Geri YogaKaty Appleton
Year Released: 2005
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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it about half a dozen times, divided somewhat evenly among doing the whole practice and doing parts.
General workout breakdown: This yoga practice, which mixes Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Sivananda styles, runs about 85 min. After Geri’s welcome and Katy’s overview plus breathing primer (just under 10 min.), the practice itself begins. There are five segments:
*Warm up (21 min.) begins in relaxation before moving through these poses: knees to chest, ankle rolls, reclined belly twist (with both knees bent), reclined double leg stretch (dynamic), reclined single leg stretch (static) with head towards knee, reclined twist (with one knee bent), (half) bridge, knees to chest, cobras, child’s, cat, twist from all fours (with arm threaded underneath), swan’s pose (aka quarter dog), inverted V (aka down dog), low lunge, standing forward bend, and standing (aka mountain).
*Sun & Moon (21.5 min.) runs through two different styles of sun salutations (one of which is more Ashtanga in style), doing several rounds of each, as well as a moon salutation, which moves side to side rather than forwards and backwards.
*Strength (15 min.) features standing poses, including tree, eagle, dancer (prep), mountain, warrior I, warrior II, triangle, extended side angle, and wide angle standing forward bend, before ending in child’s.
*Bliss (17 min.), in contrast, contains postures done on the floor, including head to knee pose (one-legged seated forward bend), seated twist (sage), seated forward bend (with both legs extended), bow (or locust), cobra, child’s, bridge, wheel (or wheel prep), knees to chest, shoulderstand (or prep with one foot on wall), plow (or knees to forehead), kneeling fish, and alternate nostril breathing.
*Chill (10 min.) consists entirely of relaxation in savasana (corpse or rest pose). Katy talks you through relaxing various body parts. Honestly, Katy does a very lovely savasana.
Level: I’d recommend this to someone with some previous yoga experience. Katy assumes you’re still relatively new to practicing yoga, so there’s a lot of encouragement as well as a decent amount of instruction. That said, you’ll want some knowledge under your belt as well as preexisting strength and flexibility. This would be a great video for an experienced beginner looking to get more serious about his/her yoga practice and work up to more intermediate practices. That said, as an experienced yogini (just over 6 years of practice) who’s been on a back to basics kick for a while due to some health issues I still enjoy this practice, although the most recent time I did it this was starting to feel “easy.”
Class: Geri and a man (Nate) join Katy, who instructs live. Katy alternates between performing the poses and walking around instructing and correcting her students. Nate shows less intense variations, while Geri sometimes shows more challenging versions.
Music: gentle instrumental, nothing distinctive.
Set: a shady concrete patio outside a “mid-century modern” LA house in the hills. At times it’s a little windy (you can hear the wind across the microphone at one point) or overcast, but I appreciate seeing something different than the usual.
Production: clear picture and sound. The music is quiet in relation to the voices. The camera angles are helpful, usually showing all of persons’ bodies rather than focusing on close-ups. As to be expected given the title, the camera does focus on Geri a fair amount (although nowhere near as much as it could have), and she does do a few cutesy things when she knows she’s being watched.
Equipment: yoga sticky mat (or equivalent). You may want access to a wall to assist with the inversions and/or a strap (substitute: old tie, belt, etc.) for the seated forward bends.
Space Requirements: enough room to lie on mat with arms and legs extended and to do a full sun salutation.
DVD Notes: The main menu offers you two options: Play or Scene Index. There are no individual chapters within the segments.
Comments: As has been mentioned, the “Geri” in the title refers to Geri Halliwell, aka Ginger Spice; it has nothing to do with geriatrics. Geri wears a microphone, and she pipes up from time to time (except during the Relaxation, when she’s quiet), sometimes with thoughtful comments (“Progression, not perfection”), sometimes not (“This helps you poo”).
When I practice with this video I almost feel like I’m right there in the class.
Since I don’t always have time to do the full practice, I like to split it in half. I’ll do either Warm Up or Sun & Moon, then either Strength or Bliss, always ending with Chill. (Usually I do Warm Up with Strength and Sun & Moon with Bliss, although if I want an all floor practice I’ll do Warm Up with Bliss or if I want an all-standing practice I’ll do Sun & Moon plus Strength.)
Geri Yoga vs. Geri Body Yoga: These two yoga videos with Geri and Katy have the same basic set-up: warm up done mostly on the floor, sun salutations, other postures (including both standing and floor poses), and then relaxation; they also feature one additional person doing modifications. Yet they are definitely different. Geri Yoga was made before Geri Body Yoga; it also seems to have more introductory material than GBY, which assumes slightly more strength, flexibility, and familiarity with yoga. GBY breaks the bulk of the postures into two chapters, one done predominantly standing and one reserved for more of the poses on the floor; GBY also introduces two different kinds of sun salutations plus moon salutations. GY is set indoors; GBY takes place on a patio outside. GY has three women; GBY has a guy as the modifier with the two women. In GY, Geri and Katy are more in conversation, with Geri contributing quite a bit; in GBY, Geri talks a lot less, but what she does say comes off more as random comments or silly jokes (sort of like Dennis Leary on Monday Night Football). Personally I prefer GBY because I enjoy the routine more and I find it more useable; I also feel like it has less down time. But there are times when I could use a “Geri off” option!
I adored Katy the second I “met” her in this video, and I very much enjoy her gentle encouragement, pleasant presence, graceful movement (she’s a former dancer), and soothing voice with a lovely English accent. She emphasizes working at your own level. She instructs for her class, so when she mentions right and left she’s referring to her on screen students’ right and left, not the viewer’s.
I bought this because so many people seemed to dislike it and I wondered what the fuss was. (Well, that and it was only 4 bucks.)
There seem to be 2 issues with Geri - she's chatty and her outfit is tiny. Under normal circumstances I wouldn't go into detail on these points. As Geri is the obstacle to people enjoying the tape, I thought I should mention the issues specifically.
Geri is a little chatty. I didn't mind it, but she does babble. Overall, she struck me as someone who really is excited about yoga and wants to share it with others. For instance she reminds people that you'll probably pass some gas in some postures. I'd rather workout with someone who can accept her body enough to say, "Hey, people have gas. You have gas too."
The other issue is her attire. Yes, her shorts are short, but I've seen people wear that type of outfit to my yoga class. If I had her legs and bottom, then I'd wear that exact same outfit to yoga class, and to the supermarket, and to the office, and everywhere. I can see how the chattiness and the skimpy attire would be annoying, but it didn't really bother me.
If you can get past Geri, you have a nice yoga workout. The workout is longish at 90 minutes. It's definitely not vinyasa as so many videos are. There is a very gentle warm-up, a sun salutation warm-up, some postures, and a nice relaxation. I like that the postures selected include bridge, shoulder stand and plow. Not enough tapes include inverted poses, so I was happy to see these. Katy gives you plenty of time and instruction to learn the postures.
Katy Appleton instructs Geri and another student. Geri doesn't always have fabulous form and Katy tells her how to fix it. It's not a smooth flowing workout, but it's certainly enjoyable. Katy's instruction really clarifies poses that you thought you knew.
Certainly, Geri Yoga isn't everyone's cuppa tea. I did like it and will keep a spot for it in my practice.