Sunday, July 25, 2010

DVD Review - Yoga Link: Core Integration

To be honest, the reason I purchased Yoga Link: Core Integration a Total Abdominal Awakening wasn’t because I wanted to strengthen my abs. It was because it promised an extra feature of a Spinal Undulation. I was curious about how Jill Miller demonstrates undulation. In the typical fashion of not finding what you are looking for, I went through the entire DVD before I found spinal undulation in the core extra segment. However, I was delighted to see that undulations were included in the practice and thoroughly enjoyed the entire sequence.

If you follow the menu, you’ll start with a breathing primer after the short introduction. Miller’s method of describing yoga breathing and her ability to explain why it is foundational to practice are exceptionally well done. This segment is as valuable for advanced yogis as for beginning students.

Next on the menu is the Core Integration Workshop, in which each asana is explained in detail. If you are new to yoga or don’t feel confident in your core, then it is worthwhile to learn each piece of the practice as Miller leads you through each part of the abdominal core and how it is used in the practice. The instruction is complete including a warm up, the diaphragm and pelvic floor, rectus abdominis and obliques (which are technically not part of the core, but important to get moving so the underlying core can activate), the transverse abdominis, psoas, and total integration.

She teaches a version of Happy Baby in the warm up segment with undulations of arms and legs. I find this a wonderful way to gently activate the core, similar to my Waking Spider, which has now been renamed Blooming Lotus. There are also lovely undulations in the locust sequence.

All of the poses are available to beginners, although several progress to an advanced level. In the leg lifts and side winding sequences, I was not able to do the most advanced poses, although as I continue with practice and strengthen my core, I will eventually be able to complete every one.

Now that I’ve been through the whole DVD, I simply use the Core Integration Practice for a one hour morning practice. I’m pleased to have a yoga practice designed by someone else that includes undulations.

Speaking of the Spinal Undulation, which is the Core Extras, Miller demonstrates a version of Cat and Cow where the movement travels sequentially through the spine. Although I do think undulations are better experienced from internal experience rather than trying to duplicate another person’s movement, in this case I find Miller’s description and demonstration to be a useful aid.

Whether you are interested in strengthening your core, deepening your yoga practice, or adding undulation to yoga, this DVD has something to offer.

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