Although Body Balance would be one of the best classes I could do for my body I’m currently only able to manage one class a week. If I could though, I’d do more! Like I mentioned when reviewing Body Balance 58, BB is a fantastic program and people often underestimate its’ ability to change your body and test your fitness. So why not spoil your body whilst you work it in a Body Balance class!
Anyways enough about me proclaiming my love for all that is Les Mills, let’s talk about Body Balance 59.
1. Track 1 is the tai chi warm up and is as un-complicated as they get. The music has an oriental flair to it and I really enjoy the letting go of the arms as your swush them (have to be there) in front of you. This track does a good job of calming, bringing yourself to the present and warming your legs, arms and body in the meantime.
2. We move on to sun salutations and it has much the same feel as past releases. However, there are a few extra elements that I haven’t experienced before such as the lunge twist with a long arm, which you typically see later on in the class. The flat back bend and downward dog both (as usual) do a great job of waking up my hamstrings. The typical plank lowering (knees or toes) still remains to test me when I go the toes option.
3. The hard work begins with the standing strength track. This track, compared to last release, is loooonggggg. And like all releases, it hurts! There’s a lot of movement as you change positions and alter this and that, but you also manage to maintain that intense burn we all love. We start with intense pose which I’ve never been a fan of. However I can’t fault the rest of the moves- I especially welcome the extended triangle pose that gives your legs a slight relief and focuses on a deep stretch behind the legs into the bum. Like track 2 this track also brings in an element normally seen later on- balance. At one stage we are balancing and I think this is done to work on fatiguing the legs more through stabilisation.
4. Let me start off my saying I abso-fricken-lutely love this song. Last week I literally missed the initial rising on the toes because I was bopping my head and singing along instead of paying attention- that nearly happened today before I managed to snap out of it. The song is A Drop In The Ocean and is just beautiful. Anyways, onto the moves for the balance track- we have eagle pose with a crossing of the arms to test our balance as well as my favourite dancer pose (being a past dancer will do that to you). I didn’t think this balance track was overly challenging and would hope to see a little more challenge in the next release.
5. Yay! Time for hip openers. I always love this track and I think that has something to do with my tightness in the hips and love for challenging myself. This time round we start in frog pose [it is actually hindi pose- thank you mummazee] which I personally find pretty intense especially when you’re trying to keep your back straight and chest up. We go back to the traditional swan pose at one point and also get to enjoy an intense quad stretch when we reach round the back to our foot and bring it to the bum.
6. After hips comes the core work. I feel that this release has really focused on the lower abdominals for this track which is great since I think that’d be a weaker core area for me. We do toe taps, V’s as well as my favourite hover. Similar to CXWORX 9 we do a hover move where we have the option to do a one-armed action whilst holding still. It’s intense and you’ll definitely feel the burn. I like how they’ve decided to finish with us belly down in a cobra type position enjoying a nice stomach stretch.
7. It’s then time to work the back as part of our core. We get to do the table pose which has always been a favourite for me (single arm & leg lifts also seen in this pose). We also keep up with the intensity we’ve seen in past releases with a move that sees us in table pose lifting a bent legged up whilst moving into a tricep push up (toe or knee options). Can ya picture it? Ha! [I have been informed but a lovely lady that it is known as the scorpion]. We finish by lying on our bellies and using the lower back and butt to lift our legs up and down as if we are kicking in the pool.
8. We move onto twists now and this is probably a track that I in general don’t like as much as other tracks. I do love starting with laying on your back and twisting your legs to one side though! When that time comes you know it’s nearly relaxation time haha. I’m so glad that one move- which I don’t know the name of- was not included this time round. It involves being in intense position and then bending over the body twisting round to one side. There is a time during this track where you have the option to get a decent hamstring stretch, as long as this doesn’t take away from the track’s purpose- to twist and turn.
9. We are nearly at the end when it’s time to really stretch out those hamstrings. Is it terrible that I barely remember anything from this track? I guess that means it wasn’t overly a stand out, even though it was near the end of the class and I probably should remember it. What I do remember is that we do a fair few front folds with wide legs which I like because I feel it going into the groin where I’m often tight. Oh I remember some more now- there’s also an option near the end to do a standing split which again takes me back to my dancer days, so naturally I enjoy that
10. There use to be two tracks for relaxation and I’m not sure whether or not this is, according to Les Mills, considered to be part of the relaxation or not. What it does it takes us few a simple, slow movements as we stretch out the body and hold easy positions for periods of time. So not lying relaxation per se, but it could still be classified as relaxation because not much effort is exerted.
11. Best part of the class- relaxation! The relaxation time and experience will be different for each person depending on your instructor, mood, environment etc. But what I can personally say is that this piece of music is one of the best I’ve ever ‘relaxed’ too. It’s a piano piece and I actually feel my body, as well as my brain!, switching off. I guess that’s what makes it so hard to get up and leave that relaxation feeling.
There you have it! My in depth, hopefully informative, perhaps mislabelled (in terms of moves and choreo), wacky and passionate review of Body Balance 59.
I really think that Les Mills outdid themselves with these past releases- Body Balance 59, CXWORX 9 and Body Step 90 would be one of my favourites, if not the favourite release for that program.
Have you done Body Balance 59? What did you think? What is your favourite Body Balance pose or track?