email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
10 Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training12 and Holding3-In-1 Total Body Fitness with Desi Bartlett30 Minute Ab & Butt Blaster4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days49 Up5 Day Fit Yoga5 Mega Miles with Toning Band56 UpA Beautiful MindA Dangerous MethodA Mother's Courage: Talking Back to AutismA Short Stay in SwitzerlandA.M. EnergyAbout SchmidtAccessible Yoga for Every Body DVDAddictionAdvanced Sexual TechniquesAgeless Mobility: Pain-Free Wellness For LongevityAileen - Life and Death of a Serial KillerAlexander the LastAM/PM YogaAmerican TeacherAthlete's Guide to YogaAutism and MeBack in Action: Yoga for a Healthy BackBalanced AssetsBeautiful DreamersBecoming OrgasmicBedroom Body: Booty Burner, Core & Pelvic Floor WorkoutBeginners Meditation & Mindful StretchingBeginners Yoga DVDBeginning YogaBellyFit ElementsBethenny's Skinnygirl WorkoutBetter Sex Through YogaBeyond HatredBilly the KidBlue Is the Warmest ColorBody By BethennyBorn to Balance - Balance BasicsBoy InterruptedBoys Don't CryBreasts - A DocumentaryBreath-Centered YogaBuying SexCalm Body Clear MindCardio for Beginners with Petra KolberCinema's Sinister PsychiatristsCinema, Philosophy, BergmanCinematic MythmakingClassical Pilates Technique DVDClimatesCoastCollege Inc.Comedy IncarnateCommuneCompulsionControlCore Fusion - Pilates PlusCore Fusion - Pure Abs & ArmsCore Fusion - Thighs & GlutesCore Fusion Body SculptCore Fusion Lean & TonedCore Fusion Power SculptCore Strength PilatesCore Strength Vinyasa Yoga Power Hour with Sadie NardiniCore YogaCreative Core AbsCriminal JusticeCriminal Justice 2DahmerDance Off the Inches: Cardio Hip Hop PartyDance the Chakras Yoga WorkoutDark Beginnings of Sherlock HolmesDarwin's Brave New WorldDeep Stretch / Yin YogaDeleuze and the Concepts of CinemaDetox YogaDirty Filthy Love DVDDoc Martin Series 2Dr. Andrew Weil's Guide to Eating WellDr. Yoga House CallEl Doctor, Joy Street & AsparagusElement: Targeted Toning Pilates for BeginnersElement: Yoga for Stress Relief & FlexibilityElements of Yoga, Earth FoundationsElements of Yoga, Fire DynamicElements of Yoga: Air & WaterEnjoying Guilty PleasuresEternal Sunshine Of The Spotless MindEternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindEthics at the CinemaEvamarie Pilipuf's Yoga Express DVDEvery Day Yoga for Every Body DVDEveryday Workout for the Everyday WomanEveryday Yoga for Stress Release Examined LifeExhale Core Fusion 30 Day SculptExileExperimenterFacing Death: Elisabeth Kubler-RossFagbugFamily YogaFilm StudiesFire on the Mountain DVDFit Family Fun CircuitFit in 5 DVDFlat Abs PilatesFlow and YinFlow YogaFluid Power Vinyasa Flow YogaFragile DVDGabriel & MeGaiam Pilates Slide and Sculpt Kit with DVDGaiam Pilates Total Toning KitGaiam Yoga For Weight Loss KitGet Ripped & ChiseledGet RIPPED! 1000 #3Get RIPPED! and Jacked - The Boomer WorkoutGirl, InterruptedGirlhoodGoddess WorshipGood FortuneHalf Broken ThingsHappy Yoga DVDHard CandyHealing Through Movement: Pilates Head to ToeHealing VoicesHealthy Sexy Beautiful Kundalini YogaHeimaHelvetica: A documentary filmHemalayaa's Yoga for Young Bodies DVDHemalayaa: Bollywood BootyHer ThirdHigh HopesHit & MissHot Body Cool Mind - Level 1Hot Body Cool Mind: Waking Energy IdentityIn My SkinIn the FamilyIn the Land of the DeafIn the Realms of the UnrealIn Treatment: Season 1Ingmar Bergman, Cinematic PhilosopherInsight Yoga Earth: Balancing Yin EnergyInsight Yoga Heaven: Balancing YangInsight Yoga with Sarah PowersIntense Games DVDInto Great SilenceIntroduction to Ashtanga Yoga DVDIntroduction to Yoga DVDIt's Kind of a Funny StoryIt's Not Me, I Swear!Janis Saffell Beverly Hills YogaJellyfishJulien Donkey-BoyJunebugKama-Sutra--The Secrets to the Art of LoveKids Teach Yoga - Flying EagleKidYogi - Yoga for ChildrenKingdom Series 2Kingdom: Series ThreeKripalu Yoga Dynamic DVDKripalu Yoga Gentle DVDKundalini Yoga : DVDKundalini Yoga for Beginners & BeyondKUNDALINI YOGA for Your Week - MONDAYKUNDALINI YOGA for Your Week - TUESDAY - CoreKundalini Yoga Meditation for Beginners & BeyondKundalini Yoga on the BallKundalini Yoga Solar Power All-In-One WorkoutKundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress DVDKundalini Yoga Transformer All-In-One WorkoutKundalini Yoga: Green Energy of the HeartLa SierraLand GirlsLand Girls Series 2Lars and the Real GirlLast Train HomeLeaving Las VegasLetting Go!Lie to Me: Season OneLife On MarsLifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues--Level 1LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues: Level 2Listening to the WorldLiving Room Yoga DVDLiving Room Yoga: Twist and BendLouise BourgeoisLunacyLunar Flow YogaMad, Bad and Dangerous?MaidentripManicManufactured LandscapesMaui PilatesMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for Back PainMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for IBSMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for InsomniaMementoMethadoniaMindfulness for Urban Depression: Tools for Relief from Stressful City LivingMonsterMother and SonMovies and the Moral Adventure of LifeMurderballMurderlandMurphy's LawMurphy's Law Series 2My Flesh and BloodMy Sister's KeeperMysterious CreaturesNamaste Yoga: Season 3 Part 1New American TeenagersNew Look at ADHD: Inhibition, Time, and Self-ControlNew Sex Now DVDNew Takes in Film-PhilosophyNew York PilatesNext-Level PilatesNormalNotes on a ScandalNurembergOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's NestOrgasm Inc.Pain Free at WorkPeople Like OurselvesPeople Love PhotosPerfect in Ten AbsPerfect in Ten: PilatesPerfect in Ten: StretchPerfect in Ten: YogaPhantom Museums DVDPhilosophy and the Moving ImagePhrenologyPieces of AprilPilates for BeginnersPilates for MenPink Ribbons, Inc.PollockPop & MePornographyPornographyPower to the Peaceful YogaPower YogaPower Yoga for HappinessPower Yoga: Core PowerPower Yoga: Fat BurnerPower Yoga: Strength and FlexibilityPrenatal FlowPresence Through Movement: Yin YogaPrince of PrisonersPrivate Dicks - Men ExposedPrivate Practices DVDProofProzac NationPsycho ThrillersPublic EnemiesPure and Simple YogaPure SculptPure Yoga Pilates with Kerry BestwickQi Gong Fire & Water With Matthew CohenQi Gong Flow for BeginnersQi Gong for Low Back PainQi Gong for Upper Back and Neck PainQi Gong for Weight LossQi Workout AM/PMQiGong for Healthy Joints & BonesQuick Blast MethodRachel Getting MarriedRadiant Heart Yoga DVDRain ManRated X - A Journey Through PornReach - Upbeat Toning & Flexibility for a Dancer's BodyRed Lotus YogaRelative StrangersRelax Into Yoga for SeniorsRequiem for a Dream DVDResistance Stretching With Dara TorresRestorative Yoga PracticeRestorative Yoga PracticeSara Ivanhoe's Taste DVDScreening SexSeeing Fictions in FilmSeeing the LightSergeant Cribb - The Complete SeriesSeven Challenges To Change Your Life DVDShameShort Term 12SickoSmashedSolar Flow Yoga DVDSpeakSpecial TreatmentSpectacular NowStarting Out in the EveningStep By Step Strength TrainingStep by Step Tai ChiStephen Fry in AmericaStrandedStranger Than FictionStrength & SpiritStrength, Grace, HealingStrong & SculptedStrong Body, Ageless BodySun SalutationsSunset StorySuper Seniors: Box, Balance, & Lift Surf Yoga SoulSybel's Yoga For Sports & FitnessSybel's Yoga For Sports & Fitness Vol 2SylviaSynecdoche New YorkTai Chi for Beginners with Grandmaster William C. C. ChenTarnationTeen YogaTeenYogi DVDTemple GrandinTen Zen Tummy TonersTerrence MalickThe Athlete's Guide to YogaThe Better Sex Guide to the Kama SutraThe Big Book of PornThe Booty Barre -Total New BodyThe Breath of Tantric LoveThe ClassThe Devil and Daniel JohnstonThe Devil, ProbablyThe f WordThe f WordThe f WordThe F Word - Series ThreeThe f Word -- Series FourThe FIRM Power Yoga DVDThe Horse BoyThe Matrix and PhilosophyThe Medicated ChildThe Perfect ExerciseThe Philosophy of Motion PicturesThe Power of ForgivenessThe Qi Healing KitThe ReaderThe SavagesThe Snake PitThe Stanford Prison ExperimentThe Street Complete CollectionThe Suicide TouristThe Three Faces of EveThe Ultimate BALLET YOGAThe Way Way BackThinThinking XXXThis Emotional Life: In Search of Ourselves...and HappinessThrough A Dog's EyesThrough Deaf EyesThumbsuckerTierney GearonTo the WonderToday and TomorrowTotal-Body ToningTransTransform Yourself with Jivamukti YogaTrial and RetributionTrial and Retribution: Set 1Trial and Retribution: Set 3Trudie Styler's Cardio Dance FlowTrudie Styler's Warrior YogaUnborn in the USA: Inside the War on AbortionUnderstanding LoveUnforgettableUp the YangtzeV-Core WorkoutViniyoga Therapy for AnxietyViniyoga Therapy for DepressionViniyoga Therapy for the Low Back, Sacrum and HipsViniyoga Therapy for the Upper Back, Neck and ShouldersWaking LifeWalk It Off in 30 DaysWalk to the HITS Radio RemixesWall: A World DividedWeight Loss Cardio KickWhat Remains: The Life and Work of Sally MannWhat to Do When Someone DiesWhen Did You Last See Your Father?When Worlds Collide: The Untold Story of the Americas after ColumbusWrinklesWristcutters: A Love StoryWrong Side of the BusYin Yoga DVDYogaYoga & Pilates Workouts for DummiesYoga 4 TeensYoga : Beginners Flow for EveryoneYoga Beauty BodyYoga Bliss HipsYoga Body : Lean & Defined Total Body WorkoutYoga By Teens DVDYoga Emergency DVD: Arms & ShouldersYoga Emergency DVD: BackYoga Emergency DVD: Full Leg StretchYoga Emergency DVD: HipsYoga Emergency DVD: PregnancyYoga Flow DVDYoga for Back CareYoga for BeginnersYoga for Energy & Stress ReliefYoga for FitnessYoga for Regular Guys DVDYoga for Strength & EnergyYoga for Strength & FlexibilityYoga for the Young at HeartYoga for Your WeekYoga Inside Out: Go DeeperYoga Inside Out: The Healing WayYoga Journal's Yoga for StressYoga Journal: Yoga for Strength and Toning DVDYoga Link: Core IntegrationYoga Link: Hip HelpersYoga Link: Shoulder Shape-UpYoga on DemandYoga Quick FixesYoga SculptYoga ShaktiYoga Therapy for Back PainYoga Therapy Prescriptions - 60 Health Restorative SequencesYoga To Go's Yoga Quick Fixes DVDYoga to the Rescue - Feel Good from Head to ToeYoga to the Rescue for Back PainYoga to the Rescue for Neck & ShouldersYoga Weight Loss for DummiesYoga: Freedom from Back PainYoga: Relief from Neck and Shoulder PainYoga: Spirit of Vinyasa FlowYogawoman[email protected]Your Body Breakthru - Your Best Body Circuit DVD
The Bellyfit system is a holistic fitness approach designed for women (their tagline is "moving women"). The Elements DVD set features instructor and choreographer Alice Bracegirdle. Each DVD in this set—Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Spirit—offers a combination of cardio dance (drawing on many different traditions, from bellydance to Bollywood), core work, and yoga-based stretching. Bracegirdle incorporates many Eastern elements into the routines, including meditations and mudras (hand gestures). As noted on the Bellyfit web site, the workouts are designed to be accessible to all levels and abilities: Bracegirdle has one of her two background exercisers performing modifications, and she encourages viewers to go at their own pace. However, in her "Safety Tips" (found on each disc), Bracegirdle states that these workouts are not intended for anyone with "serious" neck, back, hip, or knee problems. (She also suggests that the workouts not be done on carpet, but I had little issues with the Berber carpet in my own workout room.)
Each of the five DVDs follows the same basic format. Bracegirdle starts with about four minutes of centering, meditation, belly breathing, and lotus lifts (a.k.a. Kegels) and then moves into an extended warm-up (8 minutes). Following this, she teaches two separate cardio sequences of approximately six minutes each. Bracegirdle instructs the moves in an add-on style, starting with simple, familiar leg movements such as heel digs, grapevines, chasse, high knee lifts, and hamstring curls; she then adds some complexity with arm movements and mudras. In each cardio segment, the exercises are practiced in sequence, and after practicing the first and second cardio routines separately, Bracegirdle combines them together, running through the entire routine several times ("take it from the top"). This is followed by a "cardio recovery," which is the warm-up exercises performed in reverse order—what a great idea to use moves that the viewer has already learned! The standing work concludes with a brief isolation segment and an "earth shower" meditation.
For the last 20 minutes or so of each workout, Bracegirdle tells viewers to remove their shoes: she and her crew come to their mats (the only prop used) for core work and final stretch. With the exception of the Earth DVD (which was re-released with this set), Bracegirdle instructs all of these routines live, using voiceover for the opening meditations only. She does mirror cue, but she has her own names for the moves (e.g., "Honor the Sun," "Shoot the Buzzard," etc.), which I found a little confusing to follow at times. Finally, these DVDs are not chaptered on the Main Menu, although they do have rough chapter breaks at each section (i.e., the start of the cardio, the start of the core work, and the start of the stretch).
I have provided some more specific information on each of the individual DVDs below.
EARTH (62 minutes)
This routine starts with a focus on earth energy. The warm-up includes step-touch, torso twists, heel digs, and shimmies, while the cardio segments incorporate grapevine, hip pumps, bhangra bounce, plié hops, jungle walk (high knees), v-circles, squats with lotus mudra, hip shimmy, and step back. The isolation segment focuses on the root chakra and includes pelvic tilts, evolving into hip circles. The core work on the floor begins with cat/cow and features some Pilates-like movements such as half-rollbacks, a variation on the Pilates hundreds, and single leg stretches. The extended final stretch includes yoga postures such as reclined twist, bridge, double pigeon, seated twist, seated forward bend, and butterfly. Bracegirdle concludes this session with a final meditation and mudra.
WATER (64.5 minutes)
The opening meditation here focuses on the color orange. After gathering chi, the warm-up incorporates exercises such as hips moving in a Figure 8, chest circles, and heels to the front. For the cardio, Bracegirdle performs pliés with shakti rising, hip circles, hamstring curls, reverse lunge with twist, snake arms, squat with balance, chasse with twist, oblique crunch, and shimmy with shoulder roll. The isolation segment centers on the rib cage and concludes with an earth shower meditation. The core work begins with several plank moves and again incorporates some Pilates-type work (e.g., can-can, hip lifts, scissors). The stretch begins seated for butterfly, hamstring and quad stretches, mermaid, gentle seated twist, and cow seat, all performed on one side before being repeated on the other. Bracegirdle concludes with a short (2.5 minute) relaxation and a shakti mantra with final mudra.
FIRE (61.5 minutes)
Fire starts with a visualization of the color yellow and a focus on the solar plexus. The warm-up and the segments which follow are the most cardio-intensive of all the Elements. The opening contains hips with elbow thrusts, side lunge, chest thrust, and side-to-side step with push. For the cardio, Bracegirdle begins with "own your fire" lunges and moves into high knees, chasse, hip sways, walk the fire, triple step with knee, plié with archer, step forward, bob and weave with push and punch, and jenga with block and twisting prayer. Following the cardio recovery, the isolations center on the chest. For the core work, Bracegirdle starts with cat/cow and elbow plank work. Additional core moves include a partial roll back, chest rotations performed on the knees, and a variation on the Pilates hundred. The stretch also incorporates yoga postures: Bracegirdle starts with some easy backbends on the floor (sphinx, updog, and bow), moves through downward dog to warrior two, and concludes with a supine twist and reclined butterfly. Bracegirdle finishes with relaxation (about 2 minutes) and final neck stretches and mudras in a seated position.
AIR (63 minutes)
For this opening sequence, Bracegirdle suggests a meditation on the color green and a focus on the heart chakra. The warm-up moves start with a triple hip followed by a hip sit, side lunge with alternating shoulder raise, plié with snake arms, and step tap with arm swings. The cardio segments include push the sky, high knees, heel touch with Figure 8 arms, fast/slow hip shimmy, heart to sky, bhangra, clear the air (grapevine), pull up roots plié, celebrate plié, and kickbacks (hamstring curls). For the isolations, Bracegirdle focuses on the shoulders, performing shoulder shimmies and shoulder rolls. The core section was more yoga-focused: Bracegirdle starts with triceps "dips" (actually push-ups) and then performs several yoga postures (downward dog, standing forward bend, dancers pose, standing side stretch) before doing just a few core moves (c-sit with shoulder shimmies/shoulder roll and balance in butterfly). The yoga stretch continues with seated forward bend, eagle arms, reclined Figure 4 stretch, reclined twist, reclined butterfly, and a short (1.5 minute) relaxation. To finish, Bracegirdle comes to seated and performs two different mudras, one for negative emotions and one for love.
SPIRIT (60 minutes)
The opening meditation centers on the colors blue, violet, and pure white as well as the upper chakras, including the throat, third eye, and crown. The warm-up sequence includes hip sways, hip circles, single-single-double side step with chest pop, temple dancer, and undulations. The first cardio series begins with a squat and then moves into a step tap with a reach to the sky. Additional moves include goddess pliés, plié twists (releasing anger), Shiva inner thigh lifts, temple dancer chasse, and hip shimmy. The second cardio series features knee raise honoring earth and sky plus a heel dig with a push from the heart, dancing goddess, bhangra heel drop, three hips and a bow, seven hips and a turn, and Kundalini rising. The isolation segment is a practice of heart undulations. The core section starts with several standing balance moves, including warrior 3 pose, Shiva, and standing glute stretch; this is followed by temple dancer stretch for the IT band. Floor postures include full prostration, seated sage twist, side lying quad stretch, and a brief (1.5 minute) relaxation. Bracegirdle concludes with three different mudras, one for higher consciousness, one for trust, and the Bellyfit mudra for embodiment.
Overall, Bellyfit Elements provides a fun cardio experience that is likely to be accessible to most women who are already relatively healthy. The meditations and mudras add a calming, soothing aspect to the practice, providing additional stress-relieving benefits.
© 2013 Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students.