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First Impressions of Les Mills Body Balance release 69 after Edinburgh Quarterly Workshop

What do you think of the new release of Les Mills Body Balance?

Les Mills Body Balance release 69

If you’re an instructor you’re probably already teaching it. If you are a participant you’ve probably already done it.

Which means I’m late with my first impressions post. Although my full review will follow shortly, here for completeness were my impressions of the new class I experienced at the Quarterly Workshop.

  • An energetic Tai Chi set to Fat Boy Slim’s Praise You feels like a full aerobic workout. A shock to the system. Only settling into a true Tai Chi flow in the last section the track is a tough one.
  • By contrast the Sun Salutations is mellow to the point of slumber. Were the first two tracks meant to be such polar opposites?
  • Standing Strength presents two warrior pose sequences bookended by three-legged dogs set to a piece of music repeated twice.
  • Balances are tough. Moving from half-moon pose to aeroplane to twisted half-moon pose brings on serious wobbles. A short but interesting sequence.
  • After some tough Core Abs tracks in recent releases, at the Quarterly Workshop I felt this was an easier set of exercises. Having since practiced and then taught the sequence it’s deceptive. Short and tough. Without proper form though participants might feel this one in their legs. We need to focus coaching on the lower back and core.
  • A double Twist Track with revolved triangle pose which is always a challenge.
  • Forward Bends is a long mellow track with plenty of time to explore deep stretches.
  • Good to hear Stanton Lanier back in the relaxation. Though the “plink plink” of his piano is perhaps to similar to the forward bends music and doesn’t offer enough of a contrast.

Les Mills gave us a bonus Balance track this time around with the infamous bird in a basket pose. It’s optional. Those instructors teaching less advanced participants may never even use the bonus track. It’s a good idea to keep it separate in my opinion.

But in a release I would describe as plain and unremarkable it’s ironic that the attention grabbing track is the one that most people won’t see.

Now it’s your turn:

What do you think of Les Mills Body Balance release 69? Please share your thoughts. Why not click one of the social media share buttons below?

First impressions of Les Mills Body Balance release 63 after Dunfermline Quarterly Workshop.

Have you ever heard anyone say Body Balance is easy. I have. Quite a few Clubs position it to members calling it “the easy class”.

If you’re a Body Balance instructor, if you’re a participant in Body Balance class you’ll know that this is nonsense. Body Balance delivers a tough workout. Although not aerobically challenging, from a strength and flexibility point of view you feel the intensity.

But even I wasn’t ready for how tough Body Balance release 63 is.

Les Mills Body Balance release 63
Body Balance Release 63 Poster

They held the Quarterly Workshop at Club 64 in Dunfermline. The first thing I noticed was how hot the room felt. In fact it seemed hotter than a Bikram yoga studio. I had to place my yoga towel on my mat to stop myself from sliding off. The wooden floor became a sweaty sea slippery moisture.

However our master trainer was Ann-See Yeoh who delivered, as always, a fabulous experience both during the educational and taking us through the new tracks.

None of the poses appeared impossible to do for any of our participants. It’s just the combined intensity of everything together really took me by surprise. That combined with the hot room made it a very intense experience.

Here are a few things that I remember about the class.

  • The Thai Chi warmup flowed beautifully with figure eight arms sweeps, arm circles and birds tails.
  • Sun salutations challenges your arms and shoulders because on each round we go from downward facing dog, to plank, to crocodile, to upward facing dog and back to down facing dog twice in each salutation.
  • Standing strength set to “Only You” a song by Ellie Goulding lasts for 8 minutes and shatters your legs. In fact I was shaking by the end of those eight minutes.
  • In the abs track we see the return of “Pilates hundreds” and all sorts of combinations of crunches and hovers.
  • For forward bends and hamstring stretches we have an interesting new concept called the “downward facing dog flip”. I’m not going to say anything more about that. You’ll just have to wait until the new releases come out to see what that is.

This will be a very challenging but very exciting release and I can’t wait for my music and DVD to arrive so that I can start learning it and deliver it to my members in the New Year.

Now it’s your turn: Have you been to your Quarterly Workshop? What were your first thoughts about Les Mills Body Balance release 63? Please leave a comment or post a link to your own review.

Summer time Sadness – Review of Body Balance release 61

It’s time for the summer class releases from Les Mills – including the stunning Body Balance release 61.

If you live in Scotland you will know the joke that “summer is the best day of the year.” Well this year we have had a glorious summer with clear blue skies and hot sun. I find great weather combined with the usual holiday season reduces class numbers considerably.

Review of Body Balance release 61
Body Balance 61 Cover

But not in Body Balance. Not this year. Classes remain packed. This is a testament to the continued excellent quality of the releases.

And Body Balance release 61 is yet another excellent class. It’s challenging, flows beautifully and once again has a great soundtrack.

So let’s have a look at the tracks.

review of body balance release 61
Tai Chi Warm Up

Tai Chi Warm Up (Paris): This is a lovely opener. Delerium’s music suits Body Balance so well and this track is angelic and heavenly. I like the way that we build up the Tai Chi moves layering more flowing arms lines and finishing with the archer and circling of the arms. Even though the words are in French I find that I want to sing along.

Sun Salutations (Where Have You Been):They’ve added Sun Warrior pose into the sun salutation this time and it’s an obvious fit. Whilst I like the music when I listen to it on its own I am not sure it works for sun salutations. It doesn’t work for me for some reason.

Review of Body Balance release 61
Extended Warrior Pose

Standing Strength (Try): I’ve always thought that “rockier” tracks suit the standing strength tracks and Pink’s Try works well here. Nice to see triangle pose back again and I like the transition straight to extended warrior. I would have preferred to stay in the poses for longer but the music requires quick changes. Some participants have found twisted warrior one pose quite hard.

Towards the end there is a simply dreadful musical edit with silence for a moment which causes people to stop and look around confused. I know there are often issues with editing original artists music but that is a real hack.

Balance (Forever): I love the flow and the grace in this balance track. Dove wing hands, lovers hands, switching from eagle, to tree, to star and finally to warrior three is beautiful and surprisingly challenging. I’ve seen many wobbles from people during this sequence. And it’s always good to see dancer’s pose appear in the class.

This music was the cool down in the last Body Pump release and I have listened to it for the last 3 months waiting outside for my Body Combat class. It feels as if I’ve done this one for longer than I have.

Hip openers (Diamonds): For a man, cow face pose is not the easiest yoga position to get into. You only need to listen to Doctor Dave going on about the need to “re-arrange yourself” or “make adjustments” to understand why. On the DVD for Body Balance release 61 they teach us a new way of getting into cow face pose. For the first time in nearly ten years of doing Body Balance I can do it perfectly. And without hurting my bits either!

Review of Body Balance release 61
Working those core muscles hard

Core abs (Can’t hold us): Is this the hardest abs track ever? I’m sure I’ve said that before but this one hurts. Don’t those hovers with the knee drops look easy but then start to hurt after you’ve only done about four? On my launch weekend I taught this twice on a Saturday morning. When I went to teach it again the following day my abs were so sore I had to cheat. This is a track that gets results. Great music and savage exercises.

Core back (Lights): After the storm we have some calm. Cobras, upward facing dogs and some slow leg raises (which are deceptive and again created a real ache in the glutes for me the first few times I did this) and one of my favourites, bridge pose. I’m glad on this occasion that they decided not to take bridge higher to a full back bend. This was challenging enough after that core abs track.

Twists (Clouds): Short and sweet I like the twisted downward facing dogs. People have such a pained look on their faces in this pose.

Review of Body Balance release 61
Twisted Wide Legged Forward Bend

Forward bends/hamstrings 1 (Summertime Sadness): What a great piece of music. And we spend a very long time in various versions of a wide legged forward bend with an added twist. What a great long stretch we get from these poses. Great to sing along to despite being upside down.

Forward bends/hamstrings 2 (Lost): A slower tempo and quiet contemplative music allows us to sit on the floor and take ourselves slowly through a gentle, last, sequence of forward bends. After this we are certainly ready for some relaxation.

Relaxation/Meditation (This is Our Tale): We finish with a lovely calming piece of music which sounds to me live waves lapping up on the shore.

Jackie and Diana Mills have given us another stunning Body Balance class. I am enjoying teaching this and the feedback from my participants has been a great big thumbs up.

Your turn: Do you agree with my review of Body Balance release 61? Do you think it is challenging enough. What are your views on the core abs track? Is it the hardest ever? Please leave a comment or post a link to your own reviews.