TriYoga: Gentle CardioKali Ray
Year Released: 2004
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Despite the title, this is not a cardio practice, and while it moves at a considerably faster pace than TriYoga: Free the Hips, it is nowhere near being a power yoga practice on a par with, say, Eoin Finn. I can't imagine getting a lot of cardiovascular benefit from this practice, no matter how out of condition someone might be. It is also very repetitive – the first 15 minutes are spent learning the moves of the flow at a very slow pace, and the next 30 are spent performing the flow, one slow breath per movement. The whole practice - conscious breathing, warmup, flow and relaxation - is about 58 minutes long. Apart from the modifications which are shown in the warmup segment, there are no real variations here, just the same sun-salutation-like flow, over and over. This is followed by a relaxation segment that consists of a lying side twist held for an extended period of time, and Tranquility, or corpse pose.
Some people, if not most people, will likely find this practice boring. It is intensely repetitive, and even at its fastest pace, it's slow. For someone who enjoys fast-flowing vinyasa or a lot of variety in their practice, the pace and repetition could be maddening. The music is a monotonous drone which is, fortunately, easily ignored. Narration is done by voice-over and for the most part is well done, although during the warmup segment, the cuing doesn't always match the movement on the screen. Still, the practice is so repetitive that it's not difficult to figure out what you should be doing. The flowing portion of the practice is inexplicably set on a tennis court, which is just weird. The workout would have had a more relaxing feel if they'd filmed it on the lawn in the background.
That said, I actually enjoyed this practice. I did it first thing after waking, and the speed and repetition were perfect for easing me from sleep to wakefulness. The flow is easy to perform and easy to learn, so I didn't have to think about what my body was doing, and I could gradually ease myself into conscious awareness. I did find the transition from the flow to the relaxation a bit jarring – I got a little antsy during the side twist – but settled down again in corpse pose. I can't see doing it every day, or even every week, but I suspect I'll be reaching for it on those mornings when I really need to ease gradually into my conscious life.
Kali Ray has a very soothing, charismatic presence, and seems to be constantly smiling, which is either joyful or creepy depending on my mood when I'm doing the practice.