First, I would like to make it clearly known that this is in every way a genuine review and not a paid advertisement or anything along those lines. That said, I loved what I experienced. So…
I was ecstatic to open this little manila envelope when it arrived on my doorstep, and that excitement has not waned.
Kristin McGee, celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor, has come out with the bomb-diggity of all prenatal at-home workouts.
This 2-disc DVD couples both yoga and Pilates for something refreshingly fun and appropriately challenging—and both are a welcome change from the average sit-in-the-same-yoga-pose-for-an-hour DVDs that are typically geared towards expectant mothers.
McGee says straight up within her DVD’s introduction that, at times, her primary focus is women who are moving into pregnancy with an already existing yoga practice. Still, in my opinion, her precise instruction and accessible modifications also allow for less experienced moms who want to relax, yet move and stretch.
Here’s a peek at the DVD menu, from McGee’s website description:
“Prenatal Power Flow Yoga — Not for the beginner, but for the pregnant mom who wants to keep her yoga routine during pregnancy. Two segments—do one or both. (43 minutes)
Prenatal Breathing and Meditation — A chance to bond with your baby, your body, and prepare physically and mentally for labor and delivery. (12 minutes)
Prenatal Pilates Tone and Sculpt — Strengthen pelvic floor and abdominals for easier labor, delivery and recovery. The band provides overall toning to keep the body fit and strong during pregnancy. (24 minutes)
Prenatal Peaceful Flow Yoga — Relax, unwind, while lengthening and stretching. (20 minutes)
Prenatal Express Workout — Short on time but need a workout? This Express Workout will challenge the entire body gently and effectively. Do it anywhere. Any time! (9 minutes)”
Again, these DVDs offer something for yogis who want to both break a healthy sweat or simply release tension from tired muscles. (And, if you’re like me, these needs vary day by day, even when not pregnant.)
Perhaps the best part of this DVD, however, is the simple yet unique yellow theraband that comes with this set and its accompanying Pilates workout—my own pregnant body absolutely adores this segment of these DVDs.
First of all, it’s physically invigorating and, for most pregnant yoga mamas—even those of us with Pilates experience—this portion shakes it up and keeps our workouts interesting.
Actually, I found myself regularly gravitating to this particular routine and, with each installment’s relatively short time, it’s impossible not to make time for it in my day.
Additionally, McGee’s light-hearted but approachable personality is inviting and, as my husband puts it, he loves how the video’s studio space makes you feel like you’re practicing with McGee in her living room. And, for us second-time mommies, McGee’s smile is so contagious that my daughter, believe it or not, chooses to put this DVD in. (She’s even tried to get my husband to pop it in and practice along.)
Moreover, one of the things about McGee that has had me looking for her DVDs since my first MTV introduction to her is the eloquent but down-to-earth way she has with words and cues.
For example, McGee—pregnant with her son in the videos—tells us to “hug our baby to our spine” when we need reminders to activate and engage our core muscles—and what a wonderful sensation this evokes when working out with child.
Speaking of McGee’s ability to fuse yoga and Pilates, this is the only area of the DVD that I think might be new or different for some regular yoga practitioners.
Pilates breath and yoga breath are not identical, and there are a few points (such as rounding the spine when on all fours and bringing the knee towards the nose) that she cues breathing inversely from some other yoga styles.
In other words, she tells us to inhale or exhale when our own yoga style might encourage us to do the opposite. However, I think it’s important to remember that neither is incorrect and, for me, I found myself enjoying a little bit of experimentation while, ultimately, breathing how it felt best for my body.
Because easily one of the most wonderful aspects of this DVD is the way that McGee encourages us to listen to our bodies—to not overdo it, to push through one more round when we have it in there and, primarily, to relax into motherhood rather than battling our way through—and what a helpful parental lesson to begin learning early on like this.
Lastly, I can see myself using this set even after I’ve given birth. Many of these strengthening moves are excellent post-natal and the efficient workout modules are perfect for any busy new mom.
I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have discovered this DVD collection during my pregnancy—I certainly wish I’d had access to it the first time around. That said, if you’re a pregnant yogi, a hoping-to-be pregnant yogi or a new mama, this DVD is definitely for you.
(And, hey, Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Wink, wink.)
Photos: Courtesy of Kristin McGee.