Tag Archives: yoga

On Fire – Review of Les Mills Body Balance release 74

This workout is “On Fire”.

Intense enough so you can feel the stretches and the strengthening of your muscles to come away feeling you’ve worked hard. But not pushing into silly moves territory.

Readers of my recent Body Combat reviews will know I’ve not been keen on the past few releases. It seems the program directors have sucked out the fun and variety that makes Combat unique in the name of keeping up with fitness trends. Fortunately, the Balance choreographers haven’t felt the need to mercilessly tamper with a proven format.

And yet Body Balance release 74 still feels fresh, challenging, and according to the feedback from my participants, popular with people of all ages.

Let’s have a look at the tracks.

On Fire - Review of Les Mills Body Balance release 74

Tai Chi Warm Up – On Fire – Raleigh Ritchie

Much slower than tai chi warm ups of the past, this track benefits from the reduced tempo and lets you feel the moves deep in your muscles.

I’ve always been a fan of the arm circle move, and the bird’s tail inner thigh stretch, and it took a few tries to nail the slow pace. Sounds a bit daft to say a move is easy to do when it’s faster, but that’s the experience here. Never before have I felt such a deep connection to the exercises in a tai chi warm up.

The music is a little weird with some strange sucking popping noises that some people decided sounded like bodily functions. Once you get past that, the music fits the moves perfectly.

Sun Salutations – Stay – Kygo feat. Maty Noyes  

A powerful sun salutation routine with the added challenge of two sets of striking cobras during each sequence. A few weeks passed by before everyone could manage these without dropping to their knees. A great example of how people with different abilities can feel included and progress at their own pace.

Great music with an interesting synth melody, but for me it was the occasional drum role that powered the sequence along.

Standing Strength – Never Be Like You – Flume feat. Kai  

A long-standing strength track and perhaps the most switching between poses I’ve ever experienced in Body Balance. In just under 8 minutes we seldom hold any pose for more than 16 counts. It feels vibrant and fluid. Constant change. Constant movement.

By the time we reach the middle 8 in the music our quad muscles are screaming out for a break. We transition into the triangle and the strength focus turns to a stretch focus and we feel exquisite relief for a few seconds before the strength work starts again.

The last moments alternating between sun warrior pose and extended warrior showcase Body Balance at its most powerful.

Balance – 7 Years – Lukas Graham

A gorgeous 4 minutes of balancing with a perfect progression of poses. People find the track challenging despite its brevity. The wobbles set in and I catch people smiling as they try to avoid having to drop their foot to the floor.

And a gorgeous song. See how the lyrics “Once I was 7 years old…soon I’ll be 11 years old” progress with the poses. As the person in the song gets older we move through the balances.

Hip Openers – It’s Strange – Louis The Child feat K. Flay

A simple seated sequence of modified half lotuses and another synth oriented song. Feels good to be on the floor after the last three tracks and these stretches work.

Hip Openers – Bad Blood – NAO

A second hips track and we move into a kneeling quad stretch. This is too tough for many people even if they double up their mats so we modified this one to swan pose for those wanting an alternative.

An interesting burst of movement at the end as we lift up into downward dogs and lunges.

Core abs – Fast Car – Jonas Blue feat. Dakota

A familiar song starting with some deceptive abdominal exercises on our knees before the killer moves hit us in the chorus. We only perform 6 reps of the plank, knee elbow, 3 legged dog, knee elbow, plank sequence but your heart rate rockets and the sweat starts to drip.

The second half of the song is effectively simple bicycle crunches, but add those little double crunches in on the beat and your abs will quiver.

Short, sharp, hard and a hummable song.

Core Back – Lush Life – Zara Larsson

Have we ever seen so many bridge poses and variations in Body Balance before?Never.

Tough, challenging, your core is going to rebel by the end of this sequence. The 16 reps of the pulsing one-legged bridge is a game changer. They designed the full back bend in the middle to offer us a rest from the hard work but most people can’t do it and simply crumple back to the floor.

Great catchy Zara Larsson song too.

Core Back –  Lay It All On Me  – Rudimental feat. Ed Sheeran

” If you’re hurting. If you’re hurting,” goes the tune. You will be if you do these pointers and press ups you’re going to be sweating like a tap.

By the end of this track we’ve worked our core for just short of 13 minutes. A real core conditioning focus and one many people have noticed in the results they achieved.

Twists – Scars – James Bay

We need the gentle twists in the first half of this catchy song. Lying supine we regain our breath, stretch and allow the heart rate to return to resting beat.

For the second half, as the music beat gets louder, we move into the more challenging lunge twists. A traditional Body Balance twist track but carried by an awesome song.

Forward Bends and Hamstrings – Monday – Matt Corby

Some intense hamstring stretches to finish the workout. Pyramid pose it hard enough. Most people have to bend their knees a little.

But revolved triangle is a belting pose. One that allows us to flirt with the boundary between pleasure and pain. Always one of the most intense standing stretch poses, it’s good to see this back in Body Balance after a long break.

Relaxation/Meditation – Schein Und Widerschein – Deuter 

And a beautiful relaxation track featuring the sounds of nature before the music builds and wakes us up for the rest of the days ahead.

One of the places I teach at recently built a new studio with mood lighting. Put on the green tone and the sounds of nature in this music let you imagine you’re lying on a warm sunny hillside.

A perfect end to a solid, challenging, uplifting and all round satisfying Body Balance release.

Your turn:

What do you think of my review of Les Mills Body Balance release 74? Why not leave a comment below or share it on social media.

Show me Love – Tracklist for Les Mills Body Balance release 75

Here’s the track list for Les Mills Body Balance release 75.

We’re all well into immersing ourselves in release 74 at the moment but here is what you can expect from January 2017.

If you don’t want spoilers DON’T READ any further. Otherwise, have a look.

Tracklist for Les Mills Body Balance release 75

Here’s what Les Mills have to say about release 75.

“We have been getting a lot of positive feedback about the music in the last few releases, slower and softer but still driving. This release is more of the same!

The Tai Chi track has one of the loveliest modern sounds we’ve had so far in this position, and it just gets better from there.”

Now it’s your turn:

What do you think of the Les Mills Body Balance release 75 track list? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Listen on Amazon:

If you want more spoilers you can click on the links above to see the music on Amazon. They won’t be exactly the same mixes because Les Mills often edit the tracks, and some are Les Mills cover versions and not available commercially. But it will give you a good feel for what’s on its way.

Here For You – Track list for Les Mills Body Balance release 73

It’s here.

Before you’ve even got used to release 72, here’s the track list for Les Mills Body Balance release 73. We’ll get to see this in June 2016.

If you don’t want spoiling DON’T READ any further. Otherwise have a look.

Track list for Les Mills Body Balance release 73

Now it’s your turn:

What do you think of the Les Mills Body Balance release 73 track list? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Listen on Amazon:

If you want more spoilers you can click on the links above to see the music on Amazon. They won’t be exactly the same mixes because Les Mills often edit the tracks, and some are Les Mills cover versions and not available commercially. But it will give you a good feel for what’s on its way.

Fight For You – Review of Les Mills Body Balance release 70

Tough on the legs and front-end loaded.

What I mean by front-end loaded is that the Standing Strength, Balance and Hip Openers are all long tracks taking up almost half the class with their intense strength and stretch work.

By contrast the last 4 tracks fly by in just 15 minutes.

Great feedback from participants about this class. People say it flows perfectly from one sequence to the other. Others give the long tracks a big thumbs up and enjoy the challenge.

Let’s have a look at the tracks (You can click on the links to listen to the tracks on Amazon).

Review of Les Mills Body Balance release 70

Tai Chi Warm Up – You & Me (Flume Remix) Disclosure (feat. Eliza Doolittle)

A Tai Chi track of many contrasts. Slow, aweeping arm circles and soft synth music bookend more energetic move when the drums kick in. Surprisingly tough on the legs we keep low in the knees.

The so called “Wide Wu Chi Energy Ball Release” reminds me of playing volleyball on a sunny beach jumping into the air to hit the ball. I challenge anyone not to allow a huge beaming smile to spread across their face during this sequence.

Sun Salutations – Follow The Sun – Cool Lads

Gentle acoustic guitar and soft harmonica disguise the fact this Sun Salutations has a fast beat. Each 8 counts shoot by and you can struggle to keep up with the moves. It creates a strange sensation. Music calms you but the beat propels you. Appearing to speed up even more in the fourth round I think this is an illusion created by the vocalist singing more words. We add a lunge twist into the sequence but otherwise it’s a typical routine.

Standing Strength – Hold Back The River James Bay

After a few 3 legged-dog knee to nose poses we move into extended warrior and stay for a longtime. Simple arm movements create almost an illusion of movement but our legs stay grounded all the time becoming fatigued as hold the pose. Only a brief shift into sun warrior breaks the flow but were still challenging our legs even then.

Standing Strength – Fight For YouJason Derulo

A great pop track sampling some synth and lyrics from Toto’s 1980s hit “Africa”. Starting with a repeat of the 3 legged-dog knee to nose poses we move next into standing lunges and finally warrior one. The final squat comes when our legs are burning and screaming for a rest.

Balance – Nothing’s Forever Paces feat. Kucka

The longest ever Balance track tires out our already fatigued legs. Plenty of time to set up, modify and perfect each pose. Flower pose, right angle pose and tree pose all held for many moments.

A challenging sequence but perhaps just a little two long for a Balance track. It’s the only one from this release so far that people have asked me to consider mixing out.

Hips – Do You Remember  – Jarryd James

Another long track and another sequence of slow poses with time to savour the deep stretches. Swan pose always takes people to the edge between pleasure and pain. Here we have a an optional splits pose as an extension from the kneeling lunge. Only a couple of people in each class can do this but everyone has increased their range as the weeks pass.

A great piece of music and a great set of moves. The best hips track for a long while.

Core Abs – Always Like ThisBombay Bicycle Club

If your class starts on the hour have a sneak peek at the clock as the Core Abs starts. Is it about twenty to the next hour? That’s how long the first five tracks are. From now on we motor through 4 shorter sequences but the intensity doesn’t let up.

Always Like This makes me smile. A stand out Core Abs track with a punishing set of crunches, cycles and leg extensions. Only 4 minutes long but listen to the sounds of groaning from the people with burning abdominals.

Core Back – Brother  – Need To Breathe

A clam start with a baby cobra (or up dog) gives way to a tough side plank and then the intense wild thing pose. Precise cueing required to get people into the correct position. Bridge pose gives us a rest in the middle unless you want to find the full back bend in which casethe pace never lets up.

Twists – Aerial Love  – Daniel Johns

Finally we start to chill out. Child’s pose thread needle twist. Standing to diver’s pose and forward fold twists then back to the floor. The end is in sight.

Hamstring Stretches – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – Hummingbird

A mellow, chilled out version of a Scottish classic pop song, it still took me a while on first listen to work out what it was. So slow compared to the Proclaimer’s original. Slow and delicious forward bends and hamstring stretches and we finish up in happy baby pose. Relaxing and calming after all the hard work.

I’m still tempted to replace this with the up tempo Proclaimer’s version one day to surprise my class. But I think it would ruin the calmness.

Relaxation and Meditation – Sileo Rhian Sheehan

A lovely piece of music but short as we have little time left. Could have done with a longer relaxation given the intensity of the first half of the class but these 5 minutes certainly feel deserved.

Overall another solid and challenging release. I’d like to see a return of the more flowing Tai Chi Warm Ups but apart from that a great big thumbs up from me again.

Now it’s your turn:

Do you agree with my review of Les Mills Body Balance release 70? Why not comment below. And do please share using the social media buttons.