by Nadia Narain New Shoot Pictures, 2016 Review by Beth T. Cholette, Ph.D. on Feb 27th 2017
Beginner's Mediation & Mindful Stretching is a new offering from Hong Kong-born, London-based yoga instructor Nadia Narain. The DVD provides a variety of short, meditative-based practices--some incorporating very simple yoga moments, others more focused on stillness--as a means to foster relaxation.
Narain teaches these practices alone via voiceover in a minimalist studio. The routines are listed on the Main Menu as follows: Play All – Introduction – Breathing (5 mins) – Stress Release (5 mins) – Energizing (10 mins) – Stretching (22 mins) – Thankfulness (15 mins) – Savasana (8 mins) – Audio Setup. I have provided some details below.
In this opening routine, Narain provides instruction for focusing on the breath. This leads into a basic meditation repeating the words "I'm releasing tension in my body" on inhale and "I'm releasing tension in my mind" on exhale.
This practice involves a simple breath focus.
This routine incorporates movement, beginning seated with neck rolls, torso rolls, cat cow, and a lateral stretch/twist. Narain concludes with about 5 minutes of seated meditation, incorporating the phrase "I am here, I am open, please show me the way."
Here Narain moves through gentle yoga stretches. She begins lying with the feet in a butterfly position; after relaxing here with the arms overhead, she moves the legs in a windshield wiper pattern, resting one ankle on the opposite knee. Additional poses include reclined hamstring stretch, reclined twist, seated head-to-knee, seated butterfly, and seated forward bend. Narain concludes this segment with resting the attention on the breath.
This segment again incorporates gentle movement, this time beginning standing for energy-gathering breaths and roll downs. Coming to the floor, Narain moves through child's pose, pelvic lifts, and a double knee reclined twist. The last six minutes of this routine are spent in seated meditation, with a focus on thanking various people in one's life and a simple repetition of the phrase "thank you, thank you."
Here Narain leads a guided savasana. After bringing the focus once again back to the breath, she moves the viewer through breath ratios, beginning with a 4-4 count (4 counts inhale, 4 counts exhale), then moving to a 4-6 ratio and finally a 4-8 pattern.
This gentle, relaxing DVD is ideal for anyone who would like to foster a greater sense of calm and to begin to incorporate mindfulness into daily life. Although I am a yoga instructor, I struggle with establishing a regular meditation practice; I enjoyed how Narain combined meditation with movement, making this practice more accessible to most.