Dance The ChakrasAna Brett, Ravi Singh
Year Released: 2006
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Although I actually took a Kundalini yoga workshop with instructors Ana Brett and Ravi Singh in 2005, this was the first of their DVDs that I tried, as my home practice tends to consist of more traditional forms of Hatha yoga. To my surprise, I enjoyed this DVD very much, and I expect that I will now include some Kundalini as part of my home practice.
Unlike their live workshops, Ana and Ravi's DVDs feature Ana only on screen, with both Ana and Ravi providing instruction via voiceover. Dance the Chakras is broken down into two main sections, a Kundalini yoga sequence and a series of short guided dances. The DVD chapter menu breaks down as follows (I've added approximate times and brief details):
Tune In (just under 3 minutes)--includes ong namo guru dev namo chant
Yoga Set 1 (9.5 minutes)--stomach grinds, ragdoll (fast head-to-knee pose performed repeatedly), crow (a type of squat, not an arm balance) with Breath of Fire [BOF], butterfly with forward bend, bridge with BOF; includes brief pauses to meditate throughout
Yoga Set 2 (16 minutes)--moving legs in and out while lying on back, rolling, chest expansion (arms raised at right angles move in and out) with BOF, arms held at 60 degrees, shoulderstand with BOF, plow, rolling, neck rolls, cat/cow sequence, baby pose (child's pose) with arm mudra and 3-part breath; includes brief pauses to meditate throughout
Shake Your Chakras:
Tribal Dance (5 minutes)--arms opening, surfer dips (rock down and back up), tribal dance (pulse arms down, work your way up)
Hippy Hippy Shake (3.5 minutes)--hips shake side-side-side-up, hip rolls up to one side, side to side sways
Funky Temple Dance (3.5 minutes)--free form, with side sweeps and other large arm movements
Dance of Power (4.5 minutes)--punches, victory dance, sweep kicks
Rock Your Soul:
Heart (2.5 minutes)--includes spinning
Trance Dance (4 minutes)--freeform dance with sat-a-nam wahay guru chant
Deep Relaxation (3 minutes)--relaxation pose
Chakra Mudra Chant (5 minutes; also called mantra meditation)--repeated arm movement pattern while singing ap sahae hoa-suchay da sucha doa-har har har
Closing Prayer (1 minute)--pray for self, other, world peace
Although I don't have much experience with Kundalini yoga, many of the postures included in the yoga sets were familiar, and I enjoyed the mix of fast repetitions with more slow relaxed holds. Ana and Ravi talk about which chakras are being worked via each exercise, moving from the lower body to the top of the head. I was more wary of the dance section: although I do enjoy some dance workouts, I tend not to like more freeform workouts. Surprisingly, I found that these dances were really enjoyable, particularly the Hippy Hippy Shake, with all of its fun hip swings and sways, and the Dance of Power, which had a bit of a kickboxing flavor. Ana's moves are sensual and free, and although I did try to follow her, I didn't feel pressured to copy her exactly either. The chakra mudra meditation was another pleasant surprise that left me feeling very relaxed and focused.
The entire workout comes in at about 60 minutes. However, the DVD also includes several great pre-sets (premixes) which give you several different shorter workout options. These include Shake Your Chakras, 30 minutes; Chakra Light, 30 minutes; Sweat and Glow, 45 minutes; and Angel Tango, 20 minutes. However, you might find that you enjoy the DVD so much that you want to do the entire thing! I think that fans of Ana and Ravi will definitely love this DVD, but I also would recommend it for those new to Kundalini who approach the practice with an open mind and spirit.
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, including both the yoga and the dances. She and Ravi mesh well in their off-screen voiceover instructions, and I liked the effect of how they sometimes talked over one another during the dances.
Wow! This is an awesome DVD! The video contains a complete kundalini session for the chakras followed by a guided dance session, which allows for plenty of free form expression. Breakdown is:
Chakra Yoga, consisting of:
*Ragdoll (which is janu sirsasana (head to knee pose) alternating quickly from one leg extended to the next with the breath - inhale switch legs, exhale head to knee)
*Crow with Breath of Fire (Ana & Ravi's version of crow, which is not the traditional yoga crow position, it's more of a squat with the hands on the ground)
*Butterfly with long, deep breathing
*Bridge with Breath of Fire
*Lying on back, legs up 60 degrees with inhale, knees to chest with exhale, legs up 60 degrees with inhale, legs down to the ground with exhale
*Cross-legged position alternating hands at prayer position to extended straight to the sides with breath
*Arms up 60 degrees, palms flat with long, deep breathing
*Shoulderstand, legs out 30 degrees with Breath of Fire
*Plow (very brief)
*Head Rolls (slow)
*Cow/Cat (slow then quick)
*Baby Pose with fingers intertwined behind back, move arms up with three inhales, exhale arms back down)
Shake Your Chakra Dance Section consisting of:
*Tribal Dance (my favorite!)
*Hippy Shake (great hip opener)
*Funky Temple Dance
*Dance of Power
Rock Your Soul Dance Section consisting of:
*Dance Trance (with sung mantra)
*Chakra Mudra Chant
The yoga section was very thorough. Ana and Ravi explain for most exercises which chakra(s) you're working and the benefits. None are done for very long, and I didn't find any of them to be particularly difficult, just nice and enjoyable. As Ravi always encourages, I wanted to do more!
The dance section is so much fun! As background, although I usually enjoy Shiva Rea, I am not a fan of "Yoga Trance Dance." I like Ravi & Ana's dance much better. It is guided (and just a little funkier than "Yoga Trance Dance"), but Ana encourages you to use your own free form often. The dances vary from strong and powerful, to flowing and mellow. It is energizing, uplifting and very free-ing! I worked up a light sweat, although it is certainly not an intense cardio workout.
The Chakra Mudra Chant is beautiful, and in addition to the singing, you alternate hand positions. I usually struggle singing mantras, but on this one, the words are on the screen the entire time, making it easier and more quick to learn. I had both the words and the hand positions down less than halfway through, and I was able to close my eyes.
I usually do cardio in the morning because I find it is the best way for me to start my day. As much as I love kundalini, there are few that I feel "get me going" enough to do first thing in the morning - Gurmukh's session, Mantra Girl Advanced and Ravi & Ana's Total Tune Up and the revised Fat Free have been the only ones I've found that satisfy my need for "revving up" in the morning. This one, however, will fit that bill nicely! I feel energized, alive and blissfully happy having just completed it. I began the session with quite a stiff back and hips, and both areas feel great now!
The music (as is always the case with Ravi & Ana's videos) is awesome. It's upbeat and groovin'! There are some songs we've heard from other Ravi & Ana videos, but plenty of new ones.
As an added bonus, Ravi & Ana put pre-set practices on this one! There are four shorter versions of the entire session (which runs 60 min. in total). There is one 20-min. session, one 30-minute session and two 45-minute sessions. This will be great when time is short!
I think experienced kundalini practitioners will love this session, but it is very accessible for the beginner.
Try this one and have a ball!
As usual, Ana and Ravi are excellent! Ana demonstrates beautifully, and both Ana and Ravi provide thorough, insightful verbal instruction.