Creative Core and Upper Body

Shiva Rea
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Yoga

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I have a huge dread for push ups. Anything more than three sets of eight to ten, or a single set of 20 are a HUGE dread factor.

The only DVDs which can make me do more with NO dread are this one and the recent Atletica from Ilaria.

I also dread doing DVDs with too many sun salutations. UB makes me enthusiatic about a workout that is essentially all sun salutations. UB flow is called agni namaskar or fire salutation. You do 108 pushups in sets of 12 per sun salutation. She throws in intervening yoga poses with creative variations in each sun salutation, besides the pushups.

What I like:
- Shiva gives you permission to do upto 12 pushups per set. You can do less in any set where your muscles tire, and wait in child's pose for her to finish her 12, and still get a great workout.
- You can do all or some of the pushups off your knees. She says you can modify this way but does not show it. It will still give you a good chest/soulder/tricep workout.
- The intervening yoga flow before the next set of pushups is a fun "active recovery". Your "push-up muscles" get a good stretch and a rest and your body gets to experience almost-lyrical yoga before you pump out the next set of push-ups.

The very first time I did this workout, I was coming off a workout slump. I still did all 108 pushups, except off my knees after the first few sets. The recovery and pacing is really excellent to help you max on your pushups.

The arm movements and hand-mudras during some of the poses seem to borrow from classical Indian dance-forms and show the inflence of Shiva's training in kalaripayattu (Indian martial art form that is high on grace).

After the agni namaskar you do some "core" for stomach, obliques, low back and even some gluteal and hip flexor work. It is much less artsy than the Creative Core original (which was too "fluid" and freestyle for me)

I feel like an ungraceful, lumpy person when I do some of Shiva's freestyle stuff. Creative Core Upper and its companion Lower Body make me feel graceful.

The production values are beautiful as is the music. Shiva is the best dressed yoga instructor. Her clothes have yoga mood motifs instead of looking like something smart you would run or weight train in.

Instructor Comments:
She is wonderful to watch. She cues well.



Beautiful cinematography and setting along with jazzy vocal music make this an incredibly visually stimulating program. Shiva's expertise and gentle guidance make it effective! Her gentle, voice over cuing carefully guides the viewer through the sequences.

This release from Shiva focuses on the abs, arms, shoulders and even the chest--all areas of the front of the body will feel worked in this program. In 35 minutes you are on your way to a tighter core, stronger back and more defined arms and shoulders.

Shiva begins with a nice sun salutation which prepares the body for the practice. You'll perform 108 (yes, 108!) pushups in the fire sequence. Shiva performs them in 9 rounds of 12, making it attainable for all. (perform them on the knees for an easier modification) Pushups are great strengtheners! Shiva stretches you out properly between each round with various yoga sequences. A deep cobra and down dog is often included to stretch the back and front of the body. Shiva provides lots of visual cues, her guidance is impeccable. After each round, Shiva adds a new yoga exercise to deepen the practice (and enhance the benefits). The fire sequence is fluid and effective. Using just the weight of your own body as resistance, you'll develop muscle tone and strength in all areas of the upper body.

The creative core segment is 8 minutes long and begins reclining on your back. Shiva performs abdominal focused moves with plenty of isometric holds. This develops the deeper muscles of the core. Unlike traditional core work, you won't perform endless pulsing reps but will hold & contract the abdominals tightly during the movements. No crunches needed!

Shiva concludes the program with a 2 minute deep relaxation. This program is enjoyable and offers an alternative to traditional weight training for upper body strength.

Instructor Comments: