Aim True YogaKathryn Buding
Year Released: 2011
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I really like both practices on this DVD. I would rather not have the hops on both practices, because I feel like it makes them too similar. They went through the trouble of filming 2 workouts instead of just editing one down to a shorter version, why have such similar poses? (Apparently the hops prepare you to learn inversions, although there are no inversions on here.) But other than that, it's great - this is challenging but has a "feel good" vibe to it. If I haven't been doing yoga regularly, I get really challenged by the intermediate practice!
Also, Kathryn's other DVD QuickStart is just a re-release of this same DVD. I was disappointed to learn that - I really like her style and was looking forward to more from this instructor.
This DVD is instructed by Kathryn Budig, a frequent model for the magazine YOGA JOURNAL. Budig explains in the included interview that she was inspired by the Greek Goddess Artemis to come up with the "Aim True" theme, and she weaves this theme into both practices. Budig offers two main yoga routine, a shorter "Beginner's Flow" and then a longer "Authentic Flow" which she designates as an intermediate practice. She also provides a brief tutorial called "Yoga Poses Demystified," which breaks down several more advanced postures. The final items on the Main Menu are the Exclusive Interview with Kathryn (6.5 minutes) and the link for downloads from Gaiam.
For each of the two yoga practices as well as the tutorial, Budig is alone in a large studio, instructing via voiceover. Her only prop for the main routines is a mat, but she does use a yoga block to assist with the postures in the tutorial segment. I have described each of the practices in detail below.
BEGINNER'S (25 minutes)
Budig begins this routine in child's pose. She moves quickly through a few cat's breaths to down dog, providing the option of movement. From there she moves on to a chaturanga variation, flowing through a vinyasa which includes plank, baby cobra, full cobra, and returning to down dog. Eventually, she moves into forward bend and then comes to standing for two rounds of sun salutations. Returning to the floor, Budig moves through some abs work, including boat pose with bent knees, and then flips over for some work on the elbows. From down dog, she practices hops, hovering in the air. She then moves through several standing pose flows, including three-legged dog to low lunge; chair to warrior 1; chair to warrior 1, warrior 2, reverse warrior, and side angle pose; and triangle to half fish to dolphin/plank poses. The finishing poses include bridge, happy baby, and reclining twist. Budig sets up for savaasana, but no time is allowed for the final rest. This definitely was NOT a beginner's practice, as Budig offers almost no form and alignment tips, and she moves quite quickly throughout the routine; I would suggest that it is appropriate for those at a low intermediate level and above.
AUTHENTIC FLOW (45 minutes)
Budig starts this practice in down dog, again allowing for movement in the posture. After moving through a few vinyasas from chaturanga to plank and back to down dog, she eventually comes to the top of the mat and performs a total of three sun salutations. This is again followed by abs work: although she continues to keep the knees bent for boat pose, she also adds several rounds of boat to half-boat. Returning to down dog, Budig practices the hops with the hover, adding in a clap of the heels as well. The first standing sequence moves from chair through warrior 1 to side plank and crazy dog. Budig then holds in a squat, optionally moving into crow pose. Next comes what she calls the "archer sequence"": she performs warrior 1, warrior 2, reverse warrior, and side angle poses, all while doing a bow and arrow with the arms. This series ends with standing splits, practicing a hop in this position as well. The next sequence includes triangle pose with bind, half moon, half fish, and "Thriller" push-ups (from half fish, rocking forward onto the hands and pushing up). This is followed by what Budig calls "Ninja" hops, or hopping forward on the tippy toes from down dog position. The final standing series includes standing hand-to-foot, warrior 3, crescent, and revolved crescent. Budig then performs dolphin pose, practicing hops from this position (i.e., hoping into forearm balance--note that she does NOT use a wall to assist). Coming to the floor, Budig performs two rounds of wheel followed by happy babies pose. Finishing postures include cross-leg reclined twist, full seated forward bend, and double pigeon. Budig again sets up for savasana but does not allow any time for the actual relaxation. Although most of this routine was solidly intermediate, Budig moved into the advanced ranges at times with her frequent forays into balancing on the hands.
YOGA POSES DEMYSTIFIED (8.5 minutes)
There are 4 segments to this section: 1) Block Exercise (Tiny Little Package)--Budig uses a block to discuss keeping the shoulders in alignment, 2) Half Moon Pose--Budig uses a block to assist with achieving this posture, 3) Crow Pose--Budig shows how to learn this posture by squatting on a block, and 4) Headstand--Budig explains how to attain the balance needed for Tripod headstand.
Budig has a young, hippy-type vibe, and she IS very encouraging, despite the fact that she doesn't provide much form information. The practices on this DVD would probably be most appropriate for those who are already experienced yoga practitioners but who enjoy playing around with taking things to a more advanced level. In addition, Budig is likely to appeal most to those who are already fit and flexible.
Kathryn is likeable, but as noted, she really doesn't provide much instruction for those who might need it, which is why this DVD is definitely NOT for beginners (or really anyone wanting detailed form information). I could see some people really loving her style, others thinking that she lacks substance. ;)