by Natalie Wells (Instructor) New Shoot Pictures, 2015 Review by Beth Cholette, Ph.D. on Feb 16th 2016
This DVD is the first 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. This initial offering is designed for the first weekday, Monday, a day that is supposed to be associated with the moon. In her introduction, Wells explains that this is a time to reflect and to connect with intuition, and so she has chosen kriyas to work on the pituitary gland.
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 (10:09 mins.)
Warm-up exercises include front/back rocks, cat/cow, bent leg raises in an all-fours position, frog, and double leg seated forward bend.
KRIYA (29:44 mins.)
Wells begins with a reclined pigeon variation, adding BOF. She moves into a standing forward bend series and flows which include all fours, down dog, cobra, baby (child's) pose, and triangle pose. She finishes with a version of seated on heels, arms up, moving to forehead on the ground (aka rabbit pose).
MEDITATION (Smiling Buddha Kriya; 12:18 mins.)
The idea for this kriya is holding the index and middle fingers in the air while you chant "sa-ta-na-ma" ("I am truth") repeatedly to yourself in your head. I liked the idea of this, but I found that the rhythm of the music played during this segment—which was totally off-beat with chanting sa-ta-na-ma—made this near-impossible, so I gave up.
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 for this series is the same: Wells concludes with a few final chants of "sat nam" to seal the practice.
Overall, I enjoyed this routine. With the exception of what is offered by the husband and wife team of Ravi Singh and Ana Brett, there is not much in the way of Kundalini yoga on video, and I found this to be a nice change of pace. The exercises were active and engaging, yet not so strenuous as to be beyond reach. My only real criticism, as noted above, was the distracting music used during the meditation section. Otherwise, I would recommend this DVD, even for those new to Kundalini yoga.