A Journey through the ChakrasAna Brett, Ravi Singh
Year Released: 2005
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I'd been curious about this DVD for a long time--I think that the concept of the chakras is interesting, plus I own and enjoy Ravi & Ana's DVD Dance the Chakras. Lucky me, I recently found a brand new (non-matrix) copy of A Journey through the Chakras a used book sale. :)
This DVD offers two Kundalini yoga sets, one for the lower chakras and one for the upper chakras. In their brief introduction, Ravi and Ana state that you can do either the entire practice at once or break it up into sections. The set is the plain white studio that was featured in all of Ana & Ravi's DVDs of this era; as always, Ana portrays the exercises, but Ravi does the voiceover cuing exclusively.
The Main Menu of the DVD reads as follows (I've added times and brief descriptions in parentheses):
Play DVD (it its entirety, 92 minutes total)
Breath Primer (4.5m; instruction on long deep breathing and breath of fire, or BOF)
Breath Exercise for Chakra Balance (3.5m; 8-part inhale, focusing on each of the chakras in turn, and 1-part exhale)
Warm-Ups (4m; spinal flexon in 3 different positions)
In the upper-right hand corner of the Main Menu, there is a little tiny menu that says "Set Menus." If you click on it, it will take you to another screen which breaks down the two sets into chapters. I have listed the Set Menus below as well as have provided information on the individual exercises. (Note: When you are on the Main Menu, if you do nothing, the DVD starts playing automatically.)
SET ONE (37.5 minutes total)
*Chakra One-Grounding (9m)--bow & arrow pose and Kundalini tree pose, each held for a good bit of time
*Chakra 2-Expression (5.5m)--crow pose (or alternate frog) w/BOF, butterfly w/forward bend, Kundalini lotus (wide-legged seated balance)
*Lower Chakra Mini Set (9.5m)--frog, camel w/BOF, child's pose, sat kriya (about 3 minutes), brief relaxation
*Chakra 3-Personal Power (9.5)--performed lying on back: criss-cross legs w/BOF, alternate leg lifts w/BOF, repeat criss-cross legs, double leg lifts w/BOF, repeat criss-cross legs
*Meditation #1 (4m)--meditation is "wahay guru sat nam-hari hari ram ram;" first half is repeated while squeezing the rectum, sex organs, navel, and diaphragm, and then the second half while releasing those same areas in sequence
SET TWO (42.5 minutes total; this entire set is performed seated)
*Chakra 4-Love (9m)--seesaw arms, exercise w/one armed raised; finish w/4-minute meditation for navel/heart center: while performing sequence of hand movements, repeat "so hung-har har har har-so hung"
*Chakra 5-Creativity (11m)--move head side-to-side w/arms pumping in & out; seated on heels, do BOF first with head stretched up, then with chin to chest; finish w/4-minute meditation for throat center: repeat sat nam 6x while moving up the chakras, finishing with a wahay guru above the head
*Chakra 6-8-Intuition, Energy, Radiance, Transcendence (9m)--3 moves to focus on final 3 chakras: hands in Venus lock overhead for third eye, hands interlaced overhead, and hands interlaced overhead with index fingers up, adding BOF to last and moving arms out to side
*Deep Relaxation (2.5m)
*Meditation #2 (4m)--repeat the first meditation from the end of Set 1, but add a focus on the upper chakras as well
*Meditation #3 (<4m)--"7 wave sat nam," which involves inhaling to sat for each of the 6 chakras and then exhaling to nam
*Affirmations (2m)--positive closing statements offered by Ravi
*Closing Prayer (1m)--positive wishes to self, other, and world, and a final sat nam
I enjoyed this practice. I especially liked how some of the meditations (e.g., the heart and throat meditations) were worked into the sets instead of all of the meditation work being saved for the end of the practice (as with some of Ravi & Ana's other DVDs). I didn't feel that any of the exercises dragged on endlessly, although the work on the navel center (Chakra 3) was definitely quite challenging. Although I didn't particularly enjoy the throat meditation (it moved VERY quickly, and it was hard for me to keep track of the chakras during the exercise), I loved the meditation for the navel/heart centers, and I thought that the 7 wave sat nam was quite nice also.
Overall, this is a nice addition to my small collection of Kundalini yoga DVDs. I think it would be doable to someone new to Kundalini yoga provided that 1) they have SOME prior yoga experience, and 2) they take Ravi's suggestion to break down the practice into shorter chunks.
As mentioned above, Ana displays the exercises only here; she does not provide cuing. However, as always, she does an excellent job. Ravi does not sound quite like himself here--perhaps he had a cold while they were filming?--but otherwise, he provides voiceover cuing in his usual manner.
This workout was reviewed by Kath and she did an excellent job. Since there was only one review of this workout I was asked by Beth to give a second review.
I've had this workout for ages and have done it too many times to count. I always prefer to do the workout in its entirety. However you are able to split the workout.
Background: Plain white set.
Music: Regular Raviana music.
Breath Exercise For Chakra Balance
The workout flows as follows:
In the "Breath Exercise For Chakra Balance" section you inhale for 8 focusing on each energy center all the way up to the crown of the head. Then exhale down. Reapeated a few times.
Then Warm Ups for the Spine. Spinal flexion while inhaling forward exhaling back.
Earth First Chakra:
Warrior position with arms in position as if holding an arrow ready to shoot. Done while doing long deep breathing. First facing right side than left. Then Tree Pose with long deep breathing.
Working First and Second Centers: at the same time Crow Pose with Breath Of Fire(BOF). Butterfly Pose with long deep breathing followed by Kundalini Lotus Pose with BOF.
Next three Exercises relating to Rectum, Sex Organs and Navel. Frog Pose inhale up exhale down, Camel Pose with BOF, Childs Pose, Sat Kriya then relaxing lying down.
Criss cross legs with BOF, alternate leg raises with BOF, Criss cross legs with BOF, double leg lifts with BOF, criss cross legs with BOF.
Ending with a meditation:
Wahay Guru Sat Nam
Hari Hari Ram Ram
Set Two Heart Center:
See saw arms with hands together inhaling left exhale right, left arm up 60 degrees right arm down long deep breathing.
Arms at right angles inhale head left elbows straight exhale bend elbows head right, extend arms palms up lean back 30 degrees do BOF, head forward facing down hands interlaced behind raised do BOF.
Sat Nam 6X
Interlace hands lift over head long deep breathing two more variations of this with the last one including BOF. Then relax lying on back.
Wahay Guru Sat Nam
Hari Hari Ram Ram
7 Wave Sat Nam's
Ravi and Ana's workouts are very different. I like their workouts and own many of them. I feel that this workout for me feels better when done in its entirety. I would feel incomplete if I just did half of this workout. It is hard to explain. And maybe its because I would feel that my chakras were not balanced because I didn't do the whole workout.
This is an excellent workout to clear your pathways both mind and body and for that reason alone it is a keeper for me.
Ravi instructs voiceover and has a calm voice. Ana performs the exercises. Ana has a friendly demeanor.
This approximately 100 min. DVD begins with a very brief description of the practice, with the premise that by energizing the chakras you are to be able to do anything. The breath instructional segment takes you through long, deep breathing and breath of fire (worth doing unless you're a pro at both.) You then set an intention with the usual Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo chant, followed by a short silent meditation on Sat Nam. Next come spinal flexion exercises, done at a fast pace with the breath. The first full set for the chakras, which lasts about 40 min., focuses exclusively on the first three (located at the rectum, sex organ, and navel). You proceed through a series of exercises including kundalini versions of crow and tree, more recognizable hatha yoga poses like camel, and kundalini poses I haven't seen on my other Ravi and Ana DVDs, like an archer-like posture and the Sat Kriya. After a brief savasana, you remain on your back for a series of abdominal exercises which primarily involve criss-crossing your legs and leg lifts. This first set ends with a chanted meditation focusing on the lower chakras. The second chakra set is shorter, about 20 min., and takes you through the rest of the chakras (located at the heart, throat, third eye, crown of the head, and above the head). Unlike the previous set, this one is done entirely seated. Few of the moves here are recognizable for someone who usually does ďusualĒ hatha yoga practices. There are several chanted meditations included during this set, and there are two meditations after the brief final savasana. They pretty much all deal with balancing the chakras in some form. As with all Ravi and Ana videos, this ends with prayers and a final Sat Nam.
Kundalini yoga, at least as Ravi and Ana teach it (I don't have an experience with other kundalini instructors or practices), is not about flowing through a series of postures or working on holding asanas from the usual canon of hatha yoga. Instead, you either repeat a short sequence (e.g. squatting in frog and raising up into standing forward bend), usually at a quick pace, or you hold a pose while performing a certain type of breathing (usually long deep breathing or breath of fire). Once you have finished performing an asana, you usually take a quick break (30 sec. to 1 min.) for some silent meditation on Sat Nam. Perhaps because of this, the ending savasana is on the short side.
You don't need a lot of space for this: just enough to lie down with your arms and legs extended. The only equipment you might need other than something to sit on (you don't really need a sticky mat--any soft surface will do) is a blanket or pillow if your back tends to collapse when you're sitting or if your knees would like extra padding in some kneeling postures.
This uses the white set, but since you have your eyes closed or almost closed for a number of exercises, itís not such a detraction. The music is your typical Ravi and Ana.
Definitely go at your own pace. If you try to keep up with Ana, you may find yourself dizzy and could possibly even injure yourself. Despite the fast pace of some exercises, form and especially breath are very important, so make sure you donít sacrifice either. I find that my legs tend to fall asleep during some of the long seated sequences, too; itís imperative to sit with good posture. There isnít a ton of instruction, so you have to be able to figure out the poses just by watching. I know very little about the chakras and wish there had been even more information about them included in the voiceover or in the accompanying booklet.
I would definitely not recommend this to a newbie to yoga because of the relative lack of form instruction as well as the inclusion of extensive breathwork, and I'm hesitant to recommend it to someone new to kundalini yoga because of the length, although an experienced yogi(ni) with existing strength and a good background in yoga breathwork might be fine. It's a solid 90+ minutes of kundalini yoga, and it's hard to break it up. Even if you do, the first set is 45 minutes or so alone, which can be overwhelming. I know as a relative newcomer to kundalini yoga I found it challenging to complete the whole thing, and I had to take a break during a couple of exercises, especially since my arms got tired. (I regularly practice different styles of hatha yoga, although I seem to be a perpetual beginner / intermediate to low intermediate because of some strength and flexibility issues.) I was thankful I had done some of Ravi and Ana's other videos because a number of exercises were repeated here.
I liked this better the second time around, but I prefer the other videos from this series (For Beginners & Beyond and AM / PM Yoga) since they seem easier to break into shorter chunks. Also, I finish those feeling energized and/or relaxed rather than kind of off. (Thereís something about intense work on all of the chakras that leaves me feeling unsettled afterwards. Maybe itís a sign I need to do more of this type of stuff, or maybe my body is saying, ďHey, this isnít really for you right now.Ē)
JTTC's definitely different than your average yoga video and different from Ravi and Anaís other material. If you're looking for a practice focusing on the chakras, it's probably one of the more accessible ones out there (both in terms of being readily available and not being too esoteric). It presents an interesting contrast to something like Gloria Drayerís Full Moon Yoga, which has you hold one asana and chant one syllable per chakra.
Ravi instructs via voiceover while Ana performs the moves. She does introduce the video and instruct the breathing segment, and you can hear her during the chants. Ravi comes off as knowledgeable, sincere, and eager to help you transform your life, but I can see how someone could find him too flowery or almost condescending. (Sometimes Iím in the mood for his Ravisms, sometimes a few are too punny or over the top for me.) There is a good deal of "New Agey" talk, but most of that is focused on the chakras. (Unlike in some of Ravi and Anaís other videos, there are not a lot of claims about the physical benefits, e.g. toning a certain area, preventing wrinkles.)