Friday, November 5, 2010

Review of Shiva Rea: Creative Core Abs

When I watched the introduction to Shiva Rea - Creative Core Abs, I felt like I was seeing a late-night infomercial that was speaking directly to one of my deepest desires – working the core without repetitive crunches or sit-ups.
   “Many people have a resistance to doing focused core work. It’s often approached as a duty, something that must be done without much pleasure and usually for external reasons,” says Rea, a world-renowned yoga teacher, in the introduction.
   “This pressure for outer appearance can stifle the creative fire inside through repetitive, mechanical movement.
   “The purpose of this DVD is to offer you a set of creative and innovative tools for core strength and integration.”
   So – strengthening abs without repetition. Is it really true?
   Yes, I was pleased to find. The Creative Core Abs routine uses fluid movements that change often – just like yoga.
   The fluidity of movement, combined with the terrific music and lovely location on a dune in White Sands National Park in the United States, makes for a much more pleasant way of working the abs than crunches.
   But don’t think this workout is for sissies: There will be burning in the core, particularly in the third and most difficult segment (you can do each segment on its own or all three together.)
   The first segment, 10 minutes long, is called Water Core. “(With the) invocation of the circular and fluid power of water, we will cultivate a receptive, creative and playful core strength,” says Rea at the beginning of the segment. Doesn’t that sound fun?
   The segment starts from a kneeling position, from which an exerciser leans back and forth in a pulsing motion. Then there are moves such as lying on the ground and drawing up the pelvis and circling it about; twisting the lower body from side to side from a position of lying on the ground; and then lying on the side and reaching out the hands and legs as if doing a sidestroke.
   In the second segment, Spontaneous Core (eight minutes long), Rea takes the exerciser through a series of movements done facing upwards while lying on the ground. These include reaching legs out one at a time, then putting them together and pushing them upwards by lifting the pelvis off the ground.
   Rea then encourages the exerciser to put the moves together in a spontaneous pattern – strengthening the core through freedom of movement.
   Fire Core is the third segment, and it is 17 minutes long.
   It’s the toughest of the three segments, as it uses variations on a sustained plank position to work the core.
   In yoga, plank position is holding the upright position of a push-up (it can be done on the knees.) From plank, Rea draws the knees in, one at a time, to the navel, and increases the speed that this is done until it almost resembles running.
   After the plank variations, Rea stands for some yogic squats and warrior poses, and finishes with a twisting “kriya” – twisting from side to side along the axis of the spine at a faster and faster pace.

Shiva Rea: Creative Core Abs at

Another good workout for the core: Pure Barre: Pershing Square 1

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