Kundalini Yoga The AwakeningDonna Amrita Davidge
Year Released: 2004
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The Awakening is a nice, challenging kundalini session. Challenging but not as tough as, say, Mantra Girl Advanced, Gurmukh or Ravi Singh and Ana Brett's Warrior Workout.
Although the instruction is good, I would not recommend this for anyone with no experience with traditional yoga poses or kundalini yoga. There is a breath primer at the beginning of the video.
The session begins with a few rounds of traditional, quick moving sun salutations. Then Donna goes into the "set" as she calls it, which includes stomach grinding, spine flexing, and twisting. Donna works sequentially up the spine. She does flexing for the lower spine, then changes positions and continues flexing more for the mid and upper back. She then does a few exercises for the shoulders - lifting them up and down (first separately and then together), then twisting from side to side with the hands on the shoulders and then lifting the elbows up and down with the hands on the shoulders. She then moves to the throat/neck area and has you turn your head from side to side. She didn't do head rolls, which are one of my faves, so I did them on my own at a spot I thought was appropriate.
She does plenty of breath of fire (in stretch pose, tuck pose and a couple of other poses). There are nice stretching type poses, like sitting in wide angle and alternating between lowering your head to your left leg and then your right and then in the center. Frog pose is also done. Toward the end Donna does a nice pose where you're on your knees kind of in baby/child's pose and then you roll up to the crown of your head, interlace your fingers behind your back and lift your arms up. The advanced version is kind of a tripod headstand with your knees resting on the backs of your upper arms.
There are no meditations or kriyas in between the exercises at all. One thing I particularly enjoyed was after shavasana, she "brings you back" nicely. You hug your knees to the chest, rub your palms and soles of the feet together, rotate the ankles and wrists, do two quick lying twists (which I thought was a great touch and she said it was to realign your spine) and then has you roll up and down a few times. She ends with 3 min. of left nostril breathing which is to calm and relax you.
The music is pretty blah and Donna is pretty mellow, but then I'm spoiled by R&A's and Mantra Girl's awesome music!
The majority of the session is done in pretty, soothing outdoor settings.
It seems Donna does exercises longer than I've noticed other instructors do on videos, with the exception of frog pose. Donna was mercifully brief with that one!
Another aspect I liked was that there is no audible breathing sounds like there are on other kundalini videos. I find that I can generally keep up with the pace of most instructors, but at the times I want to go out a different pace I am sometimes distracted by the audible breathing on the DVD. What's nice about not having the breathing sounds is that with your eyes closed, you can proceed at whatever pace you want. In The Awakening, Donna does most things at a pretty brisk pace, but she says repeatedly to go at whatever pace you find comfortable. So, you can close your eyes and go however fast or slow you wish, and if you really want to know what Donna is doing, you can open your eyes and take a peek!
All in all a good solid session. Vigorous but not too taxing. I felt wonderful afterwards. If you're into kundalini, this one is worth a try. If you're new to kundalini and want to give it a try, I'd suggest maybe starting with a Ravi & Ana video (such as AM/PM or Beginners & Beyond) as they seem to be a little more accessible for the beginner.
Donna is very mellow and talks throughout the session, but she gives good instruction and information. She explains the exercises and their benefits well.
I have owned this DVD for about 3 months and I have to say it is one of the best kundalini yoga DVD's that I own and I must have almost everything by Ravi & Ana. This DVD most resembles an actual kundalini yoga class. It begins with 3 ong namo gurudev namo chants and ends with the "long time sun" song.
The DVD uses the "awaken to your 10 bodies" kriya. It consists of of 12-14 poses that she goes thru without breaks in between like Ravi Singh does. This set is so great for your upper back and shoulders. First thing in the morning and after work my shoulders are killing me and this relieves the tension. In the beginning of the class she does sun saluations to warm up the body. At the end of the class there is a 3 minute breathing meditation. Get this DVD! It is always good to have a variety of kundalini yoga teachers in your library. You can get the DVD at yogatech.com. She also has a old video called "the challenge" which is pretty good. Google her name to find her website to get the video. Donna is also coming out with a new DVD which she said is a fun and challenging spinal flexibility set. I can hardly wait!
Donna has a wonderful voice and giving spirit. I would love to take a live class from her.