AM EnergyShiva Rea
Year Released: 2011
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This is a fully customizable 98 minute dvd that is broken down into six separate workouts ranging from 5-23 minutes each. Shiva performs this yoga practice alone in an open room that is draped in gold curtains- very cool! A.M. Energy is an Acacia Fitness release. You wont need any equipment for this workout. This dvd is done in voice over.
This is a very mind-body yoga workout that incorporates some breath work into your practice. There are a lot of rhythmic movements to generate energy & wake you up. The segments are: Meditation Core Awakening (5 min), Shavasana (6 min), Body Mandala 108 (23 min), Shakti Flow (20 min), Vira Flow (23 min), and includes a bonus Heart Salutation from Shiva’s Radiant Heart DVD (20 min).
Exercises Include: free form dance, pliet pulses w/ big arm movements, single leg lunge, vinyasa, stretching, up and down dog, warrior, 3 legged dog, butterfly crunches, bride lifts, lunge pumps, reverse pushups, hip circles, breath work, standing spinal curve, chair pose, yoga pushups, side plank variations, corpse pose, chataranga, etc.
I rate this a high intermediate yoga routine. This is a very versatile yoga dvd that is great to use as an add on to other workouts or you can combine segments for a longer yoga routine. Shiva is a great lead- obviously very knowledgeable and provides great cuing & form pointers. She uses the sanskrit term for most postures. I received this dvd to review.
These are the selections on the yoga Matrix menu:
Meditation Core Awakening (5:16):
Shiva starts with some gentle standing spine work, sweeping the arms overhead, coming into uddiyana bandha, rounding the spine and then rolling up. She has several more rounds of uddiyana bandha, moves into agni sara, and then nauli kriya while circling the hips. She closes with sweeping the arms overhead, and then dropping arms and upper body to sweep the arms by the side, repeating several times – and then a few brief moments of meditation with eyes closed.
I really liked this segment, although it may take me a while to master nauli kriya. If you are new to uddiyana bandha, agni sara, or nauli kriya, you may wish to do some additional reading about these poses on the web.
Body Mandala 108 (23:18):
This is a very nice whole body segment, including over 108 rounds or repetitions. I really liked the pace of the flow – steady but not rushed at all. Each pose has several reps or pulses to it. Arm movements and counter poses are combined throughout. Poses include:
o Kalari squat (similar to chair pose, legs hip distance apart) (counter: standing forward bend)
o Pushups (set of 12) (counter: Anahatasana)
o Forearm side plank sweeping arm overhead and then back to side (var 1: top leg bent forward, foot resting on ground in front for support. Var 2: lifting top leg while sweeping the arm) (counter: cobra)
o Ab work with leg variations
o Bridge pose
o Table pose (counter: garudasana shoulder stretch and downward dog)
o High lunge, bending and straightening the back leg while sweeping the arms and then stretching back (counter: low cobra or upward dog to downward dog – child pose and kneeling half bow after second side)
o Repeats first part of flow with pushups (option of alternating leg lifts), side forearm planks (option of drawing one knee up and elbow down to the waist), abs, bridge pose (option of extending and lowering one leg), and table pose.
o The flow ends with raising arms overhead and dropping to sweep them by the side, standing forward bend, and a squat.
Shakti Flow (20:40):
This flow was perfect for me to do on a Friday, to raise the spirits after a week of work. It is the most fluid of the flows, starting with free form movement similar to her Trance Dance, but maybe a little more restrained. This portion lasts about 4 minutes, shaking, rolling the spine, opening the hips, and twisting and is followed by Ha Kriya. She moves into several fluid Uttanasana and high lunge variations, and then a flowing Virabhadrasana II vinyasa. The next section flows back and forth between childs pose and cobra, followed by dhanurasana (bow pose) and parsva dhanurasana (side bow), and then plank pose alternating drawing one knee to the waist. The next section alternates between high lunge and down dog, but offers a very energetic option where she says to “leap like hanuman” (I stayed with the lunge/down dog). I think the next pose she calls hanuman vira mudra from her kalari practice which is a squat variation, before slowing down into seated wide legged forward bend variations. The flow closes with a brief seated meditation that includes alternate nostril breathing.
Vira Flow (23:23):
This flow has a variety of balance poses mixed throughout, several side plank variations, and many other poses mixed in.
o Balance poses include: garudasana (eagle), Ardha Chandrasana (half moon, option for Ardha Chandrasana Chapasana/half moon sugar cane), variations of standing hand to big toe pose (I used a strap), and ends with Svarga Dvidasana (bird of paradise).
o Side plank (Vasisthasana) variations start basic and progress to more challenging versions, based on your ability, ending with full vasisthasana with the top leg raised overhead while grasping the toe, and Visvamitrasana. Don’t worry if you can’t do the advanced versions, because she offers basic variations.
o There is also a nice bow pose (dhanurasana) sequence with bow, half bow, side half bow.
This flow is a little faster than the Body Mandala sequence, and my first time through I did loose my place a couple times but think it will be fine now that I’m more familiar with it.
Bonus: Heart Salutation from her Radiant Heart DVD (20:38)
The above sequences are on the Matrix menu, where you can pick individual flows to use by themselves or select several flows to combine together. There is also a Bonus Features selection from the Main Menu that includes a Sun Salutation flow from Exhale Core Fusion: Energy Flow and also Shiva’s Twisting Kriya from her Trance Dance DVD.
I am a big fan of Shiva – she is responsible for turning me on to yoga. I really like the 20 minute segments as they are so easy to combine with other exercise, or use by themselves for a short routine. I have all of her Acacia DVDs and the segments on AM Energy seem unique and fresh from her other work. I see myself using this DVD over and over.