Saturday, 23 February 2008

Mantra Girl presents Introduction to Kundalini Yoga & Chanting

I got this DVD the other day, having waited a long time for it to go down in price. I finally managed to find it for £4.53 on Amazon Marketplace. I tried the DVD on Thursday. It was wonderful!

Mantra Girl, whose name is Erin Kamler, is a singer, voice coach, and yoga instructor. She leads this workout, with four or five other equally fresh-faced California girls seated behind her, wearing a beaded bra and baggy, split-up-the-leg 'genie' trousers. The group are seated on the grass on sheepskin mats (traditional in kundalini yoga) with Malibu beach in the background. Throughout the workout, Mantra Girl's music is heard, as is the sound of the ocean. It's very soothing.

The warm-up comprises stomach grinds, shoulder rotations, 'the washing machine' (twisting side to side with the hands on the shoulders--try it! It's one of my favourite kundalini exercises!). Then there is a good sciatic nerve stretch for the backs of the legs made up of single then double forward bends. Next comes stretch pose to activate the navel centre. Then slow to fast cat/cow. After that, you do yoga mudra to modified camel, over and over again. This really works the quadriceps and triceps, bends the back and opens the heart chakra. The set ends in camel pose with breath of fire, then rest in child pose. Actually, this entire sequence is referred to by Mantra Girl as the 'warm-up', so the warm-up lasts a VERY long time!

Next comes the 'auric set'. Mantra Girl says that the aura extends out from the body for 9 feet in all directions, and the exercises in this set help to cleanse and strengthen the aura. Well, I don't know how my aura was doing after this set, but my arms were like limp spaghetti. The first exercise has you go into down dog, lift one leg straight up, then lower the head toward the floor with the arms and push back up again. It's sort of like a down dog push up, and it is TOUGH. I'm sure my form was terrible, and I can guarantee my mind was not in a meditative state. (It's hard to meditate when you're swearing). But after a few repetitions, I was beginning to see how Mantra Girl could have arms like Sarah Connor in 'Terminator 2'. Just when you think you're going to collapse and concuss yourself, Mantra Girl tells you to switch legs and do it on the other side. This exercise works the arms, the standing leg's calf and quadricep, and the lifted leg's hamstring and buttock. The abs and back are also engaged to maintain balance. It seems to be an excellent full-body exercise. I was very grateful that there are relatively few repetitions!

After the push-up things, you sit in easy pose again and hold your arms out in front of you grasping the left hand with the right, forearms facing in, and lift them over your head and down again, in a big wiping motion. Up down, up down, up down, breathing in as you lift and out and as you bring the arms down. This goes on for at least three minutes, at a vigorous pace, and I felt like my shoulders were on fire by the end of it. But did the arms get a break after that? Oh, no! On to another shoulder set, this time you hold your arms out in front of you at shoulder level, then open them all the way back behind you as far as you can, then bring them back together in front of you again in a sort of swinging motion. Close the eyes and breath in as you swing the arms back, breath out and briefly open the eyes when the hands come back in front of you again. Same vigorous pace as the wiping set, done again for about three minutes. I couldn't keep my arms up at shoulder level, my shoulders were too tired. I had to do the set by swinging my palms down at about hip level, then bringing them back up again to chest level at the front. Poor DH couldn't keep up at all and just sat there with his chest caved in and head hanging down during most of that set. He gave up the ghost in the middle of the aura wiping set. LOL

After the arm swings, you hold the arms out to the sides again and bring the hands to the shoulders, out in, out in, again and again. By this time, your shoulders and arms are pretty much numb!

The DVD ends with two meditations. The first meditation lasts about 3 minutes and is the traditional kundalini yoga chant, 'Ek ong kar sat nam siri wahe guru.' You chant it

'ek ooooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggg kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar,
sat naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam, siri
wa heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey gu-ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.'

This chant means, 'There is one Creator who is the Truth within me. Indescribable wisdom, indescribable ecstacy.'

The next meditation involves the rhythmic chanting of the word 'Har' with accompanying hand motions. Cupped together in front of the chest as if to receive something, then moving up in a circle to meet again at the top of the circle with the palms facing down. 'Har' means 'creative Infinity'. When you say the word, the 'r' is sort of like a 'd' or a rolled 'r' that only rolls once. As you chant, it starts to sound like 'hara'.

I enjoyed this workout very much and came away from it feeling refreshed in myself and with noodly arms and every muscle feeling stretched.

I intend to order Mantra Girl's other workout soon, 'Advanced Kundalini for Spiritual Warriors.'

May all beings be at ease.


Derek said...

I liked Mantra Girl - she is very appealing and runs a great work out! I think the reason I didn't like it at first was the fact that it *completely* knackered me out! Arm and upper body work is still very difficult for me - I just hit a wall and run out of energy and therefore interest. Still, I'll keep working at it with you!

Morandia said...

"(It's hard to meditate when you're swearing)"

OMG I almost fell out of my chair laughing... not good at work! Glad to hear you like the dvd. I might have to check it out - in a few months when I think there might be a chance I won't fall over dead trying it.