Donna Read, Helen Vanderburg

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength , Yoga

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Donna Read's latest workout is team-taught with Helen Vanderburg (they also did CIA 9905 together). There are two sections, standing (led by Helen) and floorwork (led by Donna). There are also chapters every 5 minutes (maybe with some automated chaptering software? I'm not sure if they matched the natural breaks).

The start of the workout is different. For about 4 minutes, Helen has you lie down, breathing and moving slightly; it seemed like something that would normally be at the end. Then she does mostly yoga for the next 28 minutes: modified sun salutations, down dogs, warriors, stuff like that. It definitely has a fusion feel though -- at one point she has you do static lunges, calling it "fitness lunges." Another time she has you stand on one leg and bring your knee up to your chest and your arms over your head, and calls in "standing rolling like a ball." I'm not a big yoga fan, so this part seemed longer than it actually was.

Donna takes over for the floorwork, which has more of a Pilates feel. She starts with planks to downdogs and back a bunch of times. There are several varieties of side leg lifts (lift your leg up and down, keep one leg up and bring the other up to it, bring both legs up together). Other moves include back extensions, boat pose, sitting in butterfly, that Pilates move where you scissor your legs and crunch, an assortment of bridge variations, and then some long stretches. This part seemed to go faster for me, maybe because it had more variety of moves.

There were definitely some tough parts, mostly because they hold the poses for a while. I'd say the intensity was maybe a notch higher than ALC 2; definitely higher than most of the fusion workouts I have. I'm not sure how often I'd do the whole thing, since either part seems like it would make a nice short workout. This is definitely a fusion workout -- not yoga, not Pilates, but with lots of elements of each. It's different than anything else I have, which is just what I was looking for.

Instructor Comments:
Donna Read is one of my favorite instructors -- she just seems so nice. Helen does a great job too -- clear instructions, good camera presence.

Kimberly N