Full Moon YogaGloria Drayer
Year Released: 2002
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Full Moon Yoga presents a 50-minute yoga practice with a strong spiritual component. Although instructor Gloria Drayer invites men to join the practice, their is an emphasis on connecting with the feminine in the honoring of the moon. Gloria encourages you to begin your practice by arranging an "altar," or simply a sacred place. Unlike the title would suggest, the practice is mostly filmed in a bright, sunlit dessert, but alternate views of Gloria and her three accompanying female yogis feature a night setting lit only by luminaries and the moon itself. Gloria instructs via voiceover throughout the practice.
The first 20 minutes of this practice feature traditional seated and standing yoga postures with the addition of some more flowing movements. For example, Gloria first leads you through basic yogic breathing in a seated position, flowing the arms overhead and back down. Next, with the hands laced behind your head, Gloria instructs you to continue breathing while moving your elbows in and then out for a chest expansion. Moving into down dog, Gloria transitions into a standing segment which includes a lunge series, standing forward bend, forward bend/squat flow, mountain with arms overhead (held for an extended period), warrior 1 with optional backbend, five-point star (wide-legged stance)/goddess flow, warrior 2, goddess (extended hold), and squat.
The second half of the practice (also 20 minutes) focuses on opening the chakras, or energy centers of the body. For each of the seven chakras, Gloria asks you to hold a single pose while meditating on the color of that chakra and chanting the sound associated with the chakra. The postures are as follows: 1st chakra (red)=cobbler's pose; 2nd chakra (orange)=bow pose (beginning with half-bow); 3rd chakra (yellow)=cobra pose; 4th chakra (green)=fish pose; 5th chakra (blue)=bridge pose; 6th chakra (purple)=seated twist; 7th chakra (white)=yoga mudra. I enjoyed this section the most, especially the spiritual emphasis and the gentle, progressive backbending postures.
The practice concludes with a nice lengthy savasana which includes a guided meditation component. Overall, I enjoyed this practice very much, especially given that it is very different from the other yoga videos I own. I probably would hesitate to recommend it to men, but I would freely recommend it to women who enjoy practicing yoga with a spiritual component.
I found Gloria to be gentle and soothing. Given that the participants in the practice were arrnaged in a circle and the camera rarely focused on Gloria alone, I'm not sure if she was mirror cueing, but it didn't seem to matter here. To view clips of this video, check out Gloria's web site at http://www.yogasimpleandsacred.com/video.htm.
I’m reviewing this workout after previewing and doing it twice since acquiring it two months ago.
General workout breakdown: This yoga video is about 50 minutes long, although if you cut out the opening intention chapter it comes out at about 45 minutes. It begins with setting an intention and consecrating an “altar” (some space with an object sacred to you which you are to face during the workout: it’s sad but that space seems to correspond with my TV and DVD player). The next 10-15 minutes begin seated and then move up to standing, with asanas such as downward facing dog, standing forward fold, lunges, and warrior 1. Additionally, there is a flow with the “goddess” pose into warrior 2. The next half hour (give or take a few minutes) is spent on the chakras, assigning a pose, color, and chanted syllable to each. The last five minutes or so are spent in savasana, with Gloria guiding you into and out of this rest pose which includes a sort of guided meditation on the moon. The pace is leisurely. Poses are held for some time, but not for a particularly long time.
Level: I’d recommend this to someone with at least a little yoga experience. While this may be best suited for the experienced beginner through intermediate, I think that a more advanced yogini could find this useful for those days when she wants something restorative. The poses aren’t particularly challenging, but the lack of instruction wouldn’t make this appropriate for a true beginner. I consider myself a low intermediate in yoga; I have three years of experience but still need to improve my strength and flexibility. I found this video appropriately challenging for me, more on a mental level than physical.
Class: Three normal-looking women join Gloria for many shots; in others, Gloria is alone. Gloria instructs via voiceover.
Music / Set / Other Production Notes: The instrumental music is low key, pleasant, and appropriate (except for that sudden sweeping chorus during savasana) but ultimately forgettable. The class practices in White Sands, New Mexico, with most shots taken during the day and a few at night. This wasn’t a big budget production, but that doesn’t bother me. The picture isn’t super crisp, but it isn’t exactly fuzzy. And the sound is fine, even if Gloria’s voice only comes out on one side of my speakers.
Equipment: sticky mat or equivalent. You may want to have a blanket or pillow for some seated poses and perhaps even a strap or towel for one or two poses. All participants are barefoot.
Space Requirements: enough to lie down with your arms and legs extended.
DVD Notes: The DVD is chaptered into several segments and comes with a double-sided chart describing several of the poses, offering modifications, and listing the syllables used for the chakras.
Conclusion: I’ll keep this one. I have been getting bored with my Yoga for Inflexible People and Yoga (Complete) for Every Body menstruation sequences, and this is a good change of pace. I think I will stick with the Y4IP series for my first day or two (so good for cramps!), the Y4EB for the next day or two, and this one for the last day or two of my cycle. Additionally, I generally find myself reaching for relaxing and/or restorative yoga practices, and this practice could fit in at any time of the month because it doesn’t specifically mention menstruation. And I love the White Sands scenery, having visited it in person years ago--and in Ali MacGraw’s Yoga Mind & Body not too long ago.
This is by far the most spiritual yoga practice I have, so it’ll take some getting used to before I feel comfortable with it. If you practice yoga solely for the athletic benefits and/or do not feel comfortable chanting or contemplating the moon’s divine qualities, run far, far away from this one. That said, Gloria isn’t exactly worshipping the moon, so I don’t think the average person would feel blasphemous practicing with this program. In addition to speaking of the moon as a goddess, Gloria includes comments such as “Inhale and open your heart to all possibilities; exhale any doubt,” so be forewarned if that sort of talk bothers you (i.e. you can’t stand Rainbeau Mars’ language).
This practice is aimed primarily at women. The name implies that this is meant for “that time of the month,” but there is no direct reference to menstruation. Although Gloria invites men to join the practice, I think most men would feel uncomfortable with the goddess talk.
Gloria has a calm, pleasant voice. I don’t have much problem following along, even if she doesn’t cue much. (I would not recommend this to someone new to yoga for that reason.)
Here’s one that’s really high on the “woo-woo” factor, so if that’s a problem for you, you can cross this one off your list right away! This is about 45 minutes and basically there are 3 sections (although they’re not actually divided on the video): (1) general seated and standing postures such as warrior, forward bend, etc.; (2) a pose for each of the 7 chakras (seated and lying); and (3) relaxation and guided visualization. Gloria holds the poses for awhile, and they feel good. I especially liked the second part, with a pose for each chakra. This was new to me. While I find some of the comments a little corny (“draw the energy of the moon goddess into your center”), that kind of thing doesn’t bother me too much. Gloria almost crossed the line, though, when she started referring to the “altar” and telling you whether to face the altar or turn away from it. (Would that be my TV?) Overall, I do like it and can tolerate the woo-woo. Production quality is good, too. It is filmed outdoors in White Sands, New Mexico.01/06/2004