Yoga Week 4: a Balancing Act

Holy burning hamstrings, Batman!

And quads. And glutes. And need I say more?!

My second Yoga With Adriene session targeted the lower body through a 30-minute series of standing postures, designed to specifically sculpt the legs and butt. This yoga flow solidly delivered on its claim of strengthening lean muscle tone, and I found it effective for improving physical balance and mental concentration, as well.

Although the overall pace of this workout was slow, methodical and relaxed, there was no mistaking the acute demands placed on my body. It was deceptively challenging. The poses themselves were straightforward and simple enough to execute, but holding those poses for an extended period of time or pulsing through several repetitions, took commitment.

While actively engaged in this flow, I didn’t feel overtaxed because each fluid movement lulled me into a sense of ease and wellbeing. However, when the session ended, my entire bottom half was sufficiently achy. Turns out my body was exerting more effort than I thought! BAM.

So…wanna experience invigorating calm and focus, combined with those telltale “hurts so good” muscle tremors?

Great. Click to access Adriene’s Yoga for Your Butt and Thighs video, or watch it directly via YouTube below:

And – as per usual – here are some of my favorite highlights from the session:

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*Disclaimer: I DO NOT own the rights to these images or video*


Yoga Week 3: a “Mindful Core”

…As described by Adriene Mishler of Yoga With Adriene, a YouTube channel I recently discovered while combing through “yoga workout video” Google results.

I was initially looking for Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown Level 2 since I’d completed Level 1 last week, but my search hit a snag – Level 2 is nowhere to be found on the world wide (waste of a) web. It’s available for purchase on Amazon, but – being the cheapo that I am – paying for the second installment when the first installment was free…yeah, not gonna happen!

So, that’s when I stumbled upon “Yoga With Adriene.” I tried her 40 Minute Fat Burn for starters, and – with over 90 other videos on this channel – I’ll be in for the long-haul.

Although this particular yoga session was more calming and free-flowing than the high-intensity workout you can expect from Jillian, my core “hurt so good” by the end of those 40 minutes.  Every posture was designed to subtly engage the abdominals in such a way that, at first, I didn’t even realize how much emphasis was being placed on those muscle groups.

Between the warm-up, actual flow and final cool-down, my body felt invigoratingly loose and my abs powerfully tight. It was a delicious combination! I wouldn’t call these poses difficult by any means (even for a beginner), but they put an unmistakable fire in my belly.

And in my book, that’s mission accomplished.

Below is a link to the video and – as with Yoga Meltdown – some screenshots for your perusal:

(I’d also highly recommend subscribing to Yoga With Adriene. I did!)

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*Disclaimer: I DO NOT own the rights to these images or video*


Yoga Week 2: an Out-of-Breathalyzer

Yesterday, wanting to try a more individualized at-home practice, I powered through Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown Level 1 video. 35 minutes later, I was one panting Downward Doggie!

However, I thoroughly enjoyed the workout and would highly recommend it to any beginner yogi, looking for a solid foundation in proper pose technique while still working up a serious sweat.

You can access the video here via YouTube:

Jillian combined sun salutation sequences (i.e. Mountain, Plank, Chaturanga, Upward-Facing Dog, and Downward-Facing Dog), low- to mid-impact balancing postures, and aerobic repetitions based on higher-impact variations of those postures. The result was an intense yet energizing yoga flow – ideal for improving flexibility, strengthening both upper and lower muscle groups, and sneaking in your daily dose of cardio, to boot!

Some of the poses covered during this practice were basics that I remembered from my previous (more committed) yoga days, – such as Warriors 1, 2, and 3 – but some were brand new to me – such as Camel, Locust, and Dolphin. Despite the subsequent soreness (a sure sign you’re doing something right!), my body loved discovering these movements and finding its rhythm within the flow.

I screen-shot some image stills from the video to give my fellow “yogi noobs” a visual idea of how each posture should be executed, as well as what you can generally expect from this workout:

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camel pose

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aerobic variation of camel

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plank pose

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aerobic variation of plank

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warrior II pose

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aerobic variation of warrior II

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locust pose

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dolphin pose

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chaturanga pose

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upward-facing dog pose 

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downward-facing dog pose 

And, in case you need any more incentive to give Jillian’s out-of-breathalyzing yoga practice a try, just look at THAT face

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Personally, I can’t wait dive in deeper. Stay tuned for my review of Level 2 next week!

*Disclaimer: I DO NOT own the rights to these images or video*