Monday, August 4, 2008

Dance the Chakras Yoga Workout

THE WORKOUT: Dance the Chakras Yoga Workout ($12.99 at Amazon.)


WHO CAN DO THIS: A certain spirit and a fair level of fitness are required. You’ll also want flexibility, some familiarity with yoga and tolerance for affirmations. “Let you be you” and, “be a conduit for your soul’s expression.” Stuff like that.

THE BREAKDOWN: What a peculiar little DVD this is. A lot of it is watching a skinny hippy chick dancing in her underwear. If you like that sort of thing.

The skinny hippy is Ana Brett. She and Ravi Singh teach Kundalini Yoga. According to their website: A typical Kundalini Yoga class normally starts with a breathing exercise. Then we do some spinal warm-ups and stretching followed by a special set called a Kriya. A Kriya is a poetic progression of exercises which work in concert to create a synergistic, multi-dimensional, exponential effect. And who am I to argue? Ana and Ravi are the Disembodied Voices of Control in this workout. They speak, while hippy chick Ana yogas and dances worldlessly.

The DVD is pretty to look at, with Ana sitting on a purple shag bathmat and dancing in a stark white room.

I really like the first half of the workout, which is dynamic stretches interspersed with meditation. Poses are deep and long and often combined with rapid “Breath of Fire.” Each pose allegedly releases a chakra, which is great, I assume.

Strength moves including combining bridge and Breath of Fire, slow leg lifts and upper-body work in which discipline as well as strength are pushed. “What happens on your yoga mat becomes a metaphor for your life. In other words, keep going and keep growing” Disembodied Voice Ana admonishes while you kneel with your arms in the air, “holding a big silver platter up there with an offering to the infinite,” says Disembodied Voice Ravi.

A challenging shoulder stand with Breath of Fire transitions into full plow and even ordinarily gentle stretches like cat/cow are sped up and imbued with the Breath of Fire. Take care of your neck and back on these moves. Know your limits.

After two yoga series you move into a collection of short dances, the chakra dancing in the title. Here is where we really get into the mesmerizing dance of the hippy chick.

I enjoyed the Hippy, Hippy Shake and the Dance of Power but I didn’t like the spinning spinning Heart Dance. Some of the songs are for freeform dance—you get music and just dance with hippy chick. Of course, it looks different when you do it then when she does it.

Too bad about the disembodied voices, though. They’re annoying. They don’t shut up and sometimes you get two of them coming at you at once, with a little echo until you just want to press your hands to your ears and whimper.

The DVD concludes with a relaxation and chanting. The latter is ambitious—lots of words, a poppy little tune and arm movements. It's all very Hello Kitty.

THE SWEAT FACTOR: I worked during the yoga segment but didn’t get engaged enough in the dancing to really shvitz. It wouldn’t be impossible, though.

BUT IS IT FUN? S’aright. I get it and I like the idea but I’m not entirely convinced.

WHEN IT'S OVER: You might have question marks floating around your head.

GEAR AND APPAREL: This is a barefoot workout. A mat is nice and as much room as you need to flail.

FINAL WORD: I’m repelled but strangely attracted. Or vice versa.

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