Yoga practitioner and teacher Inna Costantini reviews a DVD by Sting's wife, Trudie Styler: Core Strength Pilates.
Trudie Styler's latest DVD, Core Strength Pilates, claims to present a 'solution to maintaining strength and energy', but as a committed yoga practitioner and teacher, how much did it really offer me?
Initially ignoring the tempting bonus features on cooking and lifestyle, I pressed the play button and passively lay on the mat, watching the screen as the camera skilfully swooped down on lush Tuscan landscape, landing on a perfectly toned Trudie and her trainer, fitness guru, James D'Silva.
Camera angles aside, this is a well-presented, clear DVD, with a short (55mins) sequence and concise instructions.
Structure and form
Starting quite gently on the mat, the sequence slowly builds up to more dynamic, flowing movements, focusing on core strength, alignment and stretching.
Balancing Pilates style moves with a good combination of yoga (inspired) postures made it familiar enough to follow and understand.
The no frills and simple, straightforward approach is appealing and, a few pouting close ups aside, the obvious celebrity aspect didn't resonate as much as I would have expected it to.
On the whole, this is a relaxing enough and short sequence (ideal for busy people) for a quick fix routine. The first half is accessible to all levels and builds up nicely into a more dynamic and challenging routine for all abilities.
However, it lacked some options and variations for beginners, while some postures would never be achievable (nor healthy) for those with sensitive knees or tight hips.
James D'Silva does provide some good details in the anatomy and sequencing, but the assumption/approach that every viewer can comfortably sit in padmasana or hold stronger versions of extended side plank (vashistasana) for instance, could be softened.
Nevertheless, the fact that he gives more challenging postures to work on, makes the whole sequence suitably meaty to keep viewers interested enough to want to watch it again.
This is obviously more of a Pilates video, which integrates some yoga postures, breath / movement synchronization and elements of a dynamic yoga practice, but it does nonetheless remain focused on core strength and maintaining a fitness routine.
Strangely enough, by the end I did enjoy the experience of following Trudie and her guru beautifully gliding from one posture to the next to the sound of Sting's music - even though it barely felt like a yoga practice but more of a fitness oriented class.
However, the slow, steady rhythm combined with breath awareness fit in well with my innate yogic habits, and the routine was convincing enough.
Integratig pilates moves with yoga
As a yoga teacher, I would consider integrating some of the moves and sequencing into a regular practice warm up, at the beginning of a class, or as a core strengthening sequence.
Overall, this is a well thought and devised sequence, and with another 4 similar fitness videos lined up, no wonder Trudie Styler looks so toned and fit.
It does indeed keep its promise of 'a natural, rhythmic feel while challenging your entire body', but whether this is appealing to the serious yoga crowd is another matter. Anyone with a regular, dedicated practice may find this sort of video interesting but most likely superfluous.
Core Strength Pilates is part of a 5 DVD set, which focuses on the body, wellbeing and overall fitness (the others being dance, Pilates, yoga and core).
Mindfulness and relaxation come second - if at all. The focus is indeed on the bodily fitness, but the aims and goals remain clear: both through the sequence and the bonus interviews, where Trudie clearly expresses that the main intention is to maintain physical health and bodily awareness.
In the bonus feature interviews, Trudie and Sting share some insight into of their healthy and balanced lifestyle, the benefits of yoga - both for body and mind- to the background beat of Sting's classic tunes.
This does provide a pleasantly entertaining conclusion to the DVD, but rather in a pop video ‘behind the scenes' kind of way. A perfect reflection of our age's obsession with celebrity lifestyle.
Reviewed by London-based yoga teacher and practitioner, Inna Costantini.