Project: You - Yoga FlexKathy Smith
Year Released: 2005
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This is one of the several workouts included in the Project You package produced by Beachbody and led by Kathy Smith. The series is geared towards beginner-intermediate exercisers, in fact I think the complete title was “Project: You, Type 2” for specific use towards sedentary adults who developed Type 2 diabetes. In general I wasn’t interested in the Project You workouts but lately I have desired some gentler workouts, and found the set at a bargain price lately. The whole set consists of 8 workouts (my secondhand set didn’t include the Steady Strides walking audio CD although it may have been included originally). The 8 workouts are on 3 DVDs within one DVD plastic container (a great space saver and I wish more sets would do this!). Yoga Flex and Pilates Core are on the third DVD in the set.
Yoga Flex clocks in at exactly 20:00 minutes. Kathy leads (sometimes working out with you and sometimes walking around commenting on the others’ forms) with about 4 background instructors, three women, and one male who gives modifications for beginners and/or those with tight hamstrings. I recognized Nancy (an older woman) from Kathy’s Matrix Sculpt workout and she demonstrated awesome flexibility in this workout-wow!! I was hoping for a very relaxing, slow moving yoga workout and that’s what I got! All of my other yoga workouts are more strength focused, move quickly, and are very intense (Jillian’s Yoga Meltdown, Biggest Loser Yoga, and Denise Yoga Body Burn), and I really didn’t have a relaxing, shorter workout to end the day with. This workout really filled a gap in my (large) collection.
Like all Beachbody workouts, there is a time counter at the bottom, and the production value is very high. The set in Project You is very open, light, and uncluttered, although the music is very generic and is not much better than in the Slim Series set (blech music) which is a minus. However, for the short yoga workout, the soft, slow moving music was just fine and not a disappointment (I think it will become more troublesome/annoying in the cardio and interval workouts). The workout is fairly well chaptered, not drilled down specifically by pose and pose variations like later Beachbody productions (CLX or BBL for instance) but more by a clump of exercises: warm up, standing sequence, and cool down I believe. The timer bar doesn’t introduce specific poses like those later Beachbody productions but it’s not a big deal. The chaptering and timer bar is on par with Turbo Jam, which was issued the same year.
The workout starts with a warm up of about 5 minutes which included several cat/cow reps followed by downward dog, low lunge, spinal twist, and hamstring stretches on each side. Then you stand for a warrior sequence (warrior 2 on each side), triangle on each side, and pyramid pose on each side, sprinkled with many standing forward bends in a wide stance position. Just a lot of great stretching mostly focused on the hamstrings (great!) The workout ends on the floor again with cobblers pose to open the hips and an athletic (not yoga) hamstring stretch on each leg. The final pose is corpse but at less than one minute in this pose, it feels rushed and she urges you to sit back up again for the final goodbye. That doesn’t sound like much going on for 20 minutes, but Kathy went very slowly and held each move at length which used over time should really increase one’s flexibility.
The workout went by adequately quickly and I felt well stretched by the end. It was well suited as a quickie evening winding down workout, which is just what I was hoping for. I would have really liked to see pigeon pose to stretch the glutes, as there were no real glute-specific stretches, but it wasn’t a big deal, and I can always sub poses once I get more familiar with the flow. The workout had no vinyasa sequences which was fine with me (less intense). The moves were not very varied but it was a short routine and the poses were held at length which like I said really worked on flexibility. A lot of newer yoga workouts really go too quickly through the poses to get flexibility gains. This was a strictly athletic yoga-type workout and did not have any mind-body connection or “woo woo” talk. Overall I would rate this as a beginner to beginner-intermediate workout, well suited for beginners because of the slow execution of moves, but any level of exerciser can benefit from all that hamstring stretching. I plan to add this to my regime as an evening relaxation workout to stretch me out before a good night’s sleep. Overall grade A-.
Kathy Smith has had, and continues to have, an impressive career in the exercise video industry. I think she has lasted so long due to her flexibility and willingness to adapt to new genres of exercise as popularity waxes and wanes. She has an overall very good reputation for her experience and expertise, and while some think she’s too chatty (although certainly not Denise-level chatty) I think she is well balanced between portraying enthusiasm and being down to business. I haven’t enjoyed all of her workouts (older or newer) but many of them are very good additions to my (large) collection. With minor exceptions, she seems to stay in the beginner-intermediate range, which is nicely complemented by her detail to instruction and her choice to stay with standard, tried and true exercises. This is the first Project You workout I have tried and she was a very good lead. I will note that when the background exercisers were being introduced, they weren’t smiling (some even looked bemused!) which certainly didn’t invoke enthusiasm on my part.
As one might expect from this add-on to the Project: You series, this 20 minute video is straight forward, geared toward the beginner to intermediate exerciser. It brings the stretch benefits of yoga to the overall PY program. No sitars, Sanskrit or moons rising over desert sands.
The beginning is a brief vinyasa from cat/cow into down dog, crescent lunge with modifications and one chatturanga/cobra in between the sets on either side. It also covers some Warrior IIs, triangles, hip openers, forward bends and twists. The music was gentle and there is a brief Shavasana during which she encourages exercisers to release tension from their bodies - more in the physical than spiritual.
I read a post on the BB boards that a person precluded herself from doing BB yoga add-ons for religious reasons. This is a flexibility workout - period.
Project You is my first experience with Kathy. She is very encouraging and while at times there are some slight miscues, it was forgiveable to me because she is right there working along with the viewer. In this yoga video her voice is kind of muffled from holding certain asanas, I thought it was cute (all my other yoga videos are in perfect studio voice over, Kathy is right down there breathin' with ya).
This is the yoga routine from the Project You set by Beachbody. I was a bit nervous about this because I never got through Kathy's older yoga tapes, and I am really terrible at stretching. But it turns out this routine was a pleasant surprise. It is only 20 minutes, and I found it very managable. There is a cat/cow sequence, a little bit of plank and down dog and then some seated and standing stretches. I could handle nearly all of them with very minimal modifications.
I am not sure an advanced yoga person would get much out of this very light, very basic routine but I can see myself getting a lot of use from this program. It is just perfect for me and my level.