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by Nicky McGinty
New Shoot Pictures, 2015
Review by Beth Cholette, Ph.D. on Mar 8th 2016
British native Nicky McGinty had a background as a dancer and choreographer before she trained in India to become a certified yoga instructor. She has studied in various styles of yoga, includin Kundalini, Ashtanga, Jivamukti, and Vinyasa Flow. In this box set, McGinty offers three previously released DVDs which blend her teachings of dance and yoga. Each DVD provides multiple routine options, all of which I have described in greater detail below.
This DVD features McGinty teaching alone in a large indoor studio. The Main Menu offers options for Play All (78 mins.) -- Workout One (26 mins.) -- Workout Two (29 mins.) -- Workout Three (20 Mins.) -- Bonus Feature -- Chair (7 mins.) -- Cool Down (6 mins.) -- Options [music & instruction or music only]. The first workout is a slow flow (26:08) in which McGlinty moves through a variation of sun salutations, adding warrior 2, triangle pose, and side angle. Additional moves include pliés, a standing thigh stretch, pyramid pose, and dancer's pose. This section ends with tree pose. The second routine (24:18) starts seated with breathwork and then moves into seated flexion/extension, arm waves, and wrist stretches. McGlinty then proceeds to reclined core work (butterfly crunches, twists, roll ups). This is followed by all fours work: spinal rolls, down dog, and plank; she finishes with sun salutations. For the final workout (19:55), McGlinty begins with what she calls "lunar" salutations, although these were basically the same salutations she did in the first workout, adding pulses. She then performs moves on all fours, working the hips and buttocks. Following this, McGlinty proceeds to a Pilates-like segment of kneeling side kicks, mermaid, and lying side kicks. She finishes with a round of lunge salutations. The chair segment consisted of some VERY slow ballet moves such as pliés, relevés, and back leg lifts. Finally, the last segment begins standing but then moves to the floor for cat/cow, bound angle, wide angle with a side bend, pigeon pose, full seated forward bend, reclined leg stretch, and a shavasana that lasts mere seconds. I found it disappointing that you need to select this last chapter separately.
These routines are taught by McGlinty in the same large indoor studio, again via voiceover. Although the DVD case says that there are six 10-minute routines, the lengths of the practices actually vary more significantly as noted on the Main Menu: Play All (60 mins.) -- Swan Lake: Arms (10 mins.) -- Firebird: Core, Belly and Back (10 mins.) -- The Nutcracker: Hips, Butt and Inner Thighs (15 mins.) -- Coppelia: Legs, Ankles and Feet (16 mins.) -- Cinderella/Dance Expression (7 mins.) -- Sleeping Beauty: Stretch and Relax (6 mins.) By the title, I expected the first section to be an arms workout; instead it is more of a gentle warm-up, with some arms moves (arm circles, floor dips, and "press ups" aka push-ups) thrown in for approximately the final three minutes. The core segment includes pelvic tilts, bicycles, scissors, seated dips, full situps, side twists, more push-ups (plank) with knee dips, locust/swimming, and cat/cow. For the Nutcracker, McGlinty begins working on all-fours for a series of hydrant-style leg lifts. She also performs a side-lying series for the inner thighs, including lifts and bicycles. The next section is standing and uses a chair for work from a ballet first position as well as balance work. For the Cinderella routine, many of the moves are similar, but they are more free-flowing and performed without use of the chair. There are also additional exercises such as arabesque, attitude, pliés, relevés, slow knees, and sways. For the final stretch, McGlinty starts standing in a crouch and then moves into cat/cow stretches. She finishes with lying hamstring work and a brief final stretch.
I was particularly interested in this DVD, as I have recently become a registered yoga teacher myself, and I am currently instructing beginner's yoga classes. Unfortunately, when I heard McGinty's introduction, I thought that there must be an error, as she states "Welcome to Vinyasa Yoga!" She says NOTHING about beginners in any of the three routines offered and shows no modifications whatsoever. Given this, keep in mind that the practices on this DVD are general vinyasa flow targeted to all levels, but I would NOT recommend them for beginners. The Main Menu of the DVD offers Play All (71 mins.) -- Introduction -- Workout One—Solar (22 mins.) -- Workout Two—Lunar (21 mins.) -- Workout Three—Detox (24 mins.) -- Shavasana (4 mins.) -- Options [music & instruction or music only]. McGinty begins the Solar workout (which is outdoors) seated for neck stretches and cat/cow. She moves into a version of sun salutation A, adding warrior 1, warrior 2, triangle, side angle, and a twist. She then moves through sun salutation B with warrior 3, half-moon, and pyramid pose. For the Lunar sequence, McGinty begins with a standing side stretch and tree pose. Next is lunge salutations and then a balance series which includes warrior 3, half-moon, and dancer's pose. McGlinty finishes with several rounds of lunge salutations, oddly noting that she is slowing the heart rate down. The final rounds include a low lunge with hamstring stretch and runner's lunge (half split). The detox flow series is slower, with McGlinty moving more methodically from warrior 1 to warrior 2 to reverse warrior. She also adds a seated pose series that includes pigeon, head-to-knee pose, cow face pose, Sage 3 pose (with bind), and reverse table. This is followed by more intense core work with bridge, crunches, and boat pose. Final moves include bound angle, seal, swimming, leg lifts, locust, bow, child's pose, and another bridge. The Shavasana is separately chaptered on this DVD; otherwise, none of the routines is a complete yoga practice.
As someone practices different types of yoga regularly and also enjoys barre and ballet workouts, I had difficulties clicking with McGlinty's style on these DVDs. Sometimes I felt she moved slower than what I was used to, such as with the ballet moves, and at other times, she seemed to simply misrepresent what she was offering (e.g., the "Beginner's" Yoga). These are definitely well-produced DVDs, and McGlinty has a nice instruction style, but I'm not sure that the set as a whole is likely to appeal to any one single user; rather, consumers may have better luck purchasing these DVDs individually.
© 2016 Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students.