The Power of RelaxationMonica Linford
Year Released: 2008
Categories: Tai Chi / Qigong , Yoga
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About the ChiBall Method: The Australian company ChiBall World has developed the ChiBall Method, an exercise philosophy which incorporates the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine with Tai Chi and Chi Gong, chi ball dance, yoga, Pilates, Feldenkrais, meditation and aroma and colour therapy.
ChiBall World sell their own 4oz, inflatable scented chi balls (like a small stability ball with a diameter of about 6”) with a different aroma for each workout, recommending a juniper-scented blue ball for The Power of Relaxation. I have found it worthwhile to invest in one of the ChiBall World balls, particularly for their DVDs such as this one, in which the ball is used for self-massage.
The Power of Relaxation incorporates both Chi Gong/Tai Chi and yoga practices. With a total running time of about 112 minutes, the DVD includes six routines, based on the five elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The DVD is well-chaptered from the main menu.
The routines are performed by three women on a simple white set, with different-coloured lighting used to correspond with each element, and narrated by Monica Linford, creator of the ChiBall Method. The slow, meditative pace of the workouts, combined with the specially composed New Age music and Monica’s soothing voice, produce a wonderfully calming effect. In fact, I have yet to make it through the entire DVD as I usually start falling asleep!
The first segment, “Water (Yang)”, is a brief “standing relaxation” practice. You can do this segment to remind yourself of the alignment principles to use in the Chi Gong/Tai Chi segment.
The second segment, “Wood”, is my favourite. It uses a Chi ball to practise movements based on traditional forms of Chi Gong and Tai Chi.
The third segment, “Fire”, starts with simple, yet intense, stretches for the shoulders, arms and upper back which usually make me yawn uncontrollably. The segment then moves into a very slow sequence of forward bends, chair pose, cat/cow, child’s pose and down-dog.
The fourth segment, “Earth”, incorporates seated and supine yoga. It includes spinal twists, forward seated bends, supine pelvic tilts, and bridge pose, then moves into a self-massage for the upper back.
The fifth segment, “Metal”, is a relaxation segment performed in savasana.
The last segment, “Water (Yin)”, is a “breathing meditation” performed cross-legged on the floor, or seated on a chair or bolster. The performers sit around a plate of lit candles, as Monica talks you through Chi Gong breathing and the lighting subtly darkens.
While it’s very high on the “woo-woo” scale, The Power of Relaxation is aptly-named. As I mentioned, it usually puts me to sleep. The relaxation and/or breathing meditation segment would make a lovely add-on to a yoga or gentle stretching session.
You can see a clip of The Power of Relaxation and order the DVDs, chi balls and music CDs from www.chiball.com.
Ratings out of five:
Production values *****
Workout design *****
Relaxation factor *****
Meets expectations *****
Monica has a soothing voice and cues well. The performers are very graceful and maintain serene expressions, contributing to the relaxing feel of the DVD.