in hatha yoga were in fact designed to enable meditators to sit quietly, calmly and comfortably for hours on end), is now "a total body blast," with users urged to "get hard core" and "feel the groove," all so "your torso will look buff." At least that's how Ellen Barrett, the relentlessly sunny instructor featured in Crunch Yoga's Super SlimDown: Pilates Yoga Blend, sees it. But while that approach may sound pretty frightening to traditionalists, this can't in fairness be viewed as a typical yoga video; nor does Barrett, who commingles power yoga moves and what she describes as "core-conditioning power pilates," make any claims that it is. Many of the poses--including Warrior II, extended right angle, cobra, locust, and others--will certainly be familiar to yogis. But instead of holding these poses for several breaths, as is common, Barrett takes a more aerobic approach, "pulsing" in and out of positions as if this were a calisthenics class; while that doesn't do much to promote stretching, it does generate a lot of heat and calorie burning. Same goes for the pilates portions, which involve a lot of leg lifts, abdominal work, and other mat-based exercises. One might wish that the instruction were more detailed when it comes to proper breathing, alignment, and so on; it's also a bit paradoxical that while the "Crunch philosophy" states that their fitness programs are designed for "people from all walks of life regardless of shape, size, or ability," the only folks we see onscreen are uniformly attractive, bare-midriffed young women in amazing shape. But hey, whatever. Call it what you will, this is a fast-moving, reasonably challenging program that will likely find favor with many. --Sam Graham