Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hemalayaa Beautiful Belly

THE WORKOUT: Hemalayaa Beautiful Belly ($10.99 at Amazon)


WHO CAN DO THIS: Anyone should be able to keep up, but beginners should take a moment to review good form for squats and learn about down and up dog, plank, boat pose and cobra, since they are referenced here without explanation. The Yoga Journal site is a good place to learn some basics.

Hardbodies won't be challenged by this program but might enjoy it nonetheless.

THE BREAKDOWN: Three 12-minute belly-dance inspired workouts are good for the core and the heart. Most of the movement is in the hips and abs, with a wiggle-wiggle here and a wiggle-wiggle there, though arms move, too. Choreography is simple but you’ll enjoy trying to put the elegance into the moves that Hemalayaa (is that her real name?) does. Some jumping is involved but those moves are easily adaptable to low-impact.

Each circuit moves from standing to floor and back again. Floor work includes some challenging leg lifts and crunches, boat postures (I couldn’t manage more than a couple of seconds in the spread-legged boat posture), and planks. For one, you hold a plank on your elbows, then alternate touching knees to the floor. Nice.

The squirmy blondes of the Crunch Bikini Body Workout have nothing on the sex appeal of long-legged Hemalayaa and her mane of dancing hair. Her belly isn’t a six-pack—it’s more soft and feminine and perhaps something to which we may all aspire. The workout studio is a den of dark red and Persian carpets, the music is Indian-esque and Bollywoodish.

Cuing was added as a soundtrack over the video and it’s a little off, but not troubling.

THE SWEAT FACTOR: You’ll work up a good sweat if you try, especially if you do all three segments.

BUT IS IT FUN? Much. No matter what my original intent, I always end up doing all three segments.

WHEN IT'S OVER: If you’re fit, you’ll definitely have energy enough to do more. If you’re a rank beginner, you might call it a day. Or not.

GEAR AND APPAREL: Hemalayaa does the workout barefoot but I’m more comfortable in jazz shoes. You’ll need some space and a carpeted floor; a mat is hard to coordinate into the choreography. She also uses a cushion in one segment.

FINAL WORD: A definite keeper and doer.

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