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This DVD is the second in what will eventually be a five-set series by Kundalini yoga instructor Natalie Wells. Kundalini is different than the more commonly practiced styles of hatha yoga, as it involves repetitive movements, or kriyas. In her introduction, Wells states that Tuesday, the focus for this practice, is associated with Mars. To build courage and self-confidence, the exercises that make up this routine are designed to stimulate the third chakra, or the solar plexus.
Wells instructs via voiceover. She is featured alone in several different tranquil outdoor settings. The DVD is well-chaptered, with the Main Menu offers the following options: Play All -- Introduction -- Breath of Fire -- Tune In -- Warm Up -- Kriya -- Meditation -- Relaxation -- Tune Out -- Credits -- Music Options. I have briefly broken down each practice segment and provided times below.
BREATH OF FIRE (2:32 mins.)
This brief tutorial on the Breath of Fire (BOF), a common style of breathing in Kundalini, appears to be the same throughout the DVDs in this series.
TUNE IN (1:38 mins.)
Here Wells begins with the traditional Kundalini opening of chanting "ong namo guru dev namo." This section also appears to be the same footage throughout the series.
WARM UP (11:08 mins.)
Warm-up exercises begin focusing on the spine and include spinal circles, spinal twists, and an incline spinal crunch. Also, from a lying position, reverse plank, reclined alternating leg press, and lifting legs and head with BOF.
KRIYA (25:21 mins.)
Each exercise in this section went on for some length of time. The first was reclined alternating leg raises. This was followed by raising both legs, keeping the knees straight; I found that this placed a significant strain on my lower back, but no modifications were offered (I modified myself by keeping my legs higher, knees slightly bent). After resting with the knees in briefly, Wells moves the legs to 60-degrees, arms out to the side. Next, she keeps one knee into the chest while lifting the opposite leg up and down rapidly; she does this on both side, then repeats. For the final exercise in this segment, Wells comes to standing, reaching up to the sky, and then bending over into a forward bend, eventually speeding up this movement.
MEDITAION (Sitali Pranayama; 3:56 mins.)
Pranayama is breathwork; in this segment, Wells instructs a breath exercise known as sitali, or breathing over a curled tongue.
RELAXATION (5:33 mins.)
For the relaxation (same on each DVD), Wells leads a body scan in fostering a full-body release.
TUNE OUT (1:43 mins.)
Each tune out segment on for this series is the same: Wells concludes with a few final chants of "sat nam" to seal the practice.
I found that I enjoyed parts of this routine. I liked the warm-up exercises, and I found some of the work in the main kriya to be pleasantly stimulating. However, as noted above, I also thought some of the exercises placed an undue strain on my low back. I am an experienced exerciser who was able to modify, but I would be concerned if this routine were to be attempted by beginners, those with injuries, or other vulnerable populations. Therefore, I would recommend this DVD for experienced exercisers only--ideally, those with some prior Kundalini yoga exposure.
© 2016 Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students.
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