Kundalini Yoga for Beginners & Beyond

Ana Brett, Ravi Singh
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Yoga



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I've owned and enjoyed many DVDs from husband/wife team Ravi Singh and Ana Brett, but this is the first time I've tried KUNDALINI YOGA FOR BEGINNERS & BEYOND, one of their first releases. I had been somewhat hesitant to try this DVD because I was aware that included the 5 Tibetans, a series of five specific exercises that I had tried previously and that I had found did not work particularly well for me. However, there is quite a bit of additional footage on this video, so I thought it was worthwhile to give it a try.

I have the "matrix" version of this DVD, which allows you to pick and choose chapters to customize your own workout. The Main Menu of the DVD lists options for Play DVD - Chapter Index - Design Your Own Workout "Matrix" Option. The Chapter menu appears as follows:

Breath Primer, 4:28
Tune In, 2:39
Warm Ups, 6:11
Set One: Rise & Spine, 20:20
Set Two: The Five Tibetans, 17:32
Deep Relaxation, 8:36
Meditation, 5:18
Closing Prayer, 2:59

As with all Ravi/Ana DVDs, this routine features Ana alone, with Ravi and Ana sharing responsibility for voiceover instruction. Ana appears on a furry mat in a white, featureless studio. The Breath Primer also is a mainstay of their DVDs: it provides instruction on the various types of breathing used during the practice, including long deep breathing and breath of fire. Finally, Tune In is the standard opening to the routine which includes a chant of "ong namo guru dev namo" and the mantra "sat nam," which is used for meditation throughout the practice. I have provided details on the remaining chapters of the routine below.

WARM UPS
The warm-ups featured here include spinal grinds, spinal rock forward and back (rowboat), and double forward bend.

SET 1: RISE & SPINE
This section focuses on repetitive movements, or kriyas, combined with breath. The exercises include spinal flexion forward/back, ending with contraction (Ana later names this mula bandha); spinal flexion forward/back seated on heels, again ending with contraction; spinal twist (washing machine); spinal flexion in a leaning position for upper back; alternating elbows up and down with hands clasped (propeller); pull and contract clasped hands at throat and overhead (repeated several minutes); and conclude with sat nam kriya (2 minutes) and brief relaxation (2 minutes).

SET 2: THE FIVE TIBETANS
Ana states that this is a more intermediate set. Throughout the routine, she shows modifications and encourages going at one's own pace. The five dynamic movements are as follows: 1) staff pose to table, 2) double leg lifts, 3) down dog to up dog, 4) "baby" (child's pose) to camel, and 5) standing spinning (this is the ONLY movement during the entire practice that is not performed on the floor).

The deep relaxation felt much briefer to me than then >8 minutes specified on the Chapter menu. For the "Calm and Clear" meditation that follows, Ana cues a focus on the pulse between the thumb and finger, timing "sat nam" in the mind to this pulse. This was the only instruction for this mostly silent (other than the background music) meditation; I would have found a bit more coaching from Ana and Ravi helpful here. Finally, the routine concludes with the standard "Closing Prayer": wishing positive well-being towards yourself, healing power to someone you know who needs it, and peace on earth, ending with a final "sat nam."

Overall, I enjoyed this workout. I definitely preferred the warm-ups and the first set to the second (the five Tibetans), which was significantly more challenging and strenuous. However, I appreciate the matrix on this DVD, which gives me the option of only choosing the chapters I like from this routine. Given that Set #2 is more intermediate, I'm not sure that I would recommend this DVD to those completely new to Kundalini yoga, although Set #1 might be a good place to start.

Instructor Comments:
I think Ana and Ravi do a good job sharing the voiceover instruction here. I've seen some comments about Ana's outfit, but I thought it was fine--she is wearing a printed tank top and boy shorts/briefs (she has said that she leaves her arms/legs exposed to make it easier to view her movements).

Beth C (aka toaster)

10/16/2013

Ana and Ravi both give instruction in this one while only Ana demonstrates. I find both their voices very soothing and encouraging. Ravi gives most of the instruction while Ana comments on specific form pointers. Her demonstration is perfect and she seems to be really happy throughout the series, which is something you don’t always see for some reason in yoga tapes. If you don’t like “new age” or mind body connection you will not enjoy them.



About me:

This was the first Kundalini video that I tried. I regularly do all sorts of other videos; hatha, power, and restorative Yoga, weights, rebounding, kickboxing, running, working out at the gym etc. After finishing the program I ordered 3 more of their videos. I enjoy this form of yoga more than really anything and I try to do some of it every day because it makes me feel so good. I do want to add that the sum of this workout is greater than the parts; it seems to come together and make me feel entirely wonderful and energized.



Level:

People of any fitness level can do this video some parts will be hard at first but if you can’t continue the Kryia you can return to the meditation, at the same time, you can continue to use it for years to come because the practice isn’t so basic that you will move on from it. Also, this isn’t necessarily the “easiest” of Ana and Ravi’s DVDs so don’t be turned off by the title. I think Yoga Cleanse and the stretching one are both a little easier. I do think this one is a great starting point.



The Production:

The set is a completely empty white space with Ana sitting in the middle on a little pink rug that is surrounded by a light colored painting of flower petals. Ana is wearing very little light color clothing that some may find offensive. I wouldn’t have noticed if it hadn’t been pointed out but it does look like she is in her underwear. Ravi cues off screen. The main menu lets you select which chapter you want to do and the chaptering is done well. The music is very nice world music, Indian influenced and adds to the work i.e. it always slows down during meditation and picks up during movement. The sound quality is good and the editing fine.



The Breakdown: Between each move you will mediate “sat nam” several minutes to “consolidate your gains” Ravi usually tells you at the end of each segment that you can finish there or go on to the final meditation



1. (00:03) Breath Primer- You learn three part breathing and breath of fire. The instruction on this is very precise and you will probably figure out how to do it the first time through. Afterwards you can skip this segment if you want which makes the whole program finish in an hour.

2. (05:20) Tuning in- Here you do some chanting and warm-up for the workout you also learn a couple mantras including Sat Nam, which you do throughout the practice.

3. (15:28) Warm-ups- Imagine sitting and forming a circle with your navel while breathing fairly fast, moving almost as fast as you can You do each of this and similar moves for several minutes and then take breaks in between to meditate. Ravi talks throughout and directs your breathing and meditation “Your only as young as your spine is flexible” “let Sat Nam be all you know”.

4. (18:22) Spinal Series- You will do a lot of opening up of your spine, the moves are all either sitting on the ground cross-legged or sitting on your knees (Ravi says if you can’t sit that way you can do it on the edge of a couch). For the washing machine you place your hands on your shoulders with your elbows out. You turn left (while remaining sitting) and breath and turn right as you breathe out. Another has your hands stretched high and pointing toward the sky as you breathe air in through your body and exhale shooting energy up your spine and through your hands

5. (35:28) The 5 Tibetans- This is the most challenging segment, the Kundalini version of the 5 Tibetan rights. One Kryia has you moving from upward facing dog on the inhale to downward facing dog on the exhale- after a minute or two this becomes very challenging. Another has you going from Camel on the inhale to a forward bend with your forehead to the ground on the exhales. As in the rest of the segments you always relax and meditate between each Kryia “it is said that when you are always on the move nothing gets accomplished, pave the way for breakthroughs”

6. (54:06) Relaxation- Here you lie down and listen to a gong as you relax your body and mind. Ravi is pretty quite and gives just a little instruction like, “let yourself be healed in the very ways you need to be healed”

7. (56:56) Meditation- First you rock on your spine for a few and come into a meditative pose. Ana says this mediation will improve your creativity and Ravi explains how to feel the pulse in your fingertips.

8. (1:02:39) Closing Prayer- Here you pray for yourself, someone you know, and peace on earth. Followed by a long Sat and a brief Nam

Ana dances after this and you can too!

The whole thing runs just over an hour

Review:

This is the video in my collection that I find myself reaching for the most. It makes me feel great all over: body, mind, and spirit. After doing it for several months on a regular basis I still find some parts challenging. Some might find the sparse set… well sparse, but since you have your eyes closed the whole time it doesn’t really matter to me. I love Ravi’s instruction, he speaks a little poetically, “penetrate through the minds mazes to that certain self, who you are”. I love watching Ana too, they both make me smile! I rarely do the whole thing but I always want to.


Bottom Line- If you are looking to add yoga in your life and enjoy eastern views you should try this tape. If you have ever done YBB you have done a little Kundalini, they usually start their tapes with a Kundalini move or two. If you have tried other forms of yoga but just got stressed out trying to have perfect form you should try this tape. If you like dynamic stretching as opposed to static stretching you might like this better. If you like yoga purely for it’s physical effects and have no tolerance for the transcendental aspect or if you don’t like to stop and meditate you should look elsewhere.

A+

Instructor Comments:
Ana and Ravi both give instruction in this one while only Ana demonstrates. I find both their voices very soothing and encouraging. Ravi gives most of the instruction while Ana comments on specific form pointers. Her demonstration is perfect and she seems to be really happy throughout the series, which is something you don’t always see for some reason in yoga tapes. If you don’t like “new age” or mind body connection you will not enjoy them.

Stephanie

05/01/2006