First, my background, so you know where I'm coming from. I'm extremely advanced in both cardio and weights, as I've been working out regularly for almost 10 years and I'm a former fitness instructor myself. As for flexibility training, yoga and Pilates, I've only started seriously doing them for several months (just flirted with them for the past few years), so I'll consider myself a high-beginner, or low-intermediate in this area, that I'm serious about improving now. I know YogaSculpt (herein after referred to as YS)will help get me there.
I had to force myself to try it last night for the first time after all of the not-too-encouraging comments I read on the forum. But, I really liked YS! I think the problem is that it's not 'really' a strength tape, as it's labeled. Yes, there are a lot of sections where you will be trembling from body weight, and you will feel your abs and back. Another problem may be that most VFers who got it were expecting a more advanced workout from Karen. I think Collage's rating as Intermediate is right on target, but as a sculpting tape, I'm not so sure. It's divided into 2 sections: yoga and mat work.
The 25 minute yoga section was perfect for me: not too easy, but not too hard. I get in 3 very different yoga moods: power/athletic (Asthanga), meditative/'granola'(Iyengar), relaxing/stretching (Hatha)- I apologize if I have the 'official' names mixed up, like I said, I'm new to yoga. I think YS had a little of each, actually; a nice blend of my tastes: not too much of 'be with nature', strenuous power yoga, or boring stretch. She holds the poses a little long, but that's good for me to build up to. It's set to classical music that's ok.
I thought the 15-20 minutes of mat work (and final stretch)was pretty decent- similar to the Method, and some of Clare Dunphy's Balance, Line and Strength. YS could've used a bit more ab work, but it was intense. The back work was great (I can't believe I actually feel it today!). I LOVED the music in the second part.
The total length is perfect (42 minutes) because I get bored with these type of workouts if it's an hour or more. If you're pretty advanced in yoga or Pilates, I'd pass on this video. If you don't like all of the mystical stuff associated with yoga, or even some the Method's, give this a try. Ok, so it was my first time doing YS, and maybe I won't like it as much again, but I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed this workout last night.
Instructor comments: Can her body be more perfect? I'm so impressed how flexible she is considering how incredibly buff she is. I think her outfits are cute, but the color, no. Her cuing is impeccable- she really shows and tells you exactly where your body should be. I have to say it again: how can someone so muscular be so darn flexible?! No fair.
I agree that you wouldnt exactly call this a strength video, but it is worth a look. As I get more into my 40's, I realize that I need to continue to add stretch and balance moves in as part of my fitness routine. I was a little scared to try this tape, since I am new to yoga, but have done it twice now and have enjoyed it both times. The core stablization moves for my abs are my favorite part-its a nice break from standard routines to work the abs. If your an advanced exerciser who is looking for a light day or if you need to incorporate stretching into your routine, give it a shot.
Instructor comments: Just what you would expect from Karen-excellent cueing and clear instruction without a lot of fluff. Karen's calm voice and no nonsense approach is great.
I have mixed feelings about this video.
On the positive side, the production values on this tape are excellent, even if I would have chosen more relaxing set and costume colors (orange and chartreuse, what were they thinking?). Karen gives her famous, precise form pointers as always. I liked the classical piano music, too.
However, I found this tape lacking. It wasn't relaxing or calming, as I like my yoga tapes to be, nor did it fall into the "power yoga" category, as the "sculpt" in the title might imply. Though I enjoy Karen's yoga section in Streamline Fitness, I just didn't find this one worth my time. The pace was slow, and in a more relaxing tape that might not matter--here I just got bored and impatient. Whatever I want to get from a given yoga workout, there are better tapes to choose from. Whereas I normally appreciate Karen's no-nonsense manner, I prefer that style when I'm working really hard, not in this type of setting.
Wendy Niemi Kremer
I didn't like this video for so many reasons. I don't like Karen's too serious teaching style in her other videos. But my thinking behind getting this video was, it shouldn't effect the workout because it's Yoga. I was wrong. Karen bored me to death. With these endless poses that went on too long. I found the set to be boring. Karen clothes were an eyesore, bright green of all colors. I didn't even like the music. This was just a bad video all around.
Instructor comments: Karen needs to lighten up. Her teaching method is much to serious.
I know that a lot of people were disappointed in Yoga Sculpt. I think that a lot of that may have been because of the title of the video. "Yoga Sculpt" is really a misnomer. This video is a more athletic (as opposed to spiritual) approach to yoga, and it is also not really intense enough to help with any major sculpting. It's almost like a watered-down power yoga tape. I am lukewarm about this video. It will never become one of my favorites, but I can see myself using it. Sometimes I feel like I don't have the mental focus to do an out-and-out yoga tape, and Yoga Sculpt would probably be good for times like those. I do like the ab and the back work. One reason that I don't think I'll trade this video is that I really enjoy the music. Karen uses a classical track during part of the workout, and I especially enjoy Clair de Lune.
I'd have to say that I do prefer the second half of Streamline Fitness (the abs and the yoga stretch) to Yoga Sculpt. However, I do enjoy this one as an add-on to a cardio workout. It will give you a decent ab and back workout, as well as a fairly thorough stretch.
Instructor comments: Karen Voight is similar in Yoga Sculpt to how she is in her other videos. When you buy one of her videos, you know that you're going to get a no-nonsense approach to whatever exercise you're doing. That may suit some types of workouts better than others. As always, she looks fantastic!
I'm another one that was disappointed in this tape. To me the title was very
discouraging. I found there to not be enough Yoga (at least the spiritual side
of yoga). I tried to think of this as an Athletic Yoga tape as someone else
pointed out. But that didn't do it for me, because the poses weren't near as
hard to do as in the Athletic style of Power Yoga.
As far as the sculpting goes. There was none. You didn't even use weights,
just your own body weight. Which does nothing for most of us. I need resistance
in my weight routines. Just like the majority of people. This workout (for lack of a better name) gave you none.
I refuse to keep a video just because I paid money for it. Or try to force myself to do it for the same reasons. To me this tape was a total waste of time and money. I know I will never do it again.
Instructor comments: Karen is her usual self.
I liked YogaSculpt and I am surprised by the number of negative reviews it has received. I am an advanced beginner exerciser rapidly approaching intermediate level. I think that YogaSculpt is a good bridge between the beginner oriented AM/PM yoga tapes from Living Arts and Rodney Yee's Power Yoga tapes. I think that the AM/PM tapes are really easy but I have a hard time switching positions so quickly in the power tapes. I like YogaSculpt because Karen utilizes the same positions as Rodney does in his tapes yet she holds the position for a longer time than he does.
I think that the video delivers on sculpting because those positions she chose require strength to hold them. I also like the fact that she used classical music instead of the typical new age music for this tape.
Instructor comments: I think she is the best. I got into exercising to videos regularly due to her Streamline Fitness video. She's one of the few instructors I can take listening to on a daily basis.
This is not a great yoga tape, but it is definitely not a bad tape either. The set is very pleasant and unique looking, Karen's outfit is not hard on the eyes and enables me to see her body lines clearly, and the soft piano music is appropriate for this yoga-based workout.
Unlike what the title suggests, I don't think this workout will "sculpt" your muscles. However, she does use many of the stronger yoga poses, so I can see this workout challenging one's strength; my quads were sore the next day. It is very hard on the wrists as there are a lot of positions where your arms are supporting your body for long periods of time, but I found that going down to my elbows for the plank positions helped a great deal to take the stress off my wrists while still allowing me to build core strength.
There are different yoga videos for different purposes - some are for flexibility, some relaxation - this fits into the "yoga for strength" category although a lot of the positions will also help with flexibility. Because of the strenuous nature of many of the poses, I would not choose to use this tape for relaxation. If one eliminates the ab/back work, which I did yesterday when doing this video for the first time - so I can't comment on that part of the tape - that leaves about 30 minutes of yoga postures and a final seated stretch; good for tacking on to other workouts. I don't know about other people, but I find it hard to fit in ballet classes, cardio and strength training - as well as work on yoga/chi - so shorter workouts like this that I can tack on to my other tapes is very convenient.
One think I would have liked to seen in this video is more variety of poses. On the good side, however, she does a lot more upper body stretches - hitting every conceivable angle - than I have seen in other yoga videos. Nothing is this video is rushed - Karen does everything in a very slow and controlled manner with meticulous, nonmystical instruction.
Instructor comments: Karen Voight's calm, down to earth manner is very suitable for yoga.
I was very disappointed in this video. While I am still a beginner with yoga, I didn't think that Karen presented the video from the perspective of the various levels of people who might try the tape, i.e., if you can't get into this pose, try this modification.
I haven't been happy with the tapes that Karen has been doing lately. With this one, I think she has lost a follower.
Instructor comments: As always, Karen's form was impeccable. However, a part of yoga's presentation is in the soothing way in which the instructor coaches you through the different poses. Karen is just instructing you on different poses as opposed to you finding your way through gentle persuasion.
Karen Voight is one of my favorite instructors and with her classical
ballet backgound, I know what to expect from her. After reading the
negative reviews about this video, I bought it at Target for a mere $6
to see if it was really that bad. No it's not. I really like it. As one
reviewer said, the title is misleading. It's not really yoga but
yoga-based exercise much like Angles, Lines & Curves or Reebok's
Long & Lean, both of which I have. Like Long & Lean, you do a
few movements in what is known as downward facing dog in yoga. This
position is maintained while you do movements similar to active cat.
There are variations on warrior and triangle. It is followed by
Pilates-type matowrk. But like the other two tapes I mentioned, it's not
really a yoga tape but has elements of yoga, Pilates and ballet. As far
as the production, the set co-ordinates with Karen's coloring and is
modern and minimalistic is a retro-60s way. The instruction as usual is
thorough and detailed, sometimes she talking, sometimes in voice-over
while the camera has her in silhouette. Great sound and music. So, all
that said, if you're looking for a yoga video, get Living Arts Power
Yoga Series with Rodney Yee or anything by Alan Finger of Yoga Zone. If
you're looking for something along the lines of the Method Series, ALC
or Long and Lean, get this one.
Instructor comments: Karen Voight probably has the most-envied body
in America. It has the long lean look of the dancer and the definition
of an athlete. Karen, like Kari Anderson, also has an intesive ballet
background and left professional ballet in the early 80s and jumped on
the fitnes bandwagon. I happen to like her serious, no nonsense
approach. She's not like a drill sargeant, but and old-fashioned dance
teacher: meticulous form pointers, excellent cuing and attention to
form. Her approach to strength training would be rooted in classical
dance which relies heavily on Pilates and light weights. She says she
never used very heavy weights. Oh well, it seem that you buy a Voight
video hoping to get a body like her. If nothing else, you'll be aware of
how you move.
Jean L. Wakefield
Jean Ebyrd @AOL.com
I am shocked how many luke-warm reviews of Karen Voigt's Yoga-Sculpt there were.
I consider myself in great cardio-vascular condition and I am very limber. Yoga is important for me to keep my back healthy since I have injured it in the past. Karen's Yoga-Sculpt tape really makes me feel younger by stretching the leg, hip, and back while strengthening the thighs and hamstrings. Holding the poses correctly is the key and her cues are right on. As the poses become mastered by the student, careful listening to her cues will open one's eyes to the full feel of positioning and stretching that yoga brings out. I have used it alternate days and now twice a week to make sure my body maintains the conditioning I admire. I do add an ab crunchie series and three of my favorite poses to make it complete. I also fast- forward at 3 spots where the workout became too easy. I vote yes for this one and look for variances from this routine in the future.
Star Hellickson, Physical Therapist Assistant on the Big Island
I, too, an surprised by the negative and lukewarm reviews of this video. I
bought it about a year ago. Although my cardiovascular fitness was fine, my
strength and flexibility weren't great so I was hoping to improve in those
areas and I was a total novice at yoga and Pilates. The first time I did
this tape there were several things I just couldn't do, largely because I
was lacking in strength and/or balance. Over the course of this year I've
done quite a few different yoga videos (Living Arts, Yoga Zone, Baron
Baptiste, Ali MacGraw) as well as core strength videos, and now I find that
I can do all of this workout and enjoy it.
I find myself coming back to this tape again and again because I enjoy the
pace -- poses are held long enough that they challenge my strength and
improve my flexibility. I find that Power Yoga tapes tend to move too
quickly for me from one pose to another, and I don't feel like I've fully
settled into them. Although this is not a relaxation tape, I feel nicely
stretched out after I've done it, my joints feel open and my muscles feel
long. The ab section is still challenging.
Karen's pointers are terrific - she mentions small postural things to check
that seem to keep pointing me in the right direction. I'm still not great
at this sort of thing, but I've made tremendous improvement. I try to
remember her cues when I'm doing other yoga tapes and that helps me a lot.
I'm not wild about the colors and her outfit, but now that I've learned the
moves I don't watch the screen much anyway -- listening is 90% of it, and
occasionally looking up to check form. I expect to keep this video and use
it every few weeks for a long time to come.
YogaSculpt combines classic yoga poses with innovative twists to turn up the intensity and focus on sculpting. Karen begins the workout with a relaxing breathing exercise but then quickly steps up the pace with a challenging sequence which combines down dog with high push up pose. The standing series includes traditional yoga poses such as Warrior 1, Warrior 2, and Triangle pose, but Karen combines each pose with extra lengthening and stretching moves. The first half of workout last approximately 25 minutes, and then it's on to the floor for approximately 16 minutes of mat work focused on the abdominals and back. In this section, Karen combines yoga poses such as Boat and Bridge with Pilates-type movements. Both the abs and the back receive thorough attention, and then the practice ends with a brief stretch.
Overall, this is a challenging yet relaxing workout which will add some nice variety to your yoga practice for those beyond a beginner's level.
Karen is my favorite instructor; she performs the workout fluidly and with flawless form. Her voice is gentle and encouraging, and she provides detailed instruction on how to perform each movement, including attention to breathing. There were a few times when I felt that she failed to adequately cue a change in movement, but once you've done the workout a few times, Karen is easy to follow. She instructs alone with soft piano music in the background.
Beth (aka toaster)
February 2, 2004
This is divided into flow and mat series. DVD is nice b/c you could skip one and just do the other. She is solo, wearing a standard yoga outfit in a nice light airy "stage" in room with nice intermittent piano music playing softly.
I am a beginner medium exerciser but really beginner to yoga. Would have liked her to be more consistent about telling me the name of the pose I was doing before I do it. There is a downward dog session in the mat series that my palms hurt from holding the position sooo long. Plus you hold your leg up at times. I wouldn't call this wo relaxing, I felt pretty charged up after the "flow" series. This is the second time I've done the wo and I still had a really difficult time knowing what to do by watching her and hold the pose. I almost felt like this was harder the second time and I made sure not to do any other exercise before doing this dvd this time.
The mat series does multiple repetitions of the same pose and holds them a long time as well. Strong abs needed here. I had to keep flopping myself around and the mat to see what I was supposed to be doing. The best part was a lovely sequence of mermaid and under the bridge stretches at the end of this segment. I loved the spine twist with arm extended.
The DVD lists "extras" but nothing worthwhile there. DVD advantage is to alternate btwn the two segments of this program.
Total time: approx 45 min. flow is 25 min, mat is 20 min
Intermediate level, imo. Don't understand why this gets recommended to beginners. I understand that there are great form pointers but the expectation for beginner I think is inaccurate. No woo-woo whatsoever here.
I will keep this wo but not attempt again until I get more comfortable with my ability with other true beginner yoga videos. I look forward to being able to do this video without swaying like a tree in the breeze.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Karen has undergone quite the body change in this one compared to Energy Sprint. Sometimes she makes comments like "rotate the spine" and I can't see any change in the movement she is doing. It might be because sometimes the view changes from her speaking while posing to having her do a voice-over while demonstrating the pose. Not sure why the flip-flop in views. I really felt like a wooden block tower about to topple.
I believe her to be one of the best instructors out there.
Linda (aka fanofladyvols)
Iím reviewing this after doing it a number of times during the months that I had it.
General workout breakdown: This DVD has a 25 minute Yoga Flow and a 15 minute Pilates-inspired matwork portion 5 minute stretch for a total of 45 minutes. (I donít have the DVD anymore, so I canít provide a break down of the moves. I remember there were sun salutations and lunges in the Yoga Flow and lots of boat poses in the Pilates matwork, though.)
Level: Iíd recommend this to someone whoís at least moving into the intermediate level of Pilates and yoga (or related disciplines). I considered myself at the beginning/intermediate level when I had this DVD, and I found this workout quite challenging, especially with my limited flexibility. I think it would be more doable now that Iím at the low intermediate (and improving!) stage. Familiarity with yoga and Pilates is helpful; Iím not talented enough to tackle disciplines I donít know, so I canít tell you how it would work for a non-Pilates and/or -yoga person. Be aware, though, that beginners may find that this challenges their strength, flexibility, and balance a little too much at first.
Class: just Karen. She alternates between demonstrating the move while doing voice-over narration and cueing while demonstrating the move. She uses two slightly different outfits, and Iíve yet to figure out if there is a pattern (i.e. wearing one while doing modifications) because it appears to be a random thing which one appears when.
Music / Set / Other Production Notes: The instrumental music is soft and Classical-inspired, with a Gershwin tune in there. Itís very pleasant, relaxing, and appropriate for a yoga / Pilates routine. (But apparently Iím the only one who likes it.) The interior set consists of a raised platform and some colored banners over a white wall. The picture and sound quality are very good, as you would expect from a KV production.
Equipment: sticky mat (or equivalent). Karen demonstrates some modifications with yoga block
Comments: This workout does not require much space. You should be able to lie down with your legs and arms extended.
Karen does not intend for this routine to be anyoneís normal strength routine; it is instead meant to be something one might throw into a rotation to shake things up or pop in at the end of a week full of hard workouts or stress. Karen doesnít ever say that her buff body is from Pilates and yoga alone; we all know about her many weights videos. However, she does mention that she values yoga and Pilates for their ability to improve, tone, strength, and flexibility. And you canít say that Karenís not flexible . . .
DVD Notes: This identical program is also available on DVD with (Pilates) Core Essentials (aka Core Plus More) as Yoga & Sculpting. The DVD allows you to do the entire program, just the yoga flow (25 minutes), or just the Pilates routine with the stretch (20 minutes). I found it easy to add on the yoga or Pilates segments to strength workouts.
Conclusion: I traded this one away. I didnít dislike it; I just found things I like better. I never got into the Pilates segment; Iíd rather do straight Pilates. And I decided that since I acquired Karenís Yoga Focus I didnít need two similar yoga flows, and I love the stretch segment on YF so that one had to say. I think, however, that I much prefer the yoga flow on YS over the one on YF, which is jerkier and a little more complicated.
The focus of these routines is more traditionally athletic rather than relaxing or spiritual. Karen wants you to focus on performing each move, not the centuries of traditions and beliefs associated with it or even its name. If youíre looking for a challenging yet ďrealĒ (rather than fusion-fied) yoga flow that isnít ďNew Agey,Ē this is a good candidate.
is an excellent cuer and very focused on proper form and technique. She works each side evenly and intends for you to mirror her moves. She doesnít exhibit much of a personality here.
September 7, 2005