Low Impact Series: Yoga MaxCathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2011
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Somehow I approached this workout thinking it would be more advanced, sweaty, challenging yoga...you know, Yoga MAX. It's not. It's beginner level, except for a couple of balance poses for which Amanda and Jai show an advanced version. As such, it's a bit of a disappointment. Cathe is not a yoga teacher and her instruction is sometimes clunky and jarring. For example, she uses the word "aggressive" more than a few times, as in (paraphrase) "warming up the muscles so we can be more aggressive with our poses", and that word just takes me right out of the practice. The 48 minutes of yoga is mostly standing work, with some floor moves done at the end, including a few slightly out-of-place Pilates-based abs moves and a levitation hold. There are a fair number of high planks into up dog and down dog, lots of childs-pose rests between poses, but no spinal twists.
My main complaint about Yoga Max is the instruction. There's a descriptive quality to yoga teaching that Cathe doesn't have; the better teachers clearly explain that poses are dynamic, so they're telling you how to get into a pose and how to experience the pose once you're there. Cathe's description is more like cueing an athletic stretch: hands down, hips up (or whatever) and stay there until she tells you to come out of it. That style of instruction/cueing was perfect for Yoga Relax, which is really just a (very solid) athletic stretch routine masking as yoga. Yoga Max is trying to be real yoga but Cathe's instruction falls short.
The set is the basic gym, with Jai, Lorraine, Amanda and Brenda as backgrounders. Music is tinkly "Indian"/southeast Asian-sounding world music attempting to imbue some yoga authenticity.
Cathe is in great shape but doesn't always demonstrate the best form. Her cues and instruction are much more suited for an athletic-style stretch than a flowing yoga practice.
This is a beginner level yoga practice led by Cathe. The pace of it is very slow and the poses are held quite a long time. I would describe it as a vinyasa flow style. She does forward fold to straight back (at 90 degrees, like the beginning of sun salutation A) back down to fold and then up, and hands to "heart center" as an intro to the next pose. She avoids saying "prayer" at all costs, and caught herself once. There are a lot of downdog, high plank, low plank up dog vinyasas in between what few poses were done. She does Warrior I, Warrior 2, Extended side angle pose, triangle, etc for about the first half hour. Then the balance poses were holding your knee, knee out to side (extending leg and holding toe was the advanced version which was shown by Jai and Amanda.) and flowing right into Airplane. After that it is to the floor for locust pose, camel (Cathe has almost no backward flexion in her spine and cannot do the pose very well). Then we went into a weird Pilates themed ab segment with lowering your legs varying degrees down to the floor, then repeated with your upper body in a crunch. Some single leg stretch was in there and boat pose, then an incredibly short fetal position savasana and its back to sitting cross legged where she did actually say "namaste". The music was good. I wish Jai had led this class. My overall impression of this practice was ???. Cathe mentioned the breath only once or twice and tries to introduce Ujjayi breathing (without naming it) by saying it's like trying to fog up a mirror with your mouth closed.
It's better than what I expected out of Cathe (for a yoga workout) but not worth the hour I wasted on it. This would be good for someone who wants a yoga practice that isn't very new-agey or spiritual.
Cathe, if you want to branch out into something new, please give us a kettlebell workout. :^)