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Why Navel Power and what is Kundalini Yoga? Kundalini yoga is a complete system that works on every part of the body and body system. Different from other styles of yoga - Kundalini Yoga focuses on repeated movements that last a short duration of time. This DVD class works on the Navel centre and will not only blast the abs by strengthening and toning - ultimately it will balance the chakra which will empower you! This class is demonstrated by Ana Brett and narrated by Ravi Singh - two of the most inspirational instructors in Kundalini Yoga. This was appealing to me as I wanted to strengthen my core and improve my abdominal strength plus develop willpower - I had already been practicing Kundalini Yoga for approximately 2 years and prior to that Hatha Yoga for 2 years so I felt fine to attempt this more challenging intermediate class.
WHAT DO I GET FOR MY MONEY?
A high quality DVD presented in a sturdy plastic case - all that you need to know is detailed front and back and the pack includes a detailed brochure inside with a section about Kundalini Yoga, Advice, Basic terms, Yoga fundamentals and how to use the enclosed DVD.
Navel power part 2
PLEASE SIT CROSS LEGGED ON YOUR MAT AND CLASS WILL BEGIN
Ana begins the class cross legged and in prayer pose - the background is an image of the sky with thin cloud coverage - I like the non fussy background as it does not detract from the demonstration that Ana does beautifully. Ravi gives clear instruction which is concise and understandable. In the background is an uplifting - Indian themed - track which motivates and helps you to keep going as best you can.
Class begins with a Mantra - Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo - and this Tunes you in so that you are focused and ready for the class. Eyes are closed for the most part of the class and this helps to maintain the focus and deepen the experience.
As with all forms of exercise you need to warm up and Kundalini Yoga is no exception - I particularly enjoy the warm ups as they stretch and lengthen the spine and work on the sciatic nerve, this feels really good! You work on expanding the lung capacity and breathing properly - from the diaphragm. It feels so invigorating to really open up the rib cage and fill the whole lungs. The digestive system is massaged - this always benefits me following the class! Exercises in the warm up section include: sitting cross legged and rotating the spine slowly - one way and then the other, this is a lovely movement that is grounding as it works on the lower chakras. Sitting cross legged - hands on ankles moving the navel forward and backwards, this one is wonderful for developing and maintaining flexibility in the lower lumbar and feels like it frees up the hips too. Sitting on heels with hands on thighs move the navel forward and backward - this one really loosens up the lower spine and develops/maintains flexibility. Lying on stomach, leaning on forearms, raise up into a plank type pose and long deep breathing - this one is excellent for core strength and I really do focus intensely, you need to use the breath to last the duration in this one! I don't always manage the full time on this exercise as it is a challenge and that is fine as yoga is not competitive with yourself or anyone else, you just do what you can on any given day - enjoy! Sit on heels with hands on thighs and move navel forward and backward with breath of fire. Breath of fire is a rhythmic, short, breath that is done through the nostrils and works with the navel as it goes in and out - this can be tricky to get the hang of initially but with practice it becomes much easier. A simple way to get started is to place your hand on your navel and stick your tongue out of your mouth - then pant like a dog. The navel expands on the inhale and contracts on the exhale. Next close your mouth and continue the breath through the nose - that is breath of fire. I find Ravi's explanation of breath of fire understandable but it does help if you know how to do it before doing this class. There is a row boat type exercise that is straight forward enough but as you continue it can become difficult - focus on the breath and it becomes easier again. Then next one I find testing - sit with legs straight and hold one leg straight in your hands whilst doing breath of fire! This one does challenge me but as it is working on the sciatic nerve I really do my best to continue and when the time is up (only about 1 minute) it is such a delicious feeling until the other side begins - of course the amazing sensation will be here to reward me again in just 1 minute! Ravi is encouraging throughout and I do appreciate that as it keeps me going when I may be about to stop. You get to have a short meditative rest in between some of the exercises which is a welcome pit stop. Moving up and down - in and out of bridge pose is next and there are modifications - hands and feet on the floor then push the bottom up in the air. This is slowly repeated for a timed duration and I find it blissful - the focus on the breath is incredible, my mind is clear and I am calm.
We are off - this is the first section of the Navel Power sets. Lay on the back with knees bent and hands behind head you use the breath to come up into a crunch type of movement - the breath really does make the difference and I can feel a slight burn in the abs! You get to relax fully on your back for a short time in Savasana (relaxation pose -lying flat on back). From the same lying position with knees bent - arms by your sides - use the breath to raise up slowly and then controlled movement back to the floor. This one is a challenge and there is a modification given, I just do what I can at the time and sometimes will do the modified one - both are very beneficial and you can certainly feel it working the stomach area. To loosen the back up you roll on the spine next for a few repetitions and then relax. Bridge pose with breath of fire is next - I find this manageable and absolutely blissful but there is a modification if you are struggling with the full pose. This one really energises you and I feel a good stretch on the thyroid gland too. A well earned relax in Savasana comes next. Double leg lifts whilst lay on the back now - I put my hands under my buttocks for this one (which Ravi advises if you want to protect the lower back) as it helps modify the exercise and make it easier, though a burn is certainly felt in the abdomen! Relax again - really appreciated and necessary to allow the body to get ready for what comes next. Parallel bicycle - lay on back and alternate one knee to chest and then the other. Sound easy enough? This one is a toughie but well worth the effort and you can always rest out and then start again. I find it exhilarating and achievable most of the time. Rock and roll on the spine again - this is great fun and reminds me of being a child. Lying on stomach with hands in line with shoulders - raise up the chest slowly into Cobra pose. Repeat this slowly for the duration. This one is a real test for me as my rhomboid muscles are tight, as I have kept practicing Cobra they are loosening up more and more. Next, whilst pressed up into Cobra, raise the feet behind the head - well not in my case I am afraid, not like Ana anyhow! I can raise the feet and I feel a superb stretch along my abdomen when I do it - this is getting more and more achievable and feels good. Rest on stomach - delicious and deeply relaxing, I am chilled! Bow pose is next - raise thighs and upper body of the floor by holding the ankles. A modification is offered, breath of fire whilst in the pose - this one re centres the navel pulse. It is a tough one but once done, and relaxing, the free feeling of the spine is wonderful. Short blissful relaxation on stomach - oh I am in heaven. Stretch pose is next - lay on back with arms under body, head and feet raised of the floor and breath of fire! This one is a real challenge but is one of the most important postures and boy can you feel your abdomen burning whilst in this pose. Relax once more in Savasana - Ravi guides you soothingly with his voice and this is a delightful experience that affords deep rest.
NAVEL POWER 2
Repeat the crunch type movement that was at the beginning of Navel Power - this feels easier this time around and if you work with the breath as Ravi instructs it makes all the difference. Stretch and relax - this is a glorious feeling and the spine really is beginning to lengthen and loosen up. Feet flat and knees bent - inhale up and exhale down. This is another repeat of a prior exercise and once again it is achieved more easily - the sit up part in particular. Stretch and relax again - so kind! Feet flat and knees bent come up into a bridge pose, if you can do wheel pose then do that, as I cannot I stick to the original instruction and begin breath of fire. This is a liberating feeling and I feel my core strength increasingly getting stronger the more that I work with this class. Interlace hands at base of the skull, lay on back - begin parallel bicycle with breath of fire and alternate elbows touching opposite knee. Modifications are given for this one but I find that I can do the original instruction as it is only a short duration. Next is alternate leg lifts whilst lay on back with hands interlaced at the back of the neck - this ones sounds simple doesn't it and it is one of the less challenging ones in this class but boy will you feel the burn in the abdomen after a short while - I really enjoy this one! Stretch and relax again and then rest in Savasana - this really is a treat. Rock on the spine to massage the back. Sit on heels and interlace fingers with index fingers pointing up. Raise arms above the head and as you say Sat contract lower internal muscles and lower abdomen, and as you say Nam relax the muscles and abdomen - this is Sat Kriya and develops a wonderful focus. Sat Kriya really massages my descending colon and is very beneficial for me! Relax back onto your elbows with legs out in front of you - scissor the legs up and down in time with the breath of fire - Ravi encourages to go on strong with this last exercise! Feel the burn - ouch!
In Savasana (lay on back with arms and legs slightly away from the body) take a wonderful deep breath and then exhale. Ravi will guide you through a deep relaxation - this is a very important part of the class and is when all the work that you have done begins to work for you. I absolutely love this part of the class - not just because I have done the exercises but because it really does feel like an intense relaxation response and my body feels so light and peaceful.
This class ends with an invigorating mantra meditation which I look forward to. I become totally focused and my mind is empty, I am alert and fully aware - acutely aware of all around me. I find the experience empowering. It is a lovely way to end class and a real pleasure to do.
At the end of class Ravi will instruct the Tune out via mantra Sat Nam. I feel grounded and content. I take a few moments to myself before standing and preparing myself for the day ahead - I can honestly tell you that when I complete a Kundalini Yoga class I am energised, de stressed, calm, content, peaceful, motivated, invigorated and in the present moment - a wonderful way to start the day!
CLASS HAS ENDED - AND ........
I feel fantastic! There are no other words to describe it. My core strength and stomach have certainly benefited from this class and continue to do so, it did not take long for the stomach of steel to appear! Of course these physical benefits are a wonderful bonus of the Kundalini Yoga experience - the practice works on every aspect of you. My spine has particularly benefited from doing Kundalini Yoga too - it is so flexible and the issues that I had with my lower lumbar have disappeared - I am now confident to do anything that involves using my back whereas beforehand I was frightened of aggravating an old injury. I wanted stronger core strength and I got it!
BITS & BOBS!
Availability - Amazon eBay
Price - £19.99
Duration 75 mins
Website - raviana.com
I can highly recommend this class to an experienced Kundalini Yoga student - this is an intermediate class and it would be better to have worked with some beginner classes to get used to the techniques and body alignment before attempting this one. The quality of production of the DVD is high and the teachers are very experienced. The cost of the DVD may seem high but I have no problem paying that as the class is superbly demonstrated and clearly instructed which is important. The benefits of working with this class are superb and if you commit to working with the class regularly you will be rewarded. If you want to get started with Kundalini Yoga there are some great DVD classes by Ravi and Ana and Maya Fiennes and they are on Amazon at the most competitive prices. I benefited from doing Hatha Yoga prior to Kundalini Yoga and I fully understood the alignment, foundations and breath of fire. I got a stomach of steel, super core strength, amazing willpower and confidence by working with this class regularly in rotation with other classes. I only ever do what I am capable of doing on any given day - I listen to my body and know my limits, there is no competition in yoga. Go with the flow and enjoy.
Thanks for reading and I hope the review was helpful. Also to be published on Ciao.