Sunday, 14 October 2007

Kundalini? Isn't that some kind of pasta?

One of my best discoveries in 2007 was Ravi Singh & Ana Brett's kundalini yoga I just have to share!

First off, I'm not at all sure that I put much stock in a lot of the kundalini yoga philosophy. I still have a lot of learning to do about chakras and so forth before I decide. All this business of a force coiled at the base of my spine just waiting to be unleashed and so forth. That being said, I believe you can get a lot of benefit from Ravi & Ana's kundalini yoga without going whole hog into the belief system. After all, the Kalama Sutta tells us to test theories in the light of direct experience, and so far it's been my experience that R&A's kundalini yoga is a good thing!

(Why do I keep qualifying it by saying 'Ravi & Ana's kundalini yoga'? For one, because it's the only kundalini yoga I've actually tried. For another, I understand that Ravi has his own take on kundalini yoga practice, which differs somewhat from the mainstream, although he was a direct student of Yogi Bhajan, who started it all in America in the 1960s, so he surely knows what he's doing. Ravi & Ana's style of kundalini has been described as 'poetical'--maybe that's because Ravi has a tendency to say things in rhyme, and Ana looks like an absolute angel!)

I have collected 7 of Ravi & Ana's workouts so far this year. I incorporate them into my exercise rotation two or three times a week. Kundalini sets are wonderfully fun and energizing, incorporating focus on the spine, full body stretching in various classic postures, some interesting breath techniques and chanting. It is done with the eyes closed for the most part. You just have to try it to see it if it's right for you.

Here are some clips of Ana Brett from various workouts:

Kundalini Yoga Dance the Chakras

AM-PM Yoga

Kundalini Yoga for Beginners and Beyond

Kundalini Yoga Quick Fixes

Kundalini Yoga Breath of Fire Primer (featured in several DVDs)

You can see from the clips that the set is clean and white, with splashes of color applied to the floor and provided by Ana's mat and clothing. She usually wears two-piece workout clothes and is featured alone with Ravi doing the voice over. The music is upbeat with an Eastern flair.

If your curiosity is piqued, here are a few websites with a bit of basic information on kundalini yoga:

Yoga Yoga

Kundalini Yoga

Gurmukh Talks about Kundalini Yoga

If you're already into kundalini yoga, why not leave some of your thoughts about it in the comments section? I would love to hear from you! If you have any questions, post them. I will try to find out the answer for you.

(This entry counts as my Monday one, as I won't have time to do one tomorrow!)

May all beings be at ease.


Derek said...

I love the Kundalini Yoga thing! The DVDs are presented nicely and I adore the kookiness of it all. Ana is great to watch as well! :) I was dubious at first, but hey, having done several yoga sessions with you I can say it has made me feel better. I'm as stiff as a board and need to work on my overall fitness, and this is a good way to start.

Great new blog, luv! I love it! :)
*hugs* xx

Becky said...

I'm a kundalini yoga teacher. The concept of 'kundalini' is ancient and is part of yogic philosophy and yogic anatomy (not just something that Yogi Bhajan came up with). You might try thinking of it as a metaphor--we can probably all agree that the spine and the nervous system are quite central to our existence, so if energy flow gets blocked along the spinal pathway, it can cause physical and emotional problems, so the yogis say. The practice of kundalini yoga, with the various exercise sets and meditations, is designed to let this energy flow unimpeded. I found yogic anatomy to be among the most interesting things I learned in my teacher training class.

For me, kundalini yoga works on levels that hatha yoga doesn't. However, I do practice hatha yoga too, and find that kundalini and hatha yoga complement each other.

About Ravi and Ana: Ravi did study kundalini yoga for years with Yogi Bhajan, and for whatever reason he went on his own and has been teaching independently for many years. He is a terrific teacher, and Ana has excellent form. Form is not something that is emphasized enough in kundalini yoga, in my opinion, so seeing her demonstrate the postures with such impeccable form is great. It is clear that Ravi and Ana understand how to make kundalini yoga accessible, and they have a much better grasp of production values, use of music, and use of DVD technology than some other kundalini yoga teachers.

However, the universe of kundalini yoga sets and meditations do not begin and end with Ravi and Ana's DVDs, as they would be the first to tell you. I have STACKS of manuals of kundalini yoga sets and meditations--these aren't in any DVDs.

I would advise anyone who likes kundalini yoga to try to attend some live classes if at all possible. I think you will find that they can be quite a bit more challenging in many ways than DVDs, and you also get great class energy, and there might even be live music for chanting, or there might be a gong played during deep relaxation.

Morandia said...

so, which of the programs that you have might be a starting point for a fat old friend?