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by Ana Brett & Ravi Singh
raviana productions, 2013
Review by Beth T. Cholette, Ph.D. on Apr 9th 2013
This DVD is the newest release from the husband/wife team of Ravi Singh and Ana Brett. As with their previous videos, Green Energy of the Heart features Ana practicing alone, this time against a plain white backdrop with only a mat adorned by butterflies for decoration, while Ana and Ravi take turns providing voiceover instruction.
The Main Menu of the DVD offers the following options:
*Design Your Own Workout -- Matrix Menu Options
Choosing "Chapter Selections" brings up a full list, including times for each segment:
*Tune In, 2:02
*Warm-Up Set 1, 16:39
*Warm-Up Set 2, 7:59
*Green Energy Set 1, 20:16
*Green Energy Set 2, 19:34
*Deep Relaxation, 5:05
*Love Saves the Day Mantra Chant, 4:10
*Closing Prayer, 2:15
*Breath Primer, 4:00
*Cobra/Backbend Primer, 2:12
Selecting "Play All" leads with Ana's brief intro and flows right into Tune In, a combination of the traditional opening chant "Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo" and brief meditation to the sound "Sat Nam." (Additional pauses for meditation occur throughout the practice.) The first warm-up set starts with stomach circles and then immediately becomes more intense via Kundalini chair pose with breath of fire (BOF). Additional postures are standing side bends, standing back bend, forward bend with stomach pumps, and standing rotations. The second warm-up set is also quite active, beginning with a 45-second hold of plank pose. Next is a combination of a kneeling backbend moving into child's pose, laced arms behind you; this is followed by a wide-legged bow forward in child's pose. Coming to lying on the back, you'll reach alternate arms through wide legs. The final posture is BOF while lifting the head with alternate legs/both legs (stretch pose).
The first Green Energy set consists entirely of backbends. Ana begins with several repetitions of cobra pose, coming into a held cobra and then moving the head up and down in cobra. This is followed by sphinx pose with BOF. Next, Ana returns to cobra (option to stay with sphinx pose), this time with bent legs and lifting alternating arms to the front at shoulder level—this is VERY challenging! After a brief rest, Ana repeats the previous posture, lifting arms overhead. Next, she performs locust pose, raising the upper body only with BOF, and bow, adding in an optional rocking motion. Ana transitions to her back by rocking and rests via holding the legs at 90° before coming into wheel pose with BOF, which she holds for 30 seconds (option to lift the pelvis only into bridge). This posture is countered by full seated forward bend with BOF. The last exercise in this section is a crow squat, arms swinging up and down in front with BOF.
Although the second Green Energy set begins standing, overall, it is significantly less intense than the first. Ana starts with a "cross-crawl" move, basically a march alternating arms and knees. This is followed by a long sequence of BOF while standing in place. Ana then assumes horse stance, punching forward to the rhythm of BOF. She concludes the standing work with large arm circles and pumping interlaced hands sternum to navel with BOF. Coming to seated, Ana "plays" her fingers to the tune of sa-ta-na-ma, and she finishes this set with relaxing left nostril breathing.
The second set moves right into a guided relaxation. Ana's voice gently offers prompts to relax and let go; after several minutes, she cues you to "return to your body." For the chant, Ana joins in singing "Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wahay Guru" as the words encircle her body on screen. Ana and Ravi go in a slightly different direction for the Closing Prayer segment. As always, they encourage you to wish blessings upon self, someone in your life who needs it, and the world as a whole. However, they skip the final chant of "Sat Nam" (which I missed) in favor of having Ana sing "May the Long Time Sun shine upon you -- all love surround you -- and the pure light within you -- guide your way on" which she repeats three times.
The total practice time for this routine (minus primers) is 1 hour, 16 minutes. Included is a Breath Primer, which is new footage to this release but is similar to prior DVDs in which Ana reviews both long deep breathing and BOF. Also offered here is the Cobra/Backbend Primer, which I found a bit odd: it starts showing a static photo of Ana while providing cues for proper setup of cobra pose, and although there is brief live footage showing Ana moving into cobra, the segment concludes with another static shot of Ana holding the posture.
Overall, this is an enjoyable and challenging routine. For those new to Kundalini yoga, it is important to understand that it differs from what is usually called hatha yoga; it is generally more dynamic, and the Breath of Fire is a unique component. Green Energy does contain more recognizable hatha postures than in some of Ravi and Ana's previous releases; in that sense, it might be a good crossover practice. However, I would definitely recommend Green Energy for experienced yoga practitioners only, especially given that there are no included pre-sets offering shorter/easier workout selections (although the matrix feature is a nice option if you feel comfortable sequencing your own yoga practice).
© 2013 Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students.