Video Fitness

Yogilates Level 3: Vinyasa Core

Jonathan Urla

"Yogilates Level 3: Vinyasa Core" by Jonathan Urla is a hybrid of vinyasa style yoga and Pilates matwork. It runs approximately 80 minutes and I would consider it an advanced workout.

The setting looks like an atrium. It is low-key and pleasant. The music is soft, consisting of strings and eastern sounds; it is fairly benign. There are 2 background exercisers - one shows modifications. Part of the video was reshot with Jonathan alone - presumably, because one of the exercisers was having difficulty with some of the yoga poses.

Jonathan begins the workout by speaking for a moment on the importance of linking breath to the Pilates movements and yogic postures. He advises the viewer that one should have mastery of most of the Pilates matwork series and a strong knowledge of yoga to do this workout.

The video starts with a brief warm-up consisting of shoulder circles, side curves, slow spinal twists, half roll-ups and roll-downs, and a back stretch. The next section is Pilates matwork interspersed with seated and lying yoga postures. The exercises in this section flow like this:

- The hundred
- Supine leg releases, leg extensions, ankle movements, leg stretch
- A leg stretch where you grab your big toe; you move this across the body to stretch the IT band
- Pilates leg circles into head-to-shin stretch
- Rolling like a ball into a balance
- From this balance, you flow into Pilates rollovers
- Fish pose
- Pilates abdominal work: single leg stretches, double leg stretches, criss cross (with arms extended), single straight leg stretch, double straight leg stretch
- Then you hold the double straight leg stretch isometrically at 45 degrees for 10 seconds - twice! (Nice abdominal burn here)
- Bridge pose
- Wheel pose (or Bridge again; Jonathan raises each leg for a few breaths here)
- More Pilates: the spine stretch and the saw
- Seated forward bend with wide legs; emphasis on hinging at the hips
- Cobbler?s pose
- Rocker balance leg extensions - prepping you for Navasana
- Boat pose
- Boat turns into some Teasers (I enjoyed this transition)
- Then you sit in a straddle position, doing split preps, side leans and head ?to-knee stretches on both sides
- Reverse plank (or Table) pose to Forward bend
- Reverse plank (again) with leg pulls to Forward bend
- Seated pullup (twice!)
- Jump through to plank
- Half locust (left and right) and double prone leg lifts with heel beats twice
- Half cobra (twice) followed by Swan and neck rolls
- Child's pose
- Achilles stretch into cat and camel extensions on the left and right. The cat and camel are done on one arm and the opposite leg - your other arm and leg are in a bird-dog position. I can really feel the core working here.

Next, Jonathan moves into a Pilates-inspired side kick series. The following exercises are done on each side:

- double leg lifts, kicks to the back and front, single leg lifts, leg circles, inner thigh lift and circles, clam, star stretch, heel beats, and flutter kicks (there are no battements or hot potato)
- side arm balance with side bends and side twists
- mermaid stretch

Some more floor work follows here:
- Camel pose twice
- Reclined hero pose
- Rabbit pose (awesome shoulder stretch for me!)
- Downward Dog

The video moves briskly into a more vigorous vinyasa yoga flow with other standing postures:
- Rag doll
- Modified Chair pose with a flat back; you sweep your arms over head a few times
- Rag doll into Pilates stance, followed by knee bends, tow raises with chest expansion, and releve twists
- Sun Salutation A. The chaturangas are the hopping variety. Jonathan modifies by including some stationary lunges before moving into crescent lunge pose on each side here.
- Sun Salutation B. Jonathan integrates twisting chair, intense forward stretch, dancing warrior, and revolved lunge here.
- Next you move into a wide stance and do some slow plie squats and plie side bends before Goddess pose. A standing back bend and a forward bend with the wide stance come next, followed by a head-to-knee stretch on both sides in this wide position.

The next section is a warrior/triangle series that is repeated for both sides (this is the part that is just Jonathan).
- Warrior II
- Reverse Warrior
- Triangle
- Long Angle
- Half Moon back to Triangle
- Hop to center and repeat on the other side

The final section of the video consists of some balancing, inversions, and savasana:
- some Pilates-inspired standing balance work
- Standing leg stretch - here you grab your toe while standing and try to straighten the leg
- Warrior III
- Quadriceps stretch into Royal Dancer
- Crow
- Shoulderstand into Plow
- Corpse

This video is interesting for several reasons. One difference from traditional yoga videos is that it starts with seated postures, then moves to standing, then back to the floor. In essence, you are really switching your core on before you get into the standing yoga postures. There are poses here that you don?t see in other videos (e.g. Crow and Rabbit), which is refreshing. I think that Jonathan does a good job linking some of the Pilates exercises with the asanas. The boat to teaser transition is a good example. Throughout the video, Jonathan uses counter poses to stretch out areas that are worked frequently.

The reshot portion of the workout is edited in very well, and is of little distraction. I find this video challenging for the core, and I think it is a welcome changeup from traditional yoga routines. The length (80 minutes) can be troublesome when one is busy, and the last section seems a bit thrown together; it's not as well thought out as the other sections. The savasana is decent - Jonathan uses some guided imagery here.

I really like this workout, and I think that it's a good workout for those of us who enjoy vigorous yoga practice and mat Pilates. I still sweat with this one, especially when I get into the Salutations. It hits a lot of different muscles. Jonathan instructs well. He gives good pointers, has a calm demeanor, and doesn?t talk too much. Grade A.

Instructor comments: Gives some good form pointers. Is fairly subdued in this workout.

DRB
s_drbauer@clarion.edu
2/20/06



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