by Maureen Goss Still Center Communications, 2005 Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Dec 4th 2005
Crane Style Yoga is the creation of
Maureen Goss. It combines both Eastern
and Western ideas and practices. 7
Challenges to Change Your Life is a 30-minute DVD in which Goss
demonstrates a number of exercises with the aim of helping people not only achieve
greater flexibility and health, but also increased concentration and
energy. In the first introductory
section, Goss explains her ideas in voice-over while numerous video
images illustrate them. She suggests
that her form of yoga can provide benefit faster than other more traditional
The main part of the program consists of Goss on a
beach by the sea. It is a pleasant
setting and makes for a more natural viewing experience than one gets with the
many yoga DVDs performed in studios.
She proceeds to demonstrate breathing, smiling, stretching and
strengthening, balancing, focusing, and stillness. The pace is quite slow, and there's not much repetition of
individual poses. The exercises should
not be very demanding for those who are already reasonably fit, although of
course some postures will be harder than others for most people. Personally, I found the table pose
surprisingly difficult: it requires sitting on the ground with legs bent and
arms behind the torso, with hands flat on the ground, and then lifting one's
whole body up so one is like a table top from knees to shoulders. But Goss only suggests doing this once per
session, and with practice it gets easier.
Goss does some twists to stretch the spine and some
exercises when lying face down on the ground, lifting arms and legs, as well as
some balancing on one foot. The abdomen
gets some strengthening and shoulders get loosened, but remarkably there's
not a great deal of stretching of the hamstrings and lower back. This is the first yoga DVD I have seen in
which one does not do the "downward dog" or "warrior" poses
at all, and there are no shoulder stands or sun salutations. So this is certainly an unusual approach. It may appeal to some people so want only a
moderate work out and are not trying to get a great deal of flexibility. The aim of the program is more to change
one's energy flow, Goss explains at the end of the DVD, where she demonstrates
how to shower oneself with "chi."
While I am not particularly invested in Eastern ideas of "chi"
moving around the body, I can report that doing the program did make me feel a
bit different, and maybe more energized.
It would be unrealistic to expect a dramatic life
change to follow from following a 30 minute DVD a few times, and people who
start to take it seriously and follow the program on a regular basis will
likely want to move onto a more demanding form of yoga after a while. However, 7 Challenges to Change Your Life
might be a good start for those curious about doing yoga and wanting a to get
into it slowly.
Christian Perring, Ph.D., is
Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island, and editor
of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on
philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.