Another Body Balance release and soon I’ll have been teaching this programme for 10 years.
I’ve experienced some exceptional releases. Some average and the occasional clunker.
Release 69 isn’t exceptional nor is it a clunker. It bursts in on us with a Tai Chi warm up trying to be a full on work out. After, it settles into a mellow pace with decent challenges before drifting off and leaving us to chill to the ever popular piano notes of Stanton Lanier.
I’m enjoying teaching number 69 and people like the music and the moves. It’s a safe release. Pleasant but average. Mildly quirky but underwhelming.
Tai Chi Warm Up – Praise You – Fatboy Slim
Les Mills used this song as a back track (I think) back in the 30s or 40s. Uptempo. Catchy with a solid beat. Doesn’t feel like Tai Chi at all until we slow down into arm circles near the end. Almost an aerobics warm up it grabs you by the shoulders, shakes and pushes you.
Praise you gets my vote for the most energetic Tai Chi warm up ever. Full on and in your face. A great start.
Sun Salutations – Warm Water – Banks
In contrast Warm Water is mellow, slow and flows. Acknowledging we might be sweating and breathless from the surprise warm up, the Sun Salutation sequence is basic and slow. A chance to regain control of our breath.
Standing Strength – In Colour – Shapeshifter
I like the way the Warrior poses in this track build from the ground up. Particularly when we start in Extended Warrior and rise to Warrior 2. A good change from the usual progression from Warrior 2 down to Extended Warrior. We hear the music twice and do a slightly different sequence each time culminating with a round of challenging three-legged Downward Facing Dogs at the end of each set.
Balance – Only Love Can Hurt Like This – Paloma Faith
A quirky piece of music and a deceptively difficult balancing sequence. I like the flow from Half Moon Pose to Aeroplane finishing in a wobbly Reverse Half Moon Pose. Only taking seconds to do it feels longer as our supporting legs and ankles burn. Good to see Dancers Pose returning the outro section.
Hip Openers – Gust Of Wind – Pharrell Williams
More quirky funky music (inspiring much finger clicking) and an extended stay in modified half lotus. It’s fun and doesn’t feel that challenging but you can sink deep into the stretches. And they feel exquisite. Adding a twist to the Swan Pose by threading our arm though to the lead knee takes the hip stretch to the brink between pleasure and pain.
Core Abs – Blame It On Me – George Ezra
Deceptive. Watch the masterclass video and you might end this short Core Abs track is easy. Far from it is the reality. Creating a fire in the abdominal a this Pilates workout gets results. Yes it’s short. But the moans of gain pain more than show its true nature.
Core Back – In Your Arms – Nico & Vinz
Dolphin Pose makes a welcome return to Body Balance. The last appearance I remember happened way back in release 34. I’m sure it’s been back since but I can’t recall when. A good challenge remember to bring your feet slightly further in otherwise it’s just a Down Dog on your elbows.
I like the twisting pointer moves but feel the end section where we lie down and raise our legs is too short. A shame the music couldn’t have carried on for another 39 seconds.
Twists 1 – Stand By You – Marlisa
Gentle seated twists, including both an open and closed twist, before we rise to our feet. Feels quite gentle but embrace the last challenge of the standing twist with leg extension.
Twists 2 – Let Your Hair Down – MAGIC!
I feel I’m in the Caribbean when I hear this music. An awesome contrast between normal Triangle Pose and Revolved Triangle which is such an intense stretch. The pace lowers as we return to the floor for some almost relaxing supine twists.
A mellow and lengthy hamstrings tracks gives us time to deeply explore forward bends and table top counter poses.
For some reason this music seems louder than the surrounding tracks. I have to get up and turn it down a little. I feel this track needs to be quiet to allow people to let go into the stretches.
Relaxation/Meditation – Quiet Place – Stanton Lanier
This artist epitomises the Body Balance relaxation and meditation feel. A lovely end to the class.
Bonus Balance – Dangerous – David Guetta feat. Sam Martin
Bird Pose and Bird in a Basket are challenging balance poses that can elude even the most flexible and accomplished yoga practitioners. I can do the former but not the latter.
Having them as part of an optional track was good thinking by Jackie and Diana. We can include it or not depending upon the ability of the class.
Good to see the track appear in the masterclass video. Previously bonus tracks were represented by notes only.
I said earlier that this release was safe and unremarkable. Having written about each track I feel a little guilty for labelling it as such.
Body Balance 69 is a good workout. But in a consistently excellent programme with many standout releases there are bound to be some that feel a little more routine. I’m still enjoying teaching it though.
One last thought. The last few releases contain many recent pop hits. No problem with that. But Body Balance used to showcase more experimental chill out music from breakthrough artists like Conjure One, Sleepthief and Delerium. I’d like to see more of that genre of music back in Body Balance.
Now it’s your turn:
Do you agree with my review of Les Mills Body Balance release 69? Please leave a comment or a link to your own review. Do please share with your friends using the social media buttons.