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Core Fusion Yoga Energy Flow DVD & Pur Earth Eco Mat

Posted Aug 10 2010 11:07am

On Saturday I had my first long run of my half marathon training. My friend Melissa and I ran the full six mile loop of central park.

My Garmin proves it:

On my way home I saw Missy’s tweet that she tried the Core Fusion Yoga Energy Flow DVD that morning and it helped with her soreness. I’d been meaning to try this DVD for awhile and she inspired me! I took my mat out to my apartment building’s backyard (even in Manhattan we have a tiny taste of luxury), along with my laptop, my new Pur Earth Eco Ma t and my blocks.

I kept my laptop on the ground while doing this DVD, I found that the best way to see the screen.

I’m always a little skeptical of DVDs that are marketed to be just like a “live class,” but I was really pleasantly surprised by this one. First, some background. I take Core Fusion Yoga every week. I am pretty much in love with one teacher and the way she inspires the class, and of all the Core Fusion classes I take, this is the only one I refuse to ever miss. That said, my expectations were not extremely high for the DVD. How can anything compare to my favorite class?

Well, it did compare. I loved this DVD.

I was really pleasantly surprised by Core Fusion Yoga Energy Flow! This was closest to a live class as any of the DVDs — please keep in mind you must select “Play All Without Introductions” to get the full class experience. The format was just like class, although there were some minor differences. Some of the differences were because Fred and Elisabeth, Core Fusion co-founders, were teaching this class, and every teacher does it a little differently. The others were due to the fact that this is a DVD, time is more limited and it cannot be exactly the same as class. But it was very, very close.

Exhale Core Fusion Yoga Energy Flow

The official description:

Reduce inches, tighten, lift, and tone with this unique combination of yoga, cardio, and core conditioning. An energetic, fast-paced practice, Core Fusion Yoga Energy Flow seamlessly blends traditional yoga postures with toning moves for the whole body. Get the calorie-burning benefits of cardio, the sculpting effects of Pilates, and the flexibility and balance of yoga and Chi Gong–all in one workout!

As I said earlier, Fred and Elisabeth lead the DVD. In the background you’ll find three of exhale’s absolute best teachers — Kate, Bergen and Erin Jacques. I love seeing people I know on the TEE-VEE. Erin Jacques happens to be exhale’s National Yoga Director. Fancy!

The DVD starts with stretching of the legs, arms and back and dived right into core work and upper body work with forearm planks and side planks. This is a great way to loosen up and brace yourself for the rest of the workout. I love me some planks.

There are two segments of sun salutations, and this is where you really build up the flow and the heat. If you never did yoga before, you will have to pay attention to the screen the first few times you do this DVD. If you have yoga experience, you will be able to follow the cues without always looking.

These sections include lots of straight arm planks, pushups and chaturangas. The flow is nonstop and you go through many familiar yoga positions, including chair pose (which was not nearly as intensive/painful as during the live class) with pulsing and twisting, reverse swan dive, downward dog splits (with pulses), warrior 1 (with pulsing), warrior 2, triangle, warrior 3, standing splits, upward dog, downward dog, side angle, lunges, half moon — and this is all done in a flow. I especially liked the plank/pushup with one leg up — never did that one in class! I was dripping in sweat after these sections. Luckily I had a towel with me.

I do want to add that one of my favorite aspects of live Core Fusion Yoga class is the music. I learn so many of my favorite songs from that class and it really gets me through the tough parts and just makes me happy. The DVD does not play music (aside from generic music that would fit in well in an, ahem, adult video) because they’d have to buy rights to all the songs and that’s silly. Something to keep in mind when doing this DVD or considering the live class.

Anyway, once that sweaty section is finished, it’s time for the Chi Gong and hip opener sections. The Chi Gong builds up a lot of heat too, and the thighs can burn if you get yourself deep enough into the wide second position. The circular arm movements make your heart beat fast here! Since I just finished a hilly run, I really appreciated — and needed — these hip openers. This section included the standing split/curtsy combination. Imagine stretching yourself out in a standing split and taking up as much space as you can, and then scrunching yourself as small as you can be, and then stretching back out.  Hard to explain here, but it is intense and it feels great. There is glute work incorporated into the standing splits, but after the incredible hip stretching the DVD moves on to the real glute and core section.

You need to have blocks for the core section. This was similar to class, where we cross our legs in front of us, the blocks next to us and we press down on to them and lift ourselves up using our core strength. Intense and just. so. good. Your heart rate really goes up from doing this type of core work. We move on to some gluteal work, lifting our leg while balancing on our forearms and then straight arms. Class ends as all Core Fusion classes end, with the abdominal curl. This is the most intense ab position I have ever done (imagine holding yourself at the top of a crunch) and this section seemed shorter than in class. Now that I know that, though, I will push harder next time I do it so I can get the most out of it. We do lots of different arm and leg movements during the curl so it never gets boring and there is always a burn. And the relief is so great when this is done! When the curl is finished, the work is done and it is time for joyous stretching and savasana.

The stretching and savasana section is called a bonus on the DVD, but we do this in every class and I think it is really necessary after this type of workout. After the curl, it feels so great to do counter stretches like bridge poses and twists. I felt so wonderful after completing this DVD; I really felt like I was in class. I’ve never gotten sweaty like that from a DVD at home before. And the best part was that I was not at all sore from my run the next day, even though it was my first 6 miler in a month and I ran the hills of Central Park. I attribute this to Core Fusion Yoga — perfect post run stretch!

I recommend the Core Fusion Yoga Energy Flow DVD to anyone. You have the option of doing it all at once (which builds up the cardio aspect) or do a ten minute segment anytime you want. And like all the Core Fusion DVDs, it comes with a free class for first time guests. Worth it!

The mat I used in my backyard was sent to me for free by the really cool people at America’s Nutrition . Because the Pur Earth Eco Ma t is eco friendly (biodegradable, no irritating materials) it feels different than a standard yoga mat — almost like styrofoam. I was concerned I would slip on it, but I am happy to say that even with being sweaty, I didn’t slip. The mat felt nice and while it wasn’t super cushiony under me on the rough concrete of my yard, it definitely provided an effective barrier for my workout. I also love the pink/fuscia color.

The mat came with a strap to carry it on my arm which really came in handy when I carried it home from work, and would make for easy transport.

The details:

I try my best to be environmentally conscious, although I admit I often fall short. I do think this yoga mat is great for what it is. The mat might not be the best choice for a super sweaty practice, but for stretching and moderate-to-intense yoga it is a pretty ideal choice. I plan to use this very often as my official backyard mat because I now that I experienced yoga out there, I am mad at myself for not doing this sooner and I plan to take much more advantage of having a backyard to stretch and do yoga while the weather is still nice. I am happy to have a mat that didn’t cause me to slip or slide, a mat that is hot pink and most importantly, the very reason I selected this mat to sample, a mat that is eco friendly.

EXCELLENT YOGA DAY ALL AROUND!

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