Geri's great body has accomplished
more than anybody would ever expect. Geri Yoga is so far one of
the best selling fitness videos not only in the UK but also in
Europe and the parts of the world where it was released. All
information was collected exclusively by Schizo:Geri
An Interview with Katy Appleton
It's no secret that Geri Halliwell transformed her body and lifestyle through yoga--and with the release of Geri Yoga, the star is letting us in on her secret. The presenter Katy Appleton is Geri's personal yoga teacher. She devised and presented the video/DVD, which features Geri throughout, and comprises two warm-up sections, a typical Hatha yoga class, and relaxation. Amazon.co.uk contributor Lorna V caught up with Katy Appleton between her classes for private clients.
Amazon.co.uk: You and Geri have a great rapport in the video. How long have you known each other?
Katy Appleton: I was teaching evening classes in Wimbledon and half-way through the beginners' course early in the year I was approached by a lady who asked me if I gave private lessons. She said it was for a friend of hers called Geri, who turned out to be Geri Halliwell!
Amazon.co.uk: Most celebrities seem to go for the aerobic form of yoga, ashtanga, whereas you teach the straightforward Hatha form. Were you surprised that Geri opted for this?
Appleton: Before Geri came to me she had tried different types of yoga, and she was very familiar with ashtanga or power yoga, as it's also known. She came to me on recommendation, and what she was looking for was a more nurturing form of yoga.
Amazon.co.uk: Throughout the video, and in the interview at the end, Geri seems equally concerned with relaxing and de-stressing the mind as she is with the physical aspect of yoga.
Appleton: Absolutely. Like a lot of people with a busy, hectic lifestyle, she needs something calming in her life.
Amazon.co.uk: You were a dancer for the English National Ballet. How did you discover yoga?
Appleton: My mother did yoga when she was pregnant with me and as a child I went to classes with her. As a dancer my lifestyle was very demanding and strenuous and I turned to yoga, initially for the breathing and meditation because I wanted to bring balance into my life. Four years ago I decided to train as a teacher and realised that I adored teaching.
Amazon.co.uk: You're trained in Sivananda yoga, which in addition to postures includes meditation. It's a very pure form of yoga, very spiritual, yet your session in the video is very accessible and modern.
Appleton: The spiritual side focuses the mind. But you can't overload people with information when they are new to something like this. Some people prefer the physical form, and later become more interested in the meditation side. The postures in the video are a good introduction and foundation for any type of yoga people might choose later.
Amazon.co.uk: The entire session seems unscripted, yet it's very thorough and comprehensive. How did you achieve that?
Appleton: I designed the programme according to how I teach my classes. Yes, it was unscripted, and on the day of filming I was speaking as I would in a class. Geri chats more than she normally would in a class, but we were aware of interacting with the viewer. So for example if she knew it was important to stretch her arm more, she was also aware that the viewer might not know that. I did a lot of research on yoga videos and one of the problems I found was that they tended to be impersonal and it was hard to enter into that world. Geri and I wanted to reach out into people's front rooms.
Amazon.co.uk: You didn't go for the sunny beach setting one expects from a yoga video. The session seems to be taking place in a very modern room, with floorboards and light.
Appleton: That's exactly what we were aiming for: a clean, homely atmosphere. In the middle of winter when people are buying this they need to make a connection between yoga and their own home and it's harder to do that watching a video set on a beach.
Amazon.co.uk: The teaching in the video is very precise and detailed, yet the level of detail is not overwhelming. Was this intentional, and how did you achieve this?
Appleton: It's intuition. You have to be clear so that people understand, but sometimes people need more time. This video is intended as an introduction, which is why it was important for us to have Tina in the session, an older person who is not as advanced as Geri. That way viewers can make a connection between how they might start out, and how they are likely to progress.
Amazon.co.uk: Geri makes a lot of references throughout to weight. Is this not contradictory to the ethos of yoga?
Appleton: Purists might disapprove, yes. But Geri's intention is to be helpful to people who are new to yoga. The point is that people do want to know about losing weight and toning up. Eventually when they progress with, they realise yoga is about a lot more.
Amazon.co.uk: There are a lot of Geri fans. But equally there are a lot of people interested in yoga that may be put off by the Geri element, which seems a shame, as the teaching in the video is great, and there are some fantastic tips.
Appleton: If people don't like Geri, they can just switch off and concentrate on their practice. It's mostly me talking anyway.
Amazon.co.uk: Would you consider making a video without Geri?
Appleton: Not at present no.
Amazon.co.uk: How do you hope people will use the video?
Appleton: When Geri suggested the idea of the video in June I thought it was a great idea because it was a way of getting the benefits across to people who might have thought of doing yoga, but didn't know what to expect. We both felt that we get the benefits of yoga, and why shouldn't everybody else. People can use the video in different ways. They might use it to get a bit familiar with the postures and then find a class that suits them. They might use the video instead of a class because it's convenient. Or they might just come in after a hectic day and go straight to the relaxation session.
GERI AND KATY APPLETON
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