Ana Brett, Ravi Singh
NOTE: Like many other VFers, I received review copies of these new DVDs directly from Ana & Ravi.
Kundalini Yoga: Cardio, Stretch, & Strengthen is one of three new DVDs from the husband/wife team of Ravi Singh/Ana Brett. As with their previous videos, the workout features Ana alone on screen while she and Ravi take turns providing voiceover instruction. However, gone is the plain white studio and the furry little rug; here Ana uses a traditional yoga mat, and she practices on a raised platform, surrounded by columns and against a painted backdrop of a tranquil lake scene. In the Introduction to this workout, Ana states that Kundalini Yoga: Cardio, Stretch, & Strengthen provides a complete kundalini yoga practice combined with dance cardio for a fun workout. She recommends that you wear shoes for the cardio portion if you do not have a soft surface available (Ana herself is wearing calf boots laced up halfway).
The Main Menu of this DVD reads as follows:
*Design your own Workout Matrix Menu Option
With these new DVDs, Ravi and Ana have offered a Matrix; this option allows you to customize your own workout by selecting any of the chapters in any order (up to 15 total) to create your own yoga practice. Each DVD also has Pre-Set Selections which provide a variety of additional routines. The Pre-Set practices on this DVD are as follows (includes times in minutes):
Beginners Cardio Plus (49:30)—Warm-Ups only; Movement Breakdown plus Cardio
Yoga Only Pre-Set (42:30)—no Cardio
Kundalini Cardio Plus Super Set (49:30)—Cardio plus Extended Dance and Core
Kundalini Yoga Plus Cardio Intermediate (61:00)—both yoga and cardio sets
Here is the Chapter Selection breakdown (includes times in minutes):
*Stretching Plus Core (15:32)
*Kundalini Dance Cardio Warm-Up Flow and Cardio (15:02)
*Kundalini Dance Cardio Cool Down (3:16)
*Upper Body Tune and Tone (11:39)
*Deep Relaxation (5:17)
*Ek Ong Kar Chant (5:19)
*Closing Prayer (2:43)
*Breath Primer (5:30)
*Dance Movement Breakdown (7:51)
*Extended Dance (21:00)
*Dance with Music Only (10:47)
From the Tune-In through the Closing Prayer, the main practice is just under 72 minutes long. In the Warm-Ups, Ravi and Ana include moves familiar from their past workouts, such as stomach grinding, but also add some new moves, such as swimming. The Stretching Plus Core starts with a long sequence where you sit in half-hero’s pose, bend forward over one leg, and engage in Breath of Fire (BOF). This segment becomes even more challenging with many repetitions of plow pose and then a series in which plow pose flows into a move similar to a half-Pilates teaser. Core Plus includes work on hands and knees, extended yogic sit-up variations, and prone work. The Upper Body segment begins with dolphin push-ups and then moves into more traditional kundalini work for the upper body—i.e., various arm movements performed rapidly while engaging in BOF (this section left my triceps sore the next day!). The chant included at the end of this practice is “Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam, Siri Wahay Guru”; the Deep Relaxation, Closing Prayer, and Breath Primer segments are similar to what Ravi and Ana have offered on their previous DVDs.
One of the things I was most interested in about this new DVD was the cardio portion, as I loved Ravi and Ana’s previous DVD which included cardio, Dance the Chakras (DTC). Some of the moves here do have that same kind of loose, dance-y feel as the DTC dances—for example, the “Shiva Dance” and the “Punching Hip Hop.” On the other hand, there are many different jumping jack variations included as well, so overall, the cardio work is significantly higher impact and more intense than in DTC (although lower impact options are shown). As Ana points out, no move is performed for more than 30 seconds, so the cardio is quite doable. In the Movement Breakdown, Ana reviews each exercise briefly in slow motion. The Extended Dance features the same moves, just more repetitions, and finally, the Music Only option offers Ana dancing to the music with no instruction.
A few final things to note. First of all, the font used for the DVD menus, especially the submenus, is VERY small—so small, in fact, that I found it impossible to read the submenu selections on my 13” workout room TV (although when I played the DVD on my computer, the text appeared clearer). Overall, this DVD is very well-done, but as I was hoping for something more similar to Dance the Chakras, I was a bit disappointed; I didn’t enjoy the cardio segments as much as I’d hoped, and I thought that the yoga sets weren’t as well-rounded as the various other Ravi and Ana DVDs that I have tried. Still, I think that most Ravi and Ana fans are likely to enjoy this DVD, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to them.
Ana has an extremely graceful on-screen presence, and she does an amazing job of demonstrating the postures--she is seemingly indefatigable, and she always appears to be enjoying herself. She and Ravi do an nice job of sharing responsibility for the off-screen voiceover instruction.
Beth C (aka toaster)
March 9, 2009