by Ravi Singh and Ana Brett White Lion Press, 2005 Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Oct 10th 2006
AM-PM Yoga is demonstrated
by Ana Brett, and narrated by both Brett and Ravi Singh. It demonstrates
Kundalini breathing techniques, the repetition of mantras, and yoga movement. The
DVD is divided into two parts, one for the morning and one for the evening.
Together, they last 1 hour 25 minutes, which makes for a significant work out.
The kind of movement used in this
Kundalini yoga is quite different from the hatha yoga found in most yoga DVDs.
For the first 19 minutes of the first workout, Brett sits cross-legged on a mat
doing breathing and spine exercises, moving her torso in circles or back and
forth. The exercises that follow are not much like the yoga flows found in
hatha yoga. There is not much moving around, and there are no downward dogs!
Nevertheless, this is surprisingly strenuous work. The rapid in-out breathing
of the "Breath of Fire" looks quite simple when it is demonstrated by
Brett, but when you try it yourself, you find it is difficult to avoid
hyperventilating and becoming light-headed. The spinal exercises are also hard
work, and require a good deal of coordination. With practice, you get better
at these exercises, and they do seem to increase flexibility and strength.
The quality of the production is
quite high, even though the format is extremely simple. Brett uses a white
circular mat on a white floor and a white background. She wears a white top
and white shorts, which are very short. Brett is strong, flexible and very
thin, and she demonstrates the exercises with confidence and poise. It looks
like 2 cameras were used, and occasionally one camera angle will fade into
another. Along with the voice over instructions, there is unobtrusive music
that mix new age and Indian styles. There are no DVD extras and apart from
being split up into different chapters, the DVD does not take advantage of the
sophisticated possibilities of DVD technology.
This Kundalini yoga DVD is
certainly not for everyone. I suspect that the mantras will be especially
foreign to many people -- I know I felt pretty self-conscious trying them. I
can't say I found them helpful, but it was at least a novel experience trying
them. For those who want an accessible introduction to Kundalini, this would
be a fine place to start. Maybe the most appealing aspect of this DVD is that
it provides a practice to do when you get home after a stressful day and you
need to relax.
Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities
Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Reviews. His main
research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.