Kerry Bestwick is an Englishwoman who moved to the USA in 1999. In Pure Yoga Pilates she has two sessions: one 40-minute practice for yoga, and one 36-minute practice for Pilates. Both parts are shot in the Bald Eagle State Park in Pennsylvania, which provides a striking backdrop. Bestwick is originally from Nottingham in the East Midlands, and her accent is quite distinct. Some may find that it takes a little getting used to. She also uses a few English references that may be striking to viewers: for example, she says "you could almost rest a cup of tea there and it wouldn't spill" when taking about how to place your abdomen when lying down at the start of the Pilates session.
Bestwick talks as she demonstrates the exercises, and she sometimes does the mirror image version to the viewer. So for example, when she says "right hand in front, left hand behind," she will actually put her left hand in front and her right behind. I find this rather confusing, but it is standard practice on many exercises DVDs. In the background is bland new age music. It looks like one camera was used, and it shows Bestwick from different perspectives, sometimes in close-up, sometimes against the background of the rest of the park. She is in sunlight most of the time, but occasionally she is shaded as a cloud passes in front of the sun or the shadow of a tree falls on her. There's a slight breeze.
The yoga session starts slowly but gets fairly vigorous. It includes plenty of stretching of the hamstrings and lower back in different forward fold poses; some balancing, lots of chair poses, and a series of challenging lunges, with some twists. It ends with a relaxation period. Bestwick's instructions are clear and it is easy to follow her.
The Pilates session includes many of the standard Pilates exercises, such as the Hundreds, Rollovers, Roll Like A Ball, and Double Straight Leg Lift. Bestwick gives helpful instructions about which muscle groups should be tightened and which should be relaxed, and she explains how to do more challenging versions of several exercises. Occasionally she does not give much explanation of what she is saying -- for example, she says "imprint the spine" without saying what that means. So the Pilates section is probably best for those who have some previous experience of these exercises. She also does not always spell out how people who are less flexible or strong should modify the exercises to make them possible, but mostly it is fairly obvious how to make the exercises useful even if one isn't able to get as far or do as many repetitions as Bestwick does.
While the yoga and Pilates sections are quite separate, each is done with a slight flavor of the other. The yoga involves a fair amount of core work, and the Pilates is centered on the whole person. The production values are good, but the DVD does not contain any extras. There are not many DVDs that contain both yoga and Pilates, and for those who are looking to do both, Pure Yoga Pilates should be an adequate option.
Link: Pure Yoga Pilates Website
© 2007 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.
Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Reviews. His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.