Video Fitness

Intensive Body Sculpting - Power Yoga

Bryan Kest

I've been doing yoga since 1997 and have Bryan's first three Power Yoga tapes, which I love. Despite mediocre reviews on the forum (none of which have been posted here yet, grumble, grumble,) I decided I had to give the new 4 pack a shot. Bryan's newest tapes seem packaged to emulate the initial Tae Bo set--an introductory tape, a beginner tape, and more advanced tape, and a shorter tape focused on ab work. Each tape starts with a montage of testimonial clips. I have already submitted a combination review of the introductory and beginner tapes. In this review I will cover the advanced tape.

The advanced tape, Intensive Body Sculpting, exhibits many of the same qualities as the introductory and beginner tapes: set, music, variety of participants, Bryans' Dr. Seussisms ("Inhale. Roll into cobra, kinda easy and free. Exhale. Take your butt cheeks high as can be.") and constant patter.

I did not expect to like this tape as much as I did.

The tape starts out with a *lot* of talking while participants stand in mountain pose. The workout portion of the video starts 1:45 into the tape, but you don't do anything but stand in mountain pose until 7:00 (which is where I will begin the workout when I do it in the future. Yes, I said "when".)

At this point you move through sun salutations A and B two times each. What I found interesting were the poses he squeezes in between the two variations. At the end of the second sun salutation A, he has you, in a forward bend, lift one leg to the sky (or as high as you can) and then repeat on the opposite side. He then has you squat down, and then lower your knees and sit in hero's pose with your toes curled under you. Then he has you slide your hands back and lean back to open your chest and stretch the front of your body. Then you come back into a squat (and here Bryan deliberately falls down, just to show that it's ok) stand back into forward bend, and then move into sun salutation B. I really enjoyed this variation. I am coming to the conclusion that as much as I admire the purity of true Ashtanga, I really enjoy the variety and variations in power yoga.

After the sun salutation Bs, Bryan moves you through a series of poses all on one side, and then you do the whole thing on the other side. The series included side arm balance; static table work (not table pose, but table *work* like in Tae Bo or Firm. You start on your hands and knees and raise opposite arm and leg. Then you flex them and open them out to the sides. This was pretty powerful glute work. You also reach back with the opposite hand and catch the opposite ankle in sort of a criss-cross one legged bow pose); sit back *between* your heels (another hero variation); down dog with one leg raised up behind; warrior 1; warrior 2; crescent stretch; side angle pose; triangle; revolved triangle; wide legged standing forward bend (prasarita padottanasana) variations; revolved side angle pose with arms bound behind your back;and a bunch of lunge variations to open the hips.

Following this series Bryan has you do the balance pose from his Power Yoga Volume One tape that some people call half-moon (right hand in front of right foot, left leg raised, left hand to the sky, stack left hip on right hip and turn to look at the ceiling. Reverse), balancing airplane and forward bend with one foot to the sky. At this point my hips and thighs were completely cooked and I had to keep coming out of it. You follow this with a vinyasa, cobra held for a few breaths, bow pose, cobbler's pose, boat pose, table pose, seated forward bend, lying spinal twist, and then, finally, resting pose. Credits roll at 56:55 in the tape.

Afterward I felt pleasantly wrung out and sure that my hips and thighs will be talking to me about this tomorrow.

Final Judgment: A good workout with some interesting variations. No, in this tape he is not the My. Yummypants that I know and love (I hate the haircut so much I can't even tell you), but I like the workout enough that I can get past that.

Renee Drellishak

Ouch! Here's one you'll feel the next day. This is one of the best yoga lower-body workouts I have. Of course, you do work about everything as you would expect in a power yoga workout, but you'll feel it most in your legs/buns. And you also get that floaty-feeling afterward.

As mentioned by others, Bryan is more talkative in this series than his previous one. In fact, he seems like a different person. I didn't mind the talking, but it wouldn't have hurt my feelings at all if he had been a tad quieter :) Grade A+!
Annie S.

This video is from the second series of Power Yoga videos Bryan Kest released, often referred to on VF as “The infomercial set”. It does indeed have an infomercial feel, starting from Bryan’s opening blurb to the long-ish (4-5 minute) talk he gives while the students stand in mountain pose. For those who were introduced to Bryan Kest via his beautifully photographed first series, this may initially be a disappointment, surpassed only by his shorn head. That said, the routine itself is easily worthy of its predecessors in getting you heated up, flowing, moving with the breath, and exhausting muscles you didn’t know you had.

When I first got this video two years ago, I was doing a lot of power yoga at a studio, so didn’t find it quite so tough then. This time around, the intensity felt just right, as did the length. As in the rest of his videos, Bryan starts you off with sun salutations (he refers to them as warm-ups) A and B, then moves to a series of standing, kneeling, and arm balancing poses first on one side of the body, then the other. In addition to the usual warriors, triangles, right angle poses etc he throws in some side planks and his “Spinal balancing” sequence, on your hands and knees with alternate leg and arm extended. The balancing sequence includes half moon, a warrior 3 variation he likes to call airplane, and standing forward bend with one leg extended. Moving through the poses without touching down is definitely a challenge, but a fun one.

You get the standard Kest patter, the theme built around “do what you can and leave the rest behind” and his emphasis on breath, calm mind, and awakening every part of the body. The Seussisms, as mentioned by Renee, will either make you smile or drive you nuts. Or, you’ll be saying them yourself in your own head. He is quite a bit chattier than in previous tapes too.

I like his cast better in this series, though. Much more variety in age, body type, and ability, and a designated modifier, although some of the others modify as well. Production values are OK – not artsy like the previous set, but fine.

The only complaint I have is that I would have liked to see more floor poses at the end. I need a bit more than he provides to really unwind after such intensive standing pose work…some lying hip openers would have been nice. However, you could easily do them on your own, or add on a track from another tape. Also, there is no Savasana to speak of, just Bryan telling you to do it. But that’s just quibbling. If Bryan’s personality clicks with you, it’s a good tape to have in your power yoga collection.

Instructor comments: shorn of his famous curly locks, he still has the intense gaze and ineffable Essence of Bryan, just pumped up a little in the patter department.

Sept 7, 2004

Intensive Body Sculpt is aptly named! This workout killed my leg muscles. Other reviewers have gone into depth over the poses so I won't repeat that. I would compare this tape to Power 2 in his first series, in that it focuses on one side of the body at a time so that by the end of the sequence your legs are shaking. I did not feel that I got as much of a workout in the upper body area as in the first Power Yoga series, primarily because he doesn't do push-ups in this workout. Nevertheless, it is a challenging and enjoyable tape. As always, the relaxation at the end is not nearly as instructive or long as it should be, but overall it's a well rounded workout.

Instructor comments: Bryan is a great instructor once you get past his incessant talking! Unlike other yoga videos, he cues the breathing perfectly which helps me throughout the practice. This tape took a while to get used to because his voice sounds so different than in the previous series. It's very nasal and not at all what I had adjusted to! Having said that, I still like Bryan - gabbing and all.



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