Rainbeau Mars
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts , Pilates/Core Strength , Tai Chi / Qigong , Yoga

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This DVD is no longer brand new, but it's brand new to me, and I've been on a Rainbeau kick for a few months now. Did half of it a few weeks ago and then did the full workout (minus the 10 minute advanced add-on at the end) just recently. Wasn't loving it.

The thing I feel like RaYoka is missing is not just the beginner modifications. It's also missing the "feel good and be good to yourself" vibe she usually infuses her stuff with. Which, if she'd wanted to go in a different direction, great. I just wish that if she wanted to do something truly unique from her Sacred series or Beauty series that she'd gone full-tilt martial arts. I could get behind learning kickboxing from her, for example, or even tai chi, but that's not what this is. The hybridity is distracting instead of being integrative. Conversely, Ellen Barrett hybridizes yoga, pilates, and ballet so seamlessly that you forget she's created a blend of multiple disciplines.

Finally, here's proof that RaYoka was not designed with the home exercizer in mind: the first time I tried it, I had my mat set out horizontally. Partway through, I realized I'd have an easier time of it with the mat vertical, so I moved it. By the halfway mark, I was back out to the edges again, and nothing worked. When I did the complete workout, I set out two mats perpendicular to each other and STILL had trouble staying on it. People, I do not have a round mat! What on earth am I supposed to use?! While they do make round mats, they are huge and super pricey. You'd probably do well to skip the mat altogether and keep your grip steady with yoga gloves and socks. Rainbeau herself wears ballet slippers in this practice.

If you're looking for feel good, body/mind integrative practice, you won't find it here, sadly. In doing a little retcon research on what Rainbeau is really aiming for here, it almost seems like she's trying to turn this style into a live class experience and is selling teacher training modules on her web site. I think that could actually be kind of awesome, as perhaps the style lends itself better to class instruction or personal training rather than a DVD.

Instructor Comments:
Rainbeau performs the moves alone, with no mat and no class, and the background is a plain grey set with no details whatsoever. She looks lovely and performs the moves flawlessly herself, and she does voice-over cueing that is mostly adequate but is not mirror cued and occasionally doesn't fully spell out the move enough verbally that you can do it without checking the visuals very carefully. This gets difficult with inversions or rear-facing warrior poses, where you have to crane to get a peek at the TV.