Friday, 30 May 2008

Review: Kundalini Yoga for Empowering Women


I've been thinking about buying this workout for a few years, and finally took the plunge when the price came down from £17.99 to £9.99. The DVD arrived yesterday, and I spent some time previewing it. I have to admit, I instantly started thinking about offering it for trade. The set is dark, the participants all look rumpled and exhausted. Nobody looks like they're having fun; so solemn. Carolyn Cowan, the teacher, is stony-faced and imposing in her white robes, complete with headdress and veil. Nobody seems to smile in this DVD. Nobody offers pithy rhyming aphorisms. The music isn't funky or hip. The teacher keeps talking about childbirth and breastfeeding. (I get the feeling she's into the earth mother thing.) It's all very serious. To be honest, my heart really sank when I watched it.

Then today after work, I did the kriya. Since most of the practice is done with the eyes closed, it didn't matter that the set is dark, the participants less than perfect or that Carolyn Cowan rarely smiles. Her voice is quiet and calm. The music, while not on par with Ravi & Ana, Mantra Girl, or Maya Fiennes in the fun factor, seems in keeping with the practice. Here's the kriya:

Standing forward bends, 2 minutes
Sufi grinds, 90 seconds each way
Seated forward bend, held for 2 minutes, last minute breath of fire
Rock pose with hands behind head in venus lock, breath of fire, 2 minutes
Easy reverse boat pose, normal breathing, 2 minutes
Stretch pose, BOF, 2 minutes
Bicycle legs in time with breath, 2 minutes (absolutely killer!)
Double leg raises, long deep breathing, 2 minutes
Cobra pose with feet pointed at back of head, 2 minutes
Extended locust pose, BOF, 2 minutes (couldn't do this, had to keep putting arms down, left and right)
Full reverse boat pose, 2 minutes with BOF
Spinal rolls, 2 minutes
Side to side bends, 2 minutes
Swinging arms out left and right, 2 minutes
Standing forward bends again, 2 minutes
Repeat 2 minutes of bicycle legs (this nearly killed me, couldn't keep up!)
Alternating single leg lifts, 2 minutes
Sat kriya, 2 minutes
Boat pose, 2 minutes with BOF (this one was virtually impossible for me, a real struggle to even approximate the pose)

Between most of these sets, you are allowed a brief rest in baby pose or corpse pose.

After the kriya, you lie in corpse pose for 11 full minutes while listening to a version of 'Guru guru wahey guru, guru ram das guru'.

There are 3 meditations on the DVD and I chose 'Aad guray nameh.' It goes for 11 full minutes, with accompanying arm movements. I loved doing this.

When I finished this kriya, I felt radiant! I really, really enjoyed doing it, even though I had trouble holding some of those moves for the full two minutes. I think that I am going to be sore tomorrow for sure.

Word of warning: Because everything is done for the exact amount of time as taught by Yogi Bhajan, it is a LONG practice. It took me about 2 hours, and there are no express options. Still, it would be great for those long, lovely days when there's no one home but you. This practice followed by a long hot soak in a fragrant bubble bath---ahhhh!

Recommended. :)

May all beings be at ease.

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