Video Fitness

Yoga Beauty Body

Ravi Singh and Ana Brett

Although I actually took a Kundalini yoga workshop with instructors Ana Brett and Ravi Singh in 2005, this was only the second of their DVDs that I have tried, as my home practice tends to consist of more traditional forms of Hatha yoga. I expect that I will now include some Kundalini as part of my home practice, either via Yoga Beauty Body or one of Ana and Ravi's other recent releases.

Unlike their live workshops, Ana and Ravi's DVDs feature Ana only on screen, with both Ana and Ravi providing instruction via voiceover. Yoga Beauty Body is a 55-minute full-body practice, with the yoga postures being grouped into two main sets. The DVD chapter menu breaks down as follows (I've added approximate times and brief details):

Introduction (1 minute)
Tune In (just under 2.5 minutes)--includes ong namo guru dev namo chant
Breath Primer (4 minutes)--practice deep breathing and breath of fire [BOF]
Warm-Ups (4 minutes)--stomach grinds, ragdoll (fast head-to-knee pose performed repeatedly)
Yoga Set 1 (17 minutes)--baby (child's pose), baby with raised head and BOF, rock pose (hero), deep lunge, reclined rock (hero) with BOF, chair (which they call "crow" in Dance the Chakras--it's a sort of squat) with BOF, lie on stomach to rest, butterfly with rocking and forward bend, hip raises, rolling, locust with feet crossed, bow (2x), rest, stretch pose (lying supine with legs raised 6 inches) with BOF; includes brief pauses to meditate throughout
Yoga Set 2 (16 minutes)--move legs in and out while lying supine, rolling, moving arms up and down while lying on stomach (triceps work), seated arm circles with BOF, camel with BOF, kneeling forward bend, shoulderstand with BOF, plow, rolling, cobra with wide legs, rest, baby's pose, sat kriya (squeeze lower organs and hold to sat, breathe out to nam); includes brief pauses to meditate throughout
Deep Relaxation (3 minutes)--relaxation pose
Meditation (4.5 minutes)--lying on stomach, "play" fingers mantra (touch thumbs to each finger in succession) while repeating sa ta na ma to yourself
Closing Prayer (1 minute)--pray for self, other, world peace

Since the final 9 minutes of this workout are focused on relaxation, the active practice segment is only about 45 minutes. This DVD does not include any premixes, but it is well-chaptered, so you could easily make the practice even shorter by skipping the breath primer once you are familiar with Kundalini breathing styles.

For someone who has experience with and enjoys Kundalini yoga, I think this DVD would be an excellent choice. I particularly liked how progressively more challenging backbends are gradually incorporated into the practice, culminating with bow pose. However, because I tend to prefer my yoga practices to be mainly relaxing, I found this workout to be a bit too strenuous (although it definitely was relaxing as well). Although I did enjoy it overall, I think that I'm personally better off keeping my Kundalini practices limited to shorter sessions, either via selecting particular chapters from this DVD only or using another Ana/Ravi DVD which includes premixes (such as Dance the Chakras).

This is a well-produced, well-organized Kundalini practice, and I expect that it will be well-liked by fans of Ana and Ravi's other works.

Instructor comments: Ana is graceful, serene, and beautiful; just her presence has both a happy and a calming effect, and she does a wonderful job of portraying the exercises. She and Ravi mesh well in their off-screen voiceover instructions. They do make several beauty-related comments here, which may be off-putting to some people (though not to me).

Beth C (aka toaster)

October 30, 2006

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