NOTE: I received a free review copy of this kit to review for the site metapsychology.net.
The Yoga for Weight Loss Workout Kit includes three components: the workout DVD (in a simple cardboard sleeve), two 3-pound purple handled “push-up” weights, and a round purple 8” x 3” foam yoga block (Gaiam calls this a “bolster,” but Jill refers to it as the “disk” during the workouts). The DVD contains two workouts, each just over 30 minutes in length. Instructor Jill Miller describes the first workout, Functional Strengthening, as a session to focus on toning the buttocks, core, and arms. For the second workout, Kinetic Conditioning, she states that you will be “consciously sweating.” Finally, the DVD also includes “Core Connect,” a bonus abs segment. All three sessions are filmed outdoors, and Jill is teaching in bare feet, with the only other equipment needed being a yoga mat. I have broken down each of the workouts in greater detail below.
Functional Strengthening, 32 minutes
Jill begins with four basic warm-up moves: trapezius shrugs, pectoral press (with disk), wood chop chair, and sunflower salutes. She then moves to the mat for core work, including a few challenging bicycle variations. Coming back to standing, she uses the weights to perform squats with a shoulder press and then with a biceps/triceps move. The next series of exercises are a sort of variation on dead lifts involving both balance and upper body weights work. Finally, Jill returns to the floor for a few finishing postures, including upward plank, cobbler’s pose, and seated twist; a short (3 minute) savasana concludes the practice.
Kinetic Conditioning, 34.5 minutes
This workout begins with the same four warm-up moves as in Functional Strengthening, but this time using the weights. Plank walks follow, progressively picking up the pace and ending with a stretch. Next is a series of skier squats, first repeated three times with the disk, then three times with the weights. Upright frog (plies) and triangle chops are performed the same way—i.e., first without the weights, then with weights. Other unique exercises in this session include flamingo swings, which are designed to strengthen the ankles, and tree pose with the weights. Jill finishes on the floor with what she calls “face up pigeon” (more commonly known as thread-the-needle) and a short (3 minute) savasana.
Core Connect, 15 minutes
In this segment, Jill begins by developing conscious awareness of the abdominals through use of a crunch with an “ssss” sound. She also incorporates the props, performing a twisting crunch with the disk and plank knee-ins with the hands on the push-up weights. Finally, she does a series of challenging leg lowers while seated on the disk, ending with half-boat pose. Jill finishes with a few stretches, including revolved abdominal pose (using the disk), sphinx pose, and a brief savasana.
This kit definitely offers something from Jill Miller that we haven’t seen before. She does an excellent job of staying true to her yoga roots while still providing challenging, strength-focused workouts. I’m not convinced that these workouts would be likely to produce weight loss per se, but they could certainly be the foundation of a beginning strength program. Furthermore, even more advanced exercisers will likely benefit from Jill’s skill in taking the body through unique ranges of motion and providing superb functional training. Although some of the moves in these workouts are probably a bit too demanding for new exercisers, overall, Jill is quite accessible, and I would recommend the Yoga for Weight Loss Kit to a fairly wide audience.
I love Jill, and as always, I think she provides great instruction here, including mirrored cueing. I thought her voice almost sounded as if she was shouting--it seems a bit more strained than in her other DVDs--but that's probably because this is her first video where she is featured outdoors.
Beth C (aka toaster)
January 20, 2009
I finally discovered Jill Miller this Spring and have loved everything I've tried from her, so I decided to get this kit when I was wanting more. The kit includes:
~ 3-lb weights with handles. I like these actually, even though they are light. They work well for a little extra work when doing pushups and side planks. And they act as mini pushup stands. They were part of the reason I wanted this set, and I'm not disappointed with them.
~ Round yoga block. I don't really need this, but it is a little bit larger than my regular yoga blocks, so it is nice in some cases to have a wider base, like when you are putting your hips on it.
~ DVD with 3 workouts (Functional Strengthening, Kinetic Conditioning, and Bonus Core.)
Functional Conditioning is pretty basic and definitely geared toward beginners, so it is probably not something I will do much. However, I enjoyed it the time I did it, just because I enjoy being led by Jill. I always feel like I am tuning into my body more when I do, and it felt good for me, even if I don't think it will make me stronger.
Kinetic Conditioning has a little more substance to it, but is still not too difficult. I do think it includes some nice functional work for the smaller muscles in your shoulders and upper back though. Again, I probably won't do it much, but I felt good when I was doing it.
The core work is actually pretty nice. It starts out easy, and none of the moves last very long. However, with focus I find that this can be pretty effective. The final leg lift moves are actually pretty tough. I have discovered because of the chaptering, I can pretty easily get to the bicycle moves in the 1st workout, the walking plank move in the 2nd workout, and then finish up with the Bonus core work and get a pretty decent core workout in about 15 minutes.
I normally wouldn't want to pay $30 (the price at Target) for what amounts to a 15 minute core workout (since I won't be using the other sections that much.) But I'm not disappointed with this purchase, since I do like the weights that it comes with, and I really enjoy working out with Jill. I think this set would mostly be preferred by those new to exercise, but there are parts of that can be enjoyed by people of all levels.
Instructor Comments: I could go on for a long time about how great I find Jill. She is the yoga instructor I have been looking for. She has a style that is very relaxed and approachable, yet she does not dumb down her yoga for the masses. Her knowledge of anatomy is impressive and I learn things from listening to her. Because she explains so much while you are doing the work, I find her workouts to go by very quickly, which has never been my experience with yoga in the past.