Zodiac Workout

Sherene Shostak
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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I am sure that the title of this workout is likely to put a lot of people off,
as the workout might simply be dismissed as something overly quirky or
new-agey.  In truth, however, the Zodiac Workout offers an interesting blend
of stretching, yoga, core work, and free-form dance movements.  The "zodiac"
part of the title comes from the idea that the different astrological signs
apparently correspond to different parts of the body, and so the warm-ups and
dances designed for each particular sign simply reflect this.  The creator of
this DVD is Sherene Shostak, who presumably provides the female voiceover
narration, but the moves are demonstrated on screen by ballet dancer Ashley

The Main Menu of the DVD offers the following selections:  User Guide-Let's
Warmup-The Zodiac Dance-Your Warmup Sign-Your Dance Sign-Zodiac Body-Audio
Setup.  The Audio Setup offers an option that I've never seen on a fitness DVD
before, which is a choice of female or male narration.  With respect to the
other menu items, you can choose to do the entire Warmup or Dance segments of
the workout, or you can select certain signs only by going directly to that
menu feature.  Zodiac Body is a chart which provides further descriptions of
how each sign influences different areas of the body.  Finally, the DVD comes
with a detailed booklet insert which provides even more information on the
individual signs and how to work with these during the dance segments of the

The Warmup is approximately 40 minutes long, and it is more appropriately
described as a stretching/core workout.  Beginning with Aries, the first
several signs concentrate largely on loosening the upper body.  I was
particularly interested to see that the exercises for my own sign, Taurus,
included shoulder shrugs and shoulder circles, as my shoulders/upper back
tends to be my tightest area.  You continue moving through the signs in the
standing segment in this manner, spending about 2-3 minutes per sign.  Scorpio
includes several recognizable yoga postures such as tree, eagle, camel, and
down dog.  At this point, however, you actually return to two of the previous
signs, Leo and Virgo, for a lengthier (10 minutes) floor segment (note: I
don't believe that this segment can be accessed off the main menu like the
others).  This section, which is a bit more challenging, focuses more on
working the core via moves that have a Pilates-like feel to them.  At one
point, the voiceover states that you will be moving into the "leg work," but
really, you are simply continuing to work your core by using leg moves such as
frog legs.  The Warmup series returns to standing for the final few signs;
Aquarius actually includes some brief jumping, and then Pisces brings the
segment to a quiet close.

The Zodiac Dance is 20 minutes long; each dance flows into the next, with the
dance for each individual sign lasting 1.5-2 minutes.  The opening
instructions suggest that you use what is shown on-screen as a guide but that
you follow your own interpretation.  As mentioned above, there are also
additional suggestions for the dance segment based on each sign in the
included booklet.  Again starting with Aries, the dance is a bit more active
and aggressive, including punches and optional kicks.  The dance slows down
with Taurus, becoming grounded and more sensual.  The dances continue in this
manner, often varying between being more quick and dramatic (Gemini, Leo) to
being more gentle or dreamy (Cancer, Pisces).  There is no cool-down or final
stretch to bring the dance segment to a close.  By putting a lot of effort
into the dances, I was able to be in my target heart rate zone for 15 minutes.

I did find it interesting to try this workout.  It reminded me of other
workouts that I like and enjoy--for example, the opening stretching reminded
me of Classical Stretch, and the dance portion reminded me of Ravi Singh and
Ana Brett's Dance the Chakras.  However, I think that those other workouts
better meet my needs than this one, so I'm not sure if the Zodiac Workout will
find a permanent home in my workout collection.  Still, there are definitely
some things to like about this workout, and I could see it being a good fit
for the right user.

Beth C (aka toaster)