Video Fitness


Brandi Woodard

Recently, I posted to the Forum asking about unusual or different kinds of workouts. A kind VFer offered to send me one called Yodates. I am very happy that she did!

Yodates is a minimal impact blend of yoga, dance and Pilates. I am a yoga dabbler, a dancer wannabe and I’d rather have a root canal than do Pilates. My recent forays into dancy workouts (Bollywood, Disco Sweat) have been discouraging. So, why do I like this workout so much? Here’s why:

CUEING - The instructor, Brandi Woodard, is a terrific at cueing. She cues early, clearly and well. And mirror-cues!!! (I am getting kind of sick of instructors who can’t be bothered to mirror cue). I was actually able to follow most of the (admittedly basic) moves the first time. That is a rare and beautiful experience for The Queen of the Stumble!

MUSIC - There is wonderful, kind of new age/jazzy music. When you hear it you WANT to move around. The tune for the warm-up is stuck in my head! Brandi uses the music the choreograph the moves. I find that I have been able to close my eyes and still keep up with the movements.

SET - The set is very attractive, well-lit and painted in a serene mint green. There are plants and a few resistance balls scattered about. The floor is wooden. I don't usually pay attention to sets (unless they are hideous or red), but the color is so cool and tranquil.

CAVEATS - There is a slight woo-woo factor. Some optional OM-ing during the warm-up. During the intro, Brandi briefly explains how to use yogic bandhas (pelvic and abdominal locks) during the workout. And about awakening the second chakra (yeah, baby!). I feel that this workout was not made for movement or mind/body beginners. One would need to have some familiarity with the concepts of bandhas, chakras and Pilates. Or, the ambition to look them up somewhere.

The large upper body and head movements could possibly cause dizziness. I didn’t have any problem. Brandi says just to use less head movements if that is a problem.

I would like to add that Yodates may not be a workout that our VF choreography junkies, heart-rate monitor hounds or advanced amazons would enjoy.

TO SHOE OR NOT TO SHOE - The workout is done barefoot. I did it that way the first time but it felt funny and detracted from my enjoyment. I wear orthotics in my shoes to alleviate a foot problem. The second time I did the workout, I wore shoes and I was able to relax more. If you have no foot problems, you could lose the shoes.

Onto the workout itself. There is a 10 minute warm-up, 25 minute movement and breath work section, 5 minute yoga cool-down and a 20 minute Pilates section. There are two female background exercisers. The movement section was surprising as I did work up a sweat. One stays mostly in what Brandi calls “horse stance”. She means a wide-legged demi-squat, emphasizing contracting the inner thighs as if you were riding a horse.

The choreo is mostly large and vigorous arm movements, with some leg lifts here and there. Lots of bending and stretching from the hips, with the pelvis facing forward stabilized by the core muscles. I am not really experienced with bandhas, so I just made an effort to keep my core engaged at all times. Some of the moves are serious pelvic rotations, tilts, swivels and shimmies. (Stay away if your are, ahem, repressed in that area!) She says to make the moves “earthy”, “ugly” and “obnoxious”. Meaning to just let go and not worry about how you look. (Unlike a certain annoying Body Bar instructor {with the initials LD} who always says to move “gracefully”).

You can make Yodates as easy or hard as you want, by making the moves larger or smaller. I think next time I do this workout, I might try putting my resistance ball between my thighs. (What true VFer can ever just do a workout as shown!)

I haven’t done the Pilates section. You need one of those “Resist-A-Ring” thingies and I don’t have one. I like the instructor enough that I’m tempted to buy one.

The DVD itself has minimal chaptering. But that is normal for a first effort by a lesser known instructor.

In summary, I wanted a new an different workout. I got it in Yodates!

To visit Brandi's site, go to:

Instructor comments: INSTRUCTOR - Brandi clearly loves the movements and the music. She is clearly very comfortable in her own skin. It is absolutely refreshing to see an instructor with hips! And thighs!

During the intro and in the routine, she gives form pointers about knee and shoulder placement to be aware of during the routine. She stresses the importance of coordinating the breath with the movements.



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