Yoga Link: Core Integration

Jill Miller
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Yoga, Foam Roller



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This DVD is part of the Yoga Link series produced by Pranamaya.com. The instructor for this series is Jill Miller, who had previously created her own self-produced video series called Yoga Tune Up (and who now has a web site under this same name). This Pranamaya series incorporates many aspects of Millerís prior work but adds excellent production values plus a variety of additional workout and DVD options. For starters, there are two main aspects to this DVD, the Core Workshop, in which Miller uses live instruction to break down the individual moves in great detail, and the Core Practice, which Miller presents the same exercises via voiceover for a more flowing practice experience. Also included is a 15-minute Breathing Primer: this same segment appears on all three of the DVDs in the Yoga Link series, and it offers an opportunity to obtain detailed instruction on the types of pranayama, or yogic breathing, which Miller utilizes in these practices.

The Core Workshop further breaks down into several segments. In the 3-minute Core Muscle Primer, Miller reviews each of the muscles that make up the "core" of the body as well as their various directions of movement. The workshop itself is 71 minutes long (the longest of the three Yoga Link DVDs), and then there are two "Core Extras" which review more specific techniques, Agni Sara (2m), an abdominal rolling motion, and Spinal Undulation (3m), a spinal rolling motion. There is also a submenu which lists the chapters of the workshop as follows:

Props for Core Sequence
Core Warm Ups/Diaphragm
Rectus Abdominals * (spinal flexion)
Obliques * (lateral flexion/extension/rotation)
Transverse Abdominal
Psoas * (spinal extension)
Total Integration

As you can see from the above, Miller's aim is to address every muscle in the core region, taking these muscle in every possible direction of movement. To do this, she uses various props, including a yoga block, blanket, wall, and a foam roller (in her props intro, she provides instructions on approximating a roller using a yoga mat and blanket if needed). Miller also borrows some of her moves from her previous homegrown videos; I recognized several of the exercises from both her Spinal Tune Up and her Triangle Tune Up DVDs. There is no relaxation to conclude the workshop, but a brief (2.5 minutes) savasana occurs at the end of the Core Practice, which comes in at 57 minutes total.

One of the the things I liked best about this DVD is that Miller teaches unique techniques for achieving uddiyana bandha, or the abdominal lock, throughout. I actually liked the first, "Bridge-Based Uddiyana Bandha," the best, but Miller offers several other exercises to help you achieve uddiyana from either a lying, seated, kneeling, or standing position. One (minor) thing that I didn't like about the sessions is that Miller occasionally gets a bit too fussy with the props--she makes a joke about snapping her fingers and suddenly having a bare floor to practice on, but obviously, those following along at home cannot adapt so easily.

Overall, I think this is definitely an excellent DVD to work on building core strength from all angles. Miller has clearly made a name for herself based on her amazing knowledge of yoga anatomy and her ability to translate that knowledge into incredibly useful, valuable, and enjoyable yoga practices that deserve a place on the shelf of any intermediate to advanced yoga student.

Instructor Comments:
I love Jill! She is just so warm, down-to-earth, and REAL. She also has an amazing knowledge of the body that she is able to communicate in a way that is completely understandable to the layman. Unfortunately, I think a bit of that gets lost in her voiceover instruction; if it were up to me, I would have her teach all live, all the time. :)

Beth C (aka toaster)

08/17/2009

I've been buying Jill Miller's DVDs (and CD) for quite a while and have always found them to be very helpful in my home yoga practice. Since they've been self produced (until this series) they've seemed a little homemade, although I love them anyway.

With this Pranamaya series the sound issues and editing have improved greatly, moving her videos to a new level and, I hope, opens her approach to a wider audience. Jill's focus on the core (and as far as I'm concerned Jill, as much as anyone, owns this territory) is deep and intense. She makes it possible to understand and connect to how the core works as stabilizer for the spine and as conduit for movement. I particurly like how she uses bridge to sync with uddiyana bandha and offer a progression toward nauli -- side boat is also innovative.

The design of this DVD is very user friendly: there's a 50+ min. practice, a 70+ minute tutorial (wonderful, slower and more detailed look at the principals in use) and a 16 min. breathing primer. The material is well-chaptered so you can work selectively.

There is a lot of material in this DVD and it's organized in very easy-to-digest chunks. The design is user friendly: there's a 50+ min. practice, a 70+ minute tutorial (wonderful, slower and more detailed look at the principals in use) and a 16 min. breathing primer. The material is well-chaptered so you can work selectively.

My only quibble is that the interior seems a tiny bit too stylist-driven.

Me: I've been a home exerciser for over 20 years, have been doing yoga daily for over 10 years (including a teacher training). I think this DVD is best for somewhat experienced practitioners (experienced beginners+) who already have some sense of their core. It complements my own practice and my classes.

My only quibble is that the interior seems a tiny bit too stylist-driven.

I've been a home exerciser for over 20 years, have been doing yoga daily for over 10 years (including a teacher training). I think this DVD is best for somewhat experienced practitioners (experienced beginners+) who already have some sense of their core. It complements my own practice and my classes.

Instructor Comments:

Jill is an experienced yogi who has been teaching for many years. Her own teachers have included Ana Forrest and she also seems to bring in material from disciplines other than yoga. Jill's instruction is as precise as her execution of the movements. She is very direct and down to earth (and funny). Her language is refreshingly concrete, rather than poetic. And, best of all, she doesn't chirp.

Sharon Frost

11/15/2008