Yoga Journal: Yoga for Core Strength

Coral Brown
Year Released: 2013

Categories: Yoga

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I borrowed this DVD from the library: I'm glad it wasn't it purchase, as I found it to be fairly disappointing. Although titled "Yoga Practice for Core Strength," it is not focused as much on strengthening the core per se as on maintaining an awareness of the core throughout various yoga postures.

The DVD offers four short yoga sequences and two brief yoga tutorials, each of which is listed on the Main Menu. All of the routines are instructed by Coral Brown, who leads student Sarah Yates through demonstration of the poses. The use only a mat plus a yoga block for a few of the practices. I have described each section below.

This floor routine is the one sequence on the DVD that really does have a strong focus on the core. Brown has Yates start in sphinx pose for sphinx roll-ups. Next comes side plank (unfortunately completed on one side only), and then both bent and straight leg versions of supine twist. This is followed by a reclined crow pose, and then, coming to seated, a staff pose lift (block between the thighs) to finish.

Brown explains that this sequence will build to warrior 3. She recommends warming up with sun salutations, but she does not do this. Instead, she has Yates begin with the seated staff lift, again using a block between the thighs. She the moves Yates through a warrior 3 prep move with the block as well as standing splits. Using a vinyasa to come to the floor, Brown cues Yates through a standing series that includes warrior 1, pyramid pose, warrior 2, wide-legged forward bend, and locust. After repeating on the second side, the entire sequence is performed again, this time subbing warrior 3 for pyramid pose and bow for locust. Savasana is encouraged but done on one's own.

Here Brown again recommends beginning with sun salutations, but she starts Yates off on the floor in a supine twist. As with the Standing routine, this sequence includes two separate standing pose flows. The first series starts with a chair twist and then moves through a vinyasa to warrior 2, reverse warrior, side angle pose, half splits, low lunge, and standing wide angle forward bend with twist. After Yates repeats this on the other side, Brown starts off the second flow with a deeper chair twist, vinyasa to warrior 2, triangle, low lunge with twist, and standing wide angle forward bend with a deeper twist. Brown has Yates conclude the practice seated in a cobbler's forward bend.

Brown has Yates begin her with a standing side stretch. The standing pose flow included a vinyasa to warrior 2, half splits, low lunge with backbend, and camel prep; this sequence is repeated a second time with some slight variations. To end the practice, Brown has Yates rest in wisdom pose (aka wide child's pose).

This section is designed to prepare for crow pose. Brown notes that all arm balances require hip openers, and so she encourages the practice of these poses first. She has Brown begin lying for supine cobbler's pose, performing several crunches in this position. This is followed by reclined crow pose. Rolling up to a squatting position, Brown has Yates practice setting up and then lifting up into crow.

This brief segment is designed to assist with performing vinyasas and eventually jumps forward and back. Brown has Yates first perform sphinx roll-ups, then take this move further by rolling into up dog. From there, she instructs Yates to move slowly through to down dog, plank, chaturanga, and back to up dog.

As noted above, I was somewhat disappointed in this DVD. If all of the practices had been more similar to the first one (the Core Strengthening sequence), I probably would have liked it more, as the DVD's title led me to believe that there would be a greater focus on core work. But I also found these routines to be poorly edited. One major issue is that for about half of each practice, Brown's instruction leads the viewer to be facing AWAY from the video, which is obviously awkward. Furthermore, Brown does not offer any modifications for any of the moves (such as the staff pose lifts, which I was unable to do despite being able to do crow pose).

In the end, I'm glad I got the opportunity to preview this DVD, and I might have picked up a few worthwhile tidbits from it, but I would not recommend buying it.

Instructor Comments:
Coral was okay; I don't know whether to blame her or the editing issues I mentioned above for some of the problems in this DVD.

Beth C (aka toaster)