Unlocking Athletic PowerBaron Baptiste
Year Released: 2004
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This workout has already been broken down thoroughly, so I am just going to add my opinions on the workout.
I have and enjoy Baron Baptiste’s Soul of Strength workout, and this is in the same Live series. It is much shorter than Soul of Strength, clocking in at about 25 minutes instead of a full hour. I have had this DVD sitting in my to try list for a long while, and finally got to it this weekend. I was immediately in love because it has an exuberantly wonderful hip opener section. My hips and glutes felt great afterwards! I did it two days in a row (after strength, then cardio) as an add on to treat my muscles after hard work in other videos. I imagine this DVD will also feel great after a nice long jog, and can’t wait to find out!
If you are familiar with Soul of Strength, you will find the setting and large classroom cast to be very similar. I recognize some faces from the Soul of Strength class and the music is the same, a fluid and upbeat tribal mixture. For those new to Baron Baptiste, he does not do the workout with you but instead walks around the class to adjust his students’ postures and to remind you to focus and meditate at one point in a held pose. He is obviously very passionate and enthusiastic about yoga and that vibrant attitude passes through his instruction.
For the hip opener section alone (with the vinyasa section, about the first 15-20 minutes) the DVD is a keeper for me. I am an intermediate exerciser and enjoy yoga from Baron Baptiste, Rodney Yee, and Denise Austin (I did not click with Bryan Kest or Sarah Ivanhoe, the only others I have tried to date). I would recommend this to those with some yoga experience because there are tricky poses like crow pose intermixed with more standard poses. Grade A.
I really enjoy Baron in both his Soul of Strength and Unlocking Athletic Power workouts. He is definitely “new agey,” so if that’s a problem, then don’t even bother with his workouts. I think he is a blast! He is enthusiastic and encouraging and I always feel good not just physically but also mentally after doing his workouts, like you not only work the kinks out of your muscles but also your emotions, thanks to his guided sessions.
Unlocking Athletic Power is one of the three videos from Baron's Live! series. Like in the other two practices in this series, Baron leads a large class through the postures, moving thruogh the participants to make adjustments and offer encouragements. The video is described as being for all levels, and some of the class members do perform modified versions of the postures, but there are also some more advanced postures included as described below.
As with all of his videos, Baron begins with sun salutations, moving from the A to the B series. He ends the latter with crow pose, an arm balance--a surprisingly challenging posture for this early in the practice. Next comes a warrior series with plenty of form pointers for where you should be feeling the work. Baron then moves into a series of hip openers, beginning with crescent pose and proceeding to lunge with forearms on floor, pigeon, and double pigeon; a variation on boat pose follows before moving on to the other side. Then it's down to the floor for bridge and wheel (a full backbend which is optional). Baron then throws in a few moves for the abdominals before moving into the final stretches, including dead bug, cobbler's pose, table, lying twist, and savasana. The actual practice is about 26 minutes long, but the music continues for another 2 minutes, allowing you to easily remain in relaxation pose for a longer period.
Overall, I thought this was a nice intermediate practice. It is longer and more challenging than Baron's Core Power (although obviously not as core-focused) but also shorter and not as advanced as his longer Live practice, Soul of Strength. I would recommend UAP for experienced yogis looking for a strong, powerful vinyasa yoga practice.
Baron can be a little flowery in his language at times, but I like him, particularly how he encourages his students to use modifications, emphasizing that everyone will have their own version of the postures. One thing that bugged me a little here though is that he repeats many of the EXACT same comments from Core Power and Soul of Strength, but this was just a minor issue.
I wanted to review this one because there was only one so far. That review went through the breakdown pretty well so I'll just add my thoughts.
I am a big fan of Baptiste's Soul of Strength and, on days when I don't want to work so hard, Power & Precision. I would almost call this one Soul of Strength Lite. There are some great hip openers in here and I often do this workout as an add on for cardio or weight days. You will use your muscles in the sun salutations and balances - this is still power yoga - but it's all done in something like 25 minutes. That I like as an add on to limber up. Most power yoga vids are at least 45 minutes and when there isn't time, I love to use this one !
As for the music, yes, the chanting style is different but I have gotten used to, in fact I have come to like it. I think just hearing it could mellow me out !
This one is a keeper for me, I use it at least once a week !
Baron's cues are excellent and precise - easy to follow and calm. I am, admittingly, a big fan and this is one of his better workouts.
This is a 30 minute workout that Baron describes as 'sweat, serenity and sport'. There is special focus to the hips and pelvis muscles. I wouldn't say this is a challenging strength yoga workout. It has a few leg strength poses I assume to warm your legs up for the stretching poses. I would recommend this tape if you want a nice extra stretch for the hips and pelvis. I really liked this video..although the music didn't excite me as much as yesterday's with his Core Power. I think the newness of it wore off a little but it is still excellent music and excellent workout. I also think that he uses the same cooldown segment as he did the warmup with both this tape and his Core Power tape.
Warmup is a couple of the Sun Salutation B series. I remember he held the high pushup the first time a really long time!!!! After the 2nd Salutation series he ends it with a high chair pose, then goes down into a 'crow pose'. This one surprised me!! I sure couldn't do it but it will be a great pose to work up too!! Then you move on to a series of Warrior 1 and Warrior 2 poses..then down into an extended side angle posture. Some people even had both legs outstretched with one foot on top of the other or grabbed their leg and raised it straight up! You repeat this sequence on both sides.
Then you move onto a sequence that really stretches out the hips and pelvis area. You start out with a crescent pose then you rest your back lunging knee down onto the floor and press hips forward and lift arms straight up and back into a baby back bend. Then you lean forward and rest both your elbows to the inside of your front leg and stretch in that lunging position. Ouch!! Then you go right into a half pigeon pose, then a double pigeon pose (Ouch again!!). As a transition before starting this on the other side you sit on your sit bones and grab your toes & lift your legs up in the air while balancing on your butt. Then it's time to repeat on the other side.
Now you are going to do poses on your back and first you do a bridge pose and then if your brave enough he has you go into a wheel. I wasn't brave enough :-). Then you lie down on your back and raise both legs and arms straight up in the air and lift your head up. Then you straddle your legs out holding onto your toes and then release the hands through your legs while keeping your head up. Then you do a dead bug pose and this was a new one to me but very effective stretch too. Then you massage your spine by wrapping your arms around your legs and rock back and forth a few times. Then he has you sit up and press your soles of your feet together out in front of you and reach your head down towards your feet. Then you finish with the table top position, lay down on your back and press one leg over the other outstretched one to stretch out the spine and then lie back in a corpse pose.
I felt that some of the floor stretching poses he held long enough and some he didn't. It seemed the first side he had us work on he didn't hold them as long..but then I might be used to the TV Show, "Inhale" with Steve Ross as he has us hold the floor stretches an unbelievable amount of time and you just feel soooo stretched out afterwards.