Sonic Yoga Vinyasa Heat Live!Jonathan Fields
Year Released: 2002
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SOnic Yoga: Vinyasa Heat Live! Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Comparison
For the benefit of those who are interested in the Vinyasa Heat Live! videos but can't decide which one(s) to get, I've made a brief comparison.
All three hover around 55 minutes long from the start of the practice until "Namaste". (54, 52, and 56 minutes.)
All are filmed in an all white room. The beginning tape was either filmed at night or in a room without windows. The intermediate and advanced tapes are filmed in the same room (with windows, so it's a bit brighter.)
The music (by Raven Recordings) is the same in all 3.
They feature 8, 18 and 12 exercisers respectively, but the beginning tape looks almost as crowded as the intermediate tape because they are crammed so close together. Many of the exercisers appear in all 3 tapes.
Lauren Hanna leads the beginner tape and Jonathan Fields leads the intermediate and advanced tapes. You can see Lauren reading the cue cards. She sounds *exactly* like a female version of Jonathan, from her cadence to her pronunciation. I found this kind of irritating. At least Jonathan sorta seems like himself (although frankly I think he's a poor imitation of Baron Baptiste.)
The advanced tape has virtually no form pointers or detailed pose descriptions. It is explicitly stated that you should know these before attempting the tape. There are a lot more descriptions, form points, and modifications in the beginning tape (as there should be.)
They all follow the same format. A slow motion sun sal A to warm-up, and then the sun sals begin. Do 3 As and then 3 Bs. On the second or third sun sal B you do a warrior 1, warrior 2, side angle sequence (this varies a leetle bit). It's pretty thigh cooking. Then other standing poses with vinyasas in between. They are *much* faster in the advanced tape.
Once you get to the floor, all feature locust, bow, bridge/wheel, pigeon, boat, tabletop/inclined plank, lying spinal twist, cobbler's pose, various core strengthening poses, and seated forward bend. Intermediate ends in reclined cobbler, but the other two end in corpse. Intermediate includes crow, which the others do not.
All have a few interminable down dogs.
The biggest difference between the intermediate and advanced tapes are the speed of the vinyasas and the one-legged planks and chatturangas he throws in. There are other minor differences in the sequences (tree vs. padanguthsasana vs. warrior 3 for balancing poses) but they all really are very similar.
This was so similar to Baron's Live tapes that I had to pop in Soul of Strength immediately afterward to see if it wasn't the exact same set of poses. It's not, but it is very similar to Unlocking Athletic Power and SOS in both look and flow. Even the box cover is very similar. If you like those and want more of the same, then this might be a good choice, BUT...
Jonathan Fields sounds like a cross between Baron and Pauly Shore. There's just something about his accent that recalls Encino Man. ("Meat group!") And if you hate Baron's chatter, DO NOT buy this tape (unless you're a really big Pauly Shore fan and want to invite him into your practice!) Everything out of his mouth is pure Baron, although Jonathan refrains from walking around and commenting on different people's poses (No "look at Clyde! He's modifying with a block! That's beautiful!!" as if it's the first time he's ever seen such a thing) and he doesn't talk about angels and glowing toes. But he does repeat himself. "Bend forward. Knees rolling back. Rolling back. Back." It's effective cueing, but sometimes you wonder if it isn't a Rainman-type thing. And every once in a while he slurs his s's and sounds like Sylvester the cat (crossed with Baron Baptiste and Pauly Shore.)
Much to my surprise I don't recall *any* mention of the whole "Only style proven to burn 540 calories an hour!" garbage. If there was any it was at the very beginning when I was distracted with setting up my space. It did not sound like an infomerical in that way that Bryan's new tapes do and Baron's new tapes almost do. That was good.
As far as workout intensity goes, it's pretty solid. There's a thigh-toasting lunge series (although not nearly so toasty as Bryan's Volume 2 Killer Lunge Sequence) and the ab work at the end will probably get you, too. As with some of Baron's tapes, the final resting pose is reclined cobbler. It's a pose I like, but I've been trained to finish in savasana and old habits do die hard.
Verdict: I think despite Jonathan's Pauly Shore-ness ("Da Weeez-alll!!!!) and the STUPID name ("Sonic Yoga"???)I will keep this. I like the sequencing, I like the breath cueing, and he said something in standing wide-legged forward bend that I'd never heard before and that really helped me. (When you have your hands on the floor between your feet, push the edge of the mat away with your fingertips to help you get deeper in the pose.) Time will tell if it becomes a regular in my rotation, or if I decide that it's too annoying or so much like Baron's live tapes that it's not worth having.
Jonathan sounds like a cross between Baron Baptiste (who he trained with) and Pauly Shore. Aside from that, he cues well, and doesn't go all woo-woo on you. He also does *not* harp on the 540 calories an hour nonsense that is plastered all over, and I mean *all over*, the video box.