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At the moment my outgoings each month are more than enough without adding gym membership to the list! So I've been trying to find ways to exercise that don't require lots of money or getting two buses just to go for a swim. It's too cold and dark to exercise outside at the moment, so that just left fitness DVDs.
After browsing Amazon for a while, I came across this DVD, and it had great reviews. Granted, they weren't very helpful, being something along the lines of 'This DVD is great!', but after watching a short clip on youtube I thought I might as well try it out.
It is reasonably expensive at around £11-12 for an hour long DVD, but you get a bonus CD of the yoga soundtrack which Maya has sung and recorded herself. The music is quite soothing but I've not really listened to the CD in itself yet.
Maya is the woman who guides you through the workout - she has a soothing and relaxing voice (I think she has a Macedonian accent but don't quote me on it). So if you're sick of DVDs with chirpy American voices, this will make a nice change. She now lives in London and is a sought after yoga teacher, according to the box!
There is an introduction to Kundalini yoga on the DVD - it's worth watching the first time to understand a bit more about it.
This is followed by a warm up of stretching and relaxing. It starts off with a mantra, which I skip because I think it's unnecessary (for me personally). I find the sitting and breathing enough to relax me yet focus my mind.
After the 15-20 minute or so warm up comes the proper workout. This is not particularly hard and I do find it very relaxing. One of the biggest benefits to me is that most of it can be done cross legged in very little space - I rent a room and so space is not something I have a lot of.
The background and visuals are very simple. The set is completely white, and Maya wears loose, white clothes, both of which are not distracting and are instead calming. She is the only person featured in the workout which also helps to keep things simple.
I do find this very relaxing as a bedtime workout - it sends me to sleep straight away and I still feel relaxed the next morning, which is a great way to start the day calm for work (my job is quite hectic!).
On to the disadvantages: firstly, like any other exercise DVD, you're going to get bored of this. The first few times it's okay, and there are some advantages to knowing the disc well e.g. you can skip parts you don't like/don't have time for/don't feel up to. However, some parts start to get a bit repetitive. If you mix it up with some other DVDs, you're likely to get more out of it.
Secondly, I find some bits quite hard to swallow. I understand that stretching your spine is good for a workout prep and your body generally, but saying that spinal fluid is responsible for keeping you young seems a little far-fetched. Also, I don't really believe that breathing is detoxifying. If there were reasonable explanations I would feel gratified, but some of them are just silly. Feel free to try and be different, but at least be realistic!
Thirdly, towards the end of the DVD, Maya lies down and there is nothing but soothing music and a cut to grasses and water for minutes on end. Yes this is relaxing, but the music is on the CD and I'd prefer a little more yoga to my yoga DVD - is that to much to ask? With a really long intro you're not going to watch more than once as well, the workout itself has been cut down substantially.
Judging it in addition to the Amazon reviews, it seems overhyped...on its own, it's a soothing and relaxing form of exercise which isn't too strenuous and doesn't require much flexibility.