Video Fitness

AM Latte

Teigh McDonough and Gillian Marloth

AM Latte is part of the Yoga Booty Ballet Master Series. It is a 32-minute workout incorporating a short wake-up routine, ten minutes of low-impact aerobics, five minutes each of lower body strength work and yoga sun salutations, and a closing meditation.

In the YBB Masters it is just Gillian and Teigh -- no class, no Ravi on drums. The set is a spare, brightly-lit studio with wood floors and white walls, softened with long golden-yellow fabric panels, plus soft lighting and plants lining the room edges. The effect is clean, elegant and pretty. The music is fine (if not memorable), often with an Indian vibe, and is appropriately varied to the different types of movement in AM Latte. The only equipment needed is a yoga sticky mat. Teigh and Gillian are barefoot throughout the entire workout, including the aerobics. As usual, they trade off instruction, form tips, and lots of encouragement and positive thoughts.

There is no formal chaptering on the DVD, not even a start menu (I would have appreciated at least that). However, the DVD appears well segmented by exercise groups, so you can use the "skip" buttons on your remote to pass by (or repeat) a particular section.

AM Latte is designed as a "first thing in the morning" routine. Ummm, no thanks for me! I need to start my day with some coffee, toast and Internet, not to mention feeding the cat! My copy of AM Latte is shelved next to my recently-acquired YBB Lives (which it resembles as far as exercise sequencing). Intensity-wise, AM Latte would be most appropriate for the advanced beginner to intermediate exerciser, although I think virtually any fitness level could enjoy it depending on what they want out of this workout.

The first ten minutes is spent "waking up," although this sequence also works well to relax the body and focus the mind for a workout. We begin lying on the floor (you could even do this part in bed) methodically squeezing and relaxing each part of the body, beginning with the feet and working up to the top of the head. Next, sitting Japanese style on the heels (although cross-legged would also work), we do lion's pose, sticking the tongue out while rolling up the eyes (which makes Gillian giggle!). This is followed by a "sat nam" (truth is reality) meditation done while inhaling, chest out, arching the back, then exhaling, collapsing the chest and rounding the back. The inhales/exhales are done rapidly and this goes on for a couple of minutes, making the meditation quite vigorous. A quieter "sa ta na ma" meditation for balance follows. We complete this section with brisk pats and taps all over the body, a mudra for guidance and acceptance of wisdom, and setting an intention.

Ten minutes of low-impact, not-too-intense aerobics follow. The steps are simple, even for choreographically challenged individuals such as myself. The routine is taught TIFT style and we are encouraged to add lots of attitude. For the last couple of moves we mime drinking our soy lattes, brushing our hair, flossing our teeth, and driving off to work -- kind of cute! Using the "skip" buttons you could repeat this aerobic section, which would make AM Latte even more similar to a YBB Live.

Next is five minutes of YBB-style strength work, including standing side leg lifts with arms in ballet positions (which also strengthens the upper body and challenges balance), one-legged squats, and plies. This is followed by five minutes of sun salutations, done at a moderate pace in time to the music. (It is assumed you have at least a basic understanding of the yoga poses involved.) AM Latte concludes with meditations for dealing with stress and for upward aspiration.

A couple of caveats. The "woo woo" factor is quite high in AM Latte, so if this is not your cup of tea (or latte!) you are duly warned. Also, some of the moves, like lion and the body patting, will probably appear pretty comical to any household onlookers.

AM Latte is a good choice for a wake-up routine if that suits your style. I can also see reaching for it when I am short on time, recovering after an illness, or have the I-don't-wanna-work-out blahs. However, although refreshing and energizing, I don't think AM Latte is vigorous enough on its own to be used as a regular workout.

Instructor comments: As always, Teigh and Gillian bring a lot of joy and positivity to what they teach. I always enjoy working out with them.


April 2, 2006

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