I happened to be browsing the workout DVDs at the library and I saw they had a few brand new DVDs–workouts that had just been released in December 2015! Element’s Cardio Conditioning Yoga was one of them. Since I am so enamored of most the Element workouts I’ve done so far, I decided to give this one a try, even if it isn’t Ashley Turner (my favorite Element yoga trainer).
These yoga workouts are led by Alanna Zabel, founder of AZIAM Yoga (I have no clue what this is) and creator of Yoga Barre (I don’t know what that is either–I did look it up on Amazon and it isn’t a DVD series). She has been teaching yoga, fitness and pilates for over 23 years. She apparently is sought after by Hollywood-types. I found her workouts very well done and effective. I still don’t like her nearly as much as I like Ashley Turner, but I do like her and I love these workouts she created, so I will buy this DVD. These workouts are done voice over like all Element workouts I’ve done. And Alanna does cue very well. However, at one point during the Cardio Yoga she just stopped cuing. It was nothing but music. She was going through a sun salutation that she had already cued before, but I still didn’t like it. We don’t know that is what is going to happen and I don’t want to have to be craning my neck to watch the tv all of the time. I obviously do look at the tv during the workout but I also rely on cuing. But this only happened for a short period. The rest of the workout was cued. It didn’t happen at all during Conditioning Yoga. Like all Element workouts this one is set in a beautiful garden by the Pacific ocean. Lots of green trees and bushes, flowering vines. Gorgeous and relaxing.
This DVD contains two yoga workouts, each approx. 30 minutes long. A “cardio” yoga and a conditioning yoga. It also has a bonus meditation section that is 10 minutes long. The cardio yoga isn’t exactly “cardio.” I wore my Fitbit and that workout never got my heart rate into the cardio range. However, it did work me hard. I was sweating and I felt it. It was a very good dynamic flexibility workout. I’m sure my heart rate was higher than it is with most of the more relaxing yoga workouts I do. And despite the fact she says in her intro that you don’t hold poses very long in this workout, you do. Not all of them. You do flow between poses, but you also sometimes hold some poses for a nice (and needed) stretch. This happens primarily near the end. Overall, I enjoyed it. It worked me hard and then relaxed me at the end. I loved the Conditioning Yoga workout. This was a wonderful mix of yoga and bodyweight strength w/ some stretching yoga. She manages to combine yoga w/ some lower body mat work! I really loved it. They are both excellent workouts but the Conditioning Yoga is my favorite of the two. Done together and you will get an excellent hour long workout! And finally, the 10 minute meditation is pretty straight forward. You sit cross-legged while Alanna talks you through it. I always make myself do these short meditations at least once when I get a DVD that includes them. I usually find them beneficial but I never return to them, which is unfortunate because I am not good at clearing my mind and focusing the way you should in meditation. I really need to make it a point to return to these every time I do a yoga workout that contains a bonus meditation.
Cardio Yoga is 34:30 minutes long. You start with some warm up moves–rolling shoulders, stretching shoulders by lacing fingers behind back and stretching them, and side bends. The workout actually begins when you move to the end of the mat and forward fold. Step back into a deep lunge w/ hands on ground and alternate straightening legs w/ bending them (so lunge to pyramid). Get into plank and lower to stomach. Do cobra. Do upward facing dog. Downward facing dog. Return to forward fold. Plank walks–starting in bent knee forward fold, step feet back to plank and step them back up to forward fold; keep repeating. Tricep push ups. Down dog to forward fold. Chair pose with arms stretched and laced overhead. Lift one heel and straighten and return to chair pose with heel raised; repeat this several times. Warrior 3 to crescent pose; alternate these two poses several times. Repeat chair series and warrior 3/crescent pose series on other side of body. Forward fold to plank. Tricep push ups. Warrior series: Down dog to 3 legged dog. Bring knee to forehead then extend back to 3 legged dog; do this several times. Bring leg between hands into lunge and raise into warrior 1. Open into warrior 2. Straighten legs while raising both arms overhead, return to warrior 2; repeat this several times. Place elbow on bent leg and extend other arm over head (side angle pose). Raise to reverse warrior. Return to side angle pose but this time lower hand to floor and raise other arm overhead. Return to reverse warrior but this time straighten front leg. Half moon pose. In half moon, raise and lower leg. Return to warrior 2. Turn feet so you are in a plie/sumo squat (standing frog pose). Raise arms overhead. Straighten legs while bringing arms to side, then lower to standing frog pose while bringing arms overhead again; alternate these two moves. From here Alanna returns to warrior two and goes through the sun salutation with zero cuing (so very irritating). Repeat Warrior series on other side of body. Come into plank, lower halfway and hold. Lay on mat; cobra then down dog. Forward fold. Stand and bring one leg behind you. With both legs straight and hands on hips, arch back and neck. Lower torso into flat back, arms straight at sides, palms facing ground. Lower one hand to floor beside front foot and raise other arm overhead while turning head/torso into twisting triangle pose. In this position, lower hand to foot and raise arm/hand again, twisting body/torso to sky; keep raising and lowering arm. Return to forward fold. Repeat on other side of body. Stand in center of mat, legs wide, feet turned in. Fold forward, hands to ankles (wide leg forward bend); hold this pose. From this pose, hold right ankle then left ankle. Return to plank, lower to floor, do cobra to down dog to forward fold. Sit on bottom, knees bent, hands behind knees and round back. Roll to floor and raise feet off floor, knees bent and do crunches, hands behind head. Bring elbows to opposite knees. This turns into bicycles. Laying on back still, bring knees into chest then cross one leg over the other while in this position, holding ankles with hands and pulling ankles toward floor (reclining cow face pose). Corpse pose. Stretch arms overhead then come to sitting. Workout ends sitting cross-legged w/ hands resting on knees.
Conditioning Yoga is 32:30 minutes long. You start seated cross-legged, eyes closed and focus on breathing and posture. Get onto all 4s and do cat and cow. This changes; you still do a cat, but when doing cow, you raise your hands off the ground while still rounding your back, but lowering your bottom a few inches above heels. At the end of this series you hold in the final position, on knees, bottom a few inches off heels and back rounded; you put your hands behind head and pulse up and down in this position. Continue the pulsing but twist elbows side to side. Straighten body while still on knees and do camel pose. Come to all 4s then raise knees of floor so you are holding yourself on hands and toes; keep alternating from knees to toes. Push back to downward facing dog. For the next series you will go from a plank then push back into position that is like a child’s pose but with knees raised off ground (I don’t know the name of it and she didn’t say the name). First you will alternate between plank and this pose, then you will add a tricep push up while in plank. *At this point you start a long series that you will repeat on the other side of the body. Return to down dog then transition to Warrior 2. Rotate heel into standing frog (plie squat w/ arms out straight to side). Raise arms into wide V and raise one heel. Hold in this position. Return to warrior 2 then lower to side angle. Transition into side plank. Get on all 4s. Extend one leg and opposite arm; hold this pose. Lower arm but keep leg raised out straight. Lower onto opposite elbow, and face body forward. Raise and lower straight leg, touching the toe to mat then raising high. Bend knee and circle knee/leg/hip, bringing knee almost to elbow then pushing leg almost straight behind you before bending to bring it up and around again–so full range of motion in the hip. Straighten leg again, still raised slightly higher than hip; bend knee, bringing knee in to elbow then pushing leg out straight again; so this several times. At the last rep hold w/ knee to elbow (hydrant position) and pulse knee/leg up and down. Lower knee so you are on all 4s then go into forearm plank and hold. Lower to stomach and do cobra or upward facing dog. Down dog. *Repeat series on other side of body. End series in child’s pose. Sit on bottom, knees bent, feet flat on floor; lean torso back and place hands on floor behind you, palms facing your body. From this position push torso up into table/crab. Raise and lower torso and at the bottom of the move you will bend elbows so you are also working triceps. Hold in table/crab. Sit on bottom and straighten legs; fold forward, holding feet w/ hands; hold. Lay flat on back, legs straight, and bring right knee into chest. Lift forehead toward right knee and lift left foot a few inches off floor and hold. Straighten right leg and grab calf w/ both hands, pulling leg toward face. Bring left hand behind head, still holding calf w/ right hand. Bring left elbow to right calf; raise and lower elbow to calf several more times. Hug both knees into chest. Repeat on other side of body. Lay on back, knees bent; bring feet close to bottom and raise up onto toes; raise and lower hips in this position. After doing this several times, hold in the up position. Lower heels to floor, but bring feet a bit further away from bottom, but knees are still bent. Raise hips into bridge pose and clasp hands under body. You can also do wheel if you want. Lower to floor and bring knees to chest. Roll knees to left side of body so bent legs rest on floor and reach torso/arms to right, twisting/stretching the spine. Repeat stretch on other side of body. Transition to corpse pose. The workout ends in seated cross-legged pose.