Gillian Marloth and Teigh McDonough
Goddess Abs is a 20-minute abdominal routine. It is part of the Yoga Booty Ballet Master Series.
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, and with plants and candles or luminaria lining the edges of the room. The effect is clean, elegant and pretty. The music is fine if not especially memorable afterwards (which doesn't sound flattering, but I actually mean that in a positive way!).
The only equipment used is a mat and the YBB squishy ball. Any small play ball or a pillow will substitute for the squishy ball. Possibly a small weighted ball could be used to increase intensity but I haven't tried it (yet!). As usual, Gillian and Teigh are barefoot. They trade off instruction, form pointers, and lots of encouragement. (I noticed when viewing the workout that Teigh's microphone doesn't always work very well, but this didn't bother me when actually doing the routine.)
There is no formal chaptering on the DVD, not even a start menu (the workout just starts playing when you insert the DVD into the player).
I would rate Goddess Abs as advanced beginner to intermediate. The intensity is fairly similar to the first section of YBB's Abdominals & Core Strength (an add-on to the original YBB package). It does not have the core work of the second section of that workout (see YBB Master's Yoga Core for that). I also don't think it has the intensity of the third section (although both workouts share a few of the same moves).
Seated on the floor, Gillian and Teigh begin with a mudra for vitality and letting go (of bad habits, excess weight, negativity, etc.) and setting an intention ("something you are working on right now"). We warm the core by circling the upper body, then moving on to various side stretches and twists holding the squishy ball. As always, Teigh and Gillian encourage you to go at your own pace and not worry about having the routine perfect the first time.
We now start working the abs. The routine goes something as follows (my apologies if my descriptions don't quite make sense!):
1. On our backs, with ball under bent knees (constantly switching the cross of the ankles), reverse curls with varying range of motion, then adding in upper body and again varying the range.
2. Brief twist dropping knees side to side, then resume upper crunches, adding in the lower body.
3. Remove ball from under knees, then onto stomachs for supermans (or "Super Goddess" jokes Teigh), followed by child's pose.
4. Seated, soles of the feet together and knees apart, we lift the ball overhead, then roll forward and up, repeated several times. Then it is knees back together for more traditional roll-ups. To work the obliques we twist, touching the ball from side to side while slightly reclining back.
5. Onto our backs for more roll-ups, then ball is put between the thighs for crunches and oblique crunches.
6. Still on our backs, we raise legs up to 90 degrees and rhythmically squeeze the ball between the thighs. From here we lower legs to 45 degrees, bend the knees, and return legs to 90 degrees, which we repeat several times (careful if you have lower back issues).
7. Next is bridges, with the ball still between the thighs. Finally the ball is removed for a last set of crunches raising alternate knees.
The workout concludes with some relaxing lying side twists, and a mudra for preventing and relieving stress.
I enjoyed Goddess Abs when I did it, but the lack of intensity (at least for me) was a slight disappointment. This one is the weakest of the five YBB Masters titles, IMHO. However, Goddess Abs is a pleasant experience and certainly a good choice for beginner to intermediate exercisers who appreciate a mind-body approach to their workouts.
Gillian and Teigh instruct well, and as always I appreciate their emphasis on love and respect for the body. More intensity options would have been appreciated, though.
March 29, 2006