Fat Free Yoga - Total Tune UpAna Brett, Ravi Singh
Year Released: 2003
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This is my first review, so please be patient. :)
Some background on me: I am advanced in cardio (IMAX2, TLP, Christi, and FIRMS are my favorites), low-advanced in weight work (Cathe at almost Cathe's weights and FIRM), and high intermediate in yoga (Eoin's Power Yoga for Happiness is a favorite - but I don't do full backbends or hand/headstands). I was a Kundalini yoga virgin before trying this DVD.
I wanted something new and different...and this definitely filled that niche! First I will list what I felt were the negatives of this workout. Warning: Some may sound petty.
1) Ana's outfit! As another reviewer mentioned, she appears to be working out in her underwear. She wears an almost transparent white tank top, very obviously with no built in bra, and tiny panty-looking shorts. I kept wishing she was a believer in Anna Benson's black underwear dictum. Perhaps she wore minimal clothing to help the viewer see her yoga form, but I kept hoping my 13-year-old son wouldn't walk in and get an eyeful.
2) At first I found Ravi's speech patterns to be a bit condescending. He also has some silly sayings and rhymes (reminded me of some of Baron Baptiste's sayings, in a way).
3) There are a few moves I would never want anyone to witness me doing! My 9-year-old daughter walked in as I was doing the part where you stick your curled tongue out and breathe in through the mouth and out throw the nose. She asked me, "What are you pretending to be?" Then she fell on the floor laughing.
4) There were some rather quick neck rolls near the end of the workout, to help the parathyroid gland, Ravi says. I have neck issues, so I did slower neck rolls and not all the way to the back.
5) There was some weird (to me) chanting at the beginning and end. I'm not really a chanting kind of person. :) I guess the chanting is common to Kundalini yoga, from what I read.
From the above, you may get the impression that I put this DVD on my trade list immediately after trying it. That is not the case. This DVD grew on me. This is why:
1) I felt great afterwards!! I don't know if it was the breath of fire (which I hadn't done much before), the exercises, the meditations interspersed between the active sections, or what, but I felt relaxed, lightly worked out, and happy afterwards.
2) As the workout progressed, I began to find Ravi's voice relaxing and his silly rhymes encouraging. Maybe the breath of fire made me light-headed. :)
3) I had heard that much of Kundalini yoga is done with the eyes closed (and Ana demonstrates this). When I tried keeping my eyes closed, I was not as distracted by her skimpy attire and I could concentrate much more on how I felt. Very nice.
4) I liked how active the practice was. It was a complete departure from hatha yoga and the power yoga I've tried.
5) I liked how the DVD was chaptered into four distinct sections, that could each be done as a short, 17-minute practice when I am short on time.
I like it! I don't think I'll do it when my husband is home, and I'll be sure my son is in the other room. It definitely was something new and different. I may be interested in trying more of Ravi and Ana's workouts.
Ravi appears only at the beginning and gives instruction via voiceover. Ana demonstrates the moves, but does not speak.
Kundalini Yoga and I have never clicked. I had the mass-market one you see everywhere (sorry, canít remember the name), but couldnít bring myself to do more than a couple of minutes. I had the Mantra Girl Advanced, and about died from boredom because it was so repetitive. However, something made me want to like it Ė call me a glutton for punishment, but there was something about the feeling afterward Ė sort of a completely refreshed feeling Ė that made me want to try again. So I bought the three ďFat FreeĒ DVDs from Ravi Singh, and Iím happy to say that with at least this one, Iíve clicked with Kundalini! This one has four (chaptered) segments that you can do separately or all together. They are called Warm-Up & Open-Up, Firm & Affirm, Burn Baby Burn, and Raise Yourself Up. Iím very pleased with both this workout and the options of doing longer or shorter versions with the DVD. I canít wait to try the other two. Grade A.07/07/2004
This video was my first experience with kundalini yoga, which I found to be different. Throughout the practice, there were only a few yoga poses which I recognized from my prior practice of hatha yoga for the past several years. This workout placed an even greater emphasis on breathing than my other yoga tapes; specifically, the "Breath of Fire," a rapid form of inhaling and exhaling which is purported to result in all kinds of benefits.
The workout is broken down into four approximately 17 minute segments. Ravi Singh provides instruction but does not participate--he sits on a cushion in the corner while model Catherine Quinn performs the movements. The first segment (which is actually about 22 minutes) serves as a warmup, and it begins with simple breathing and stetching. The Breath of Fire is introduced here, but little instruction is provided on this technique. Left Nostril Breathing is also used, and the segment ends with a lying relaxation (Ravi notes that you can skip to the next section if you prefer to keep active).
In Segment 2, called "Fight Fire with Fire," there is an even greater focus on the Breath of Fire, which is performed while holding various static positions--eg, lying on your back with your head and shoulders up and one leg raised. This 17 minute segment ends with practice of the Cooling Breath. The third segment, "No Impact Aerobics," is very similar, and it repeats some of the exercises from the second section. Some new exercises are added, such as a modified pushup on one leg--it's fairly easy to perform, but there are many repetitions. There is more practice with the Breath of Fire, and the Serenity Breath is also introduced. This segment ends with another lying relaxation and comes in at about 15 minutes.
The final segment is titled "Your Life is in Your Own Glands," and thus the exercises are specifically designed to stimulate various glands. Following these movements, there is an extended period of seated meditation as well as an extended lying reaction for a total of 16 minutes. (Brief periods of meditation and relaxation--including rolling up and down on your back to relax your spine--are also interspersed throughout the workout.)
What I liked about this workout was how the energizing bursts using the Breath of Fire were combined with periods of meditation and relaxation. However, I found it hard to believe that the practice would have the weight loss benefits which Ravi Singh repeatedly claimed; in fact, I didn't like the fact that Ravi was so focused on weight issues throughout the workout. This workout might be better suited to those already familiar with kundalini yoga rather than newbies to the method like myself.
Ravi's overall style just did not mesh very well with me, including his tendency to spout off in rhyming couplets. I also found it strange--and even somewhat condescending--that he just sat in the corner providing instruction during the workout, and I didn't like his focus on weight loss (as opposed to overall health).
I love this dvd! I am trained in kundalini yoga and though the pace
felt just right for me - relaxing and invigorating by turns, I still feel a beginner, or any level for that matter, could benefit from this dvd since it is so clear and easy to follow.
If you are used to hatha where you work on holding poses you will find kundalini very different and quite possibly a breath of fresh air. Not that hatha is not as good. And, in fact when I took Anas vinyasa class in NYC she recommended that the best results come from combining both practices. In kundalini yoga you move through poses - twisting, turning, flexing and breathing. Its aerobic and energizing! After all the point is to get your kundalini energy to rise!
Ravi is very encouraging with his positive affirmations so he makes it easy to push yourself when you need to.
I actually got this dvd less for the 'Total Body Tuneup' (though I know beyond a doubt from my experience with their Fat Free video that it does work - dramatically and fast!!)and more for the other benefits of kundalini, ie., getting a handle on stress(especially with the holidays!, getting rid of conscious and not so conscious habits, making breakthroughs I never thought I could, in other words changing my life - which kundalini yoga has definitely done for me though I can't tell you how and why it works. Is it the rapid movement? The meditations? The mantras? Ravis voice is very soothing, the instructions are clear and succinct and Anas demo is so precise. I can't tell you how much faster you can make progress when you see how stuff is meant to be done and Ana is the one to watch. What do they say? A picture is worth a thousand words.
It is very satisfying to me to now have two of my favorite teachers on the same
WE ONLY SEE RAVI SINGH IN THE BEGINNING AND END. HIS INSTRUCTIONS ARE VERY CLEAR AND EASY TO FOLLOW AND HE INCLUDES MODIFICATIONS FOR BEGINNERS. ITS OBVIOUS ANA BRETT HAS EXTENSIVE DANCE TRAINING. IT LOOKS SO EASY WHEN SHE DOES IT SHE MAKES EVERYTHING SEEM POSSIBLE
Music: I really enjoyed the music. Not overtly indian (which I would have loved), but soothing and very enjoyable. Kept me in the moment.
Spirituality Factor: My grandparents, etc, are Hindu. I am an agnostic. Lately I have been enjoying Yoga as a means of connecting to my heritage. If the religious emphasis on any workout is heavy on theism, I find it difficult to relate, but when it comes to discussing yogic texts, etc, I feel as if I'm communicating with my ancestors - as Iyengar Brahmins, I imagine many of them were yogis/yoginis.
Thus, the spirituality in this workout resonated beautifully with me. I didn't hear much mind-body talk, which is good, because that is usually a huge turnoff for me. It was just right.
There is quite a few meditation breaks. As a practitioner of transcendental meditation I actually believe taking meditation breaks mid-exercise is healthy and wise.
Well. Ravi & Ana real wiped me out during the frog pose to standing in the burn,baby burn section.
I found this workout to be arduous and relaxing all at the same time.
This isn't power-yoga. No sun salutations over and over again (and I like those - butI was yearning for something different).
Lots of hip openings.
This is a treasure which I will keep. I am going to try to do one segment a day every day.
Of course, I have 2 other Ravi/Ana workouts so I guess I'll just say, I'm going to do yoga daily in some form or another and Ravi and Ana will figure greatly in this rotation.
Ana is lovely and graceful. Very strong, and a joy to watch.
Ravi is seen at the start and at the end, and we here his voice throughout. I like both of them.