Power Zone - Mind, Body, SoulDenise Austin
Year Released: 2003
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Denise Austin's Mind Body Soul is a 40-minute workout which nicely blends different exercise styles. It is filmed on an outdoors-y looking set, and Denise works out with two background exercisers. The first section, Mind, begins with a 5-minute warm-up which concentrates on breathing and spine stretches and then moves into an additional 5-minutes of standing yoga postures. The poses (warrior II, side angle, triangle) flow nicely and include some more challenging balances such as warrior III and dancer. Denise gives good reminders to focus on your breathing, although she overuses trite phrases such as "your spine is your life line."
The middle segment, Body, consists of Pilates movements performed mostly in a standing position. In the first 10 minutes, you will replicate Pilates matwork moves such as single leg stretch, criss-cross, double leg stretch, spine stretch, and saw, all while standing erect. However, you will also perform some challenging plank work from a push-up position on the floor. The following 10 minutes require the assistance of a wall. Initially, the wall is used for support during 1-legged moves such as leg kicks, leg circles, rear kicks, and heel beats. Next, the wall is used for some strength moves, including a wall squat, a triceps isometric exercise, and wall push-ups. Throughout this section, Denise repeatedly reminds you to "zip up" your abdominal area so that you really feel the work in your midsection.
The final section of this video, Soul, was a 10-minute dance-type stretch. The exercises performed included mambos, lunges, and additional warrior poses, but the moves seemed to serve as more of a cool-down function rather than cardio or toning. This was my least favorite section of the video; it may have worked better if the Mind and Soul segments had been reversed. Overall, however, I found this to be an enjoyable workout for light toning and general stretching.
Denise's personality is a bit more subdued than usual here, although she still makes a lot of goofy statements. Because the workout moves slowly, I found her much easier to follow than in her aerobic workouts (when her cueing is just AWFUL), and she actually gave some very good form pointers.
Iím just going to do a short review because I only had this for a brief period some months ago.
This workout has approximately 10 minutes of standing yoga, 20 minutes of standing Pilates and ballet, and 10 minutes of dancy movement / dynamic stretching for a total of 40 minutes. Denise leads two young women in a darkish interior set meant to look like a courtyard. (Itís a nice set; it just needs a little more light for my tastes.) The Spanish guitar-type music was pleasant and suited the workout well, from what I remember.
Iíd recommend this to an experienced beginner (i.e. someone with some yoga, Pilates, and maybe a little dance experience) to low intermediate. I didnít find this one challengingódefinitely a light day workout. At the time I considered myself crossing over from the beginner to intermediate level of Pilates and yoga, and I was at least a solidly intermediate with respect to cardiovascular activity.
I love Lisa Wheeler (who did the choreography); I love yoga, Pilates, and ballet; but I donít love this video, so it went back on the exchange. Itís not a bad video. I think itís more that it just wasnít for me.
Similar videos are Liz Gilliesí Progressive Pilates for Weight Loss, which also has dance and standing Pilates sections; Jennifer Kries Pilates Method and The Method: Dance to Fitness videos, which combine dance, Pilates, and yoga; and Breakthru Pilates Plus, which also has separate ballet, Pilates, and yoga segments. Another video with standing Pilates and ballet-type moves is The Method: Standing Pilates, which I havenít personally tried.
Denise is very encouraging, reminding you how great youíll look, and cues decently (but prior experiences in the disciplines very, very helpful as there is minimal form instruction). She has a breathy voice, for what itís worth. This was my first experience with Denise as an instructor, and I didnít love her but didnít hate her. She is a bit enthusiastic for my tastes, such as when she gets really into the ďseaweedĒ dance step. (ďAnd seaweed! And seaweed!Ē)