Video Fitness

AM Chi for Beginners

David Dorian Ross

This is a decent tape, but it's not my style. I got it more out of curiosity than anything else. It was interesting to hear the instructor explain some of the philosophy behing chi gung, but I didn't find the workout to be all that energizing or relaxing, either one. Maybe I'm just not "enlightened" enough!

Annie S.

After I hurt my back, I got this tape because Tai Chi and Chi Kung were just about all I could do for awhile. This is a 20-minute routine to help ease yourself into the day and gather energy (chi) to prepare your body for all the stresses of the upcoming day. I love it and do it almost every day. It is definitely at a beginnerís level and none of the movements require any level of flexibility.

I got this along with Back Care Yoga, but found that AM Chi was a much kinder and gentler back workout for the following reasons:

1. All of AM Chi is done standing with knees bent and back in the neutral position. Portions of Back Care Yoga are on the floor, which isnít as comfortable for me (it depends what your back problem is).

2. In Back Care Yoga, you were switching positions frequently and, I thought, a little too quickly.

3. No twisting of the torso in AM Chi.

4. There was never any struggle to maintain balance in AM Chi. I was never unsteady because both feet were firmly on the ground at all times. I teetered a couple of times in Back Care Yoga.

5. The forward bends in AM Chi were done standing and it was clear that the bends were from the hip, knees bent. Back Care Yoga had a couple of forward bends done on the floor. On the floor, thereís a tendency to do forward bends from the waist, which isnít good for the lower back. Also, the standing forward bends in Back Care Yoga were pretty intense and I thought you had to already be pretty flexible to execute them.

6. I found I relaxed more with AM Chi. Maybe itís because I wasnít switching positions as often and the movements didnít actually stress the back as it was stretching.

There are some nice images in the names of the positions: holding up heaven like a pillar, seven pieces of brocade, horse rider; dragon. And you feel all mystical and floaty. But I did feel a little silly ďbreaking up stuck chiĒ. It seemed like a jarring image to introduce in the middle of this gentle flowing routine.

How much do I love AM Chi? It would be one of my desert island video workouts even if I didnít have a bad back. The setting is stunning, the music coordinates so well with the movements, and the instructorís voice is very soothing and meditative, and he gives excellent cueing on breathing and position. I do this workout almost every morning either alone or as a cooldown after a more vigorous workout.

Instructor comments: David Dorian Ross is a perfect match for this video Ė his voice is calm and meditative, but the cueing is excellent. I think Tai Chi-type workouts are the most difficult to lead because you have to cue breathing, position, and mental visualization. He is the best at simultaneously cueing all three that Iíve encountered thus far.

Jackie D.

I love this video ! It is so relaxing, and great to do first thing in the morning when you have to face a day with co-workers from hell serenely ...
It's set on a hawaiian beach with voice over instruction. I like David Dorian Ross's voice, it's calm and relaxing.
The benefits of Qi Gong seem, IMO, similar to yoga, it's both relaxing and energizing. The workout last only 20 minutes (the only draw-back of this video) and is done standing up. It's suitable for all ages and all fitness levels. People who have low tolerance for new agey stuff are better off avoiding it (or can watch part of it on Collage to see if they can tolerate it), but I highly recommend it to all other exercisers.
I love comments such as "drop your pelvis down toward the earth as if you had a long heavy tail like a dinosaur", I find these visualizations very helpful, but I know they put off some people.
It's definitely a keeper and I really want to do more Qi Gong now that I'm enjoying AM Chi so much.

Maryan, Paris


In an attempt to add more mind-body practice into my fitness routine, I picked up AM Chi. It is filmed on a peaceful beach and is meant to ease you into your day gently, through the practice of tai Chi. There is also a companion video called PM Chi for use in the evening.

This video is very beautiful and serene. The music is non-intrusive and the movements are really gentle. Too gentle, I find, for early morning workout. It is just right for a study break, but too easy going for my liking in the AM.

If you want a gentle introduction to Tai Chi, this one is a nice, short video that will give you that. David Dorian Ross is really perfect for instructing this style of workout (looks like he's found his calling). I would definitely recommend

Cori (ziggy2306)

February 28, 2004

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