by Ana Brett & Ravi Singh White Lion Press, 2006 Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Jun 12th 2007
Dance of the Chakras is an hour long workout of Kundalini style yoga. It consists of
Yoga set parts 1 & 2
Hippy hippy shake
Funky temple dance
Dance of power
Chakra mudra chant
It is possible to follow the whole hour or to follow one of the four shorter sets
Shake Your Chakras (30 min)
Chakra Light (30 min)
Sweat and Glow (45 min)
Angel Tango (20 min)
The yoga part is similar to the yoga on some of the other Ravi-Ana DVDs such as AM/PM Yoga, with most of the exercises being done from sitting down, lying down, or on hands and knees. There are no Sun Salutation or Standing Poses here. There are also a few meditations includes within the practice. Yet the workout is quite vigorous, especially when it uses the breath of fire, which is explained at greater length on the other DVDs.
The distinctive aspect to this DVD is of course the dancing, which is done from a standing position, and works especially on the arms, spine and hips, and allows for much more spontaneity. The closing chant is also unusual: from a cross-legged position, you chant "ap sahaee hoa, suchay da sucha doa, har har har" and move your arms into a different position after each iteration.
Ana Brett demonstrates the workout, on her usual pink woolly bathmat surrounded by large green, purple and yellow circles on a white studio floor, which is a little psychedelic. She wears her tight revealing top and tight short shorts and she looks like she is really enjoying the workout and dance. Both Ana and Ravi give instructions in voice over. The background music is eastern and energetic in its style, and we also get loud breathing sounds to help you know how to breathe appropriately. The quality of production is quite high -- the sound is good and the editing is smooth. The Pre-Set Workouts are useful when you do not have a full hour available, and the only problem with them is that the transitions between different segments are a bit choppy.
There's very little explanation of the meaning of chakras or the theories behind them; the DVD is very concretely based on what to do and how to do it. Ravi or Ana make occasional reference to the different chakras but they don't make any difference to what you need to do. Some of the ideas, especially in the meditation mantras, are clearly more religious than psychological or medical. However, you don't need to accept any of the ideas or theories to follow along with the practice.
Few of us do any chanting or even dancing, and most yoga DVDs don't include these elements. Some people may find this strange and uncomfortable, and many may prefer to do it in private without anyone else seeing or hearing, at least until it becomes more comfortable. You may feel silly chanting or dancing, doing the hippy hippy shake or the funky temple dance, for example. I did at first, but I have to say that after a few tries, I found it fun, and even left me giggling at myself at times. Sometimes it can be energizing and enjoyable to try something new, and following this DVD could make you more playful and creative. The workouts are invigorating and can get to muscles that other yoga DVDs do not reach. Once I had used the DVD several times, I discovered that some days, Dance the Chakras was just what I needed to make me smile.
Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Philosophy 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.