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Kundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress with Maya Fiennes
There are a lot of yoga DVDs out on the market (and I've reviewed a decent number of them). The Kundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress program is a new entry into the field that manages to offer something a bit different. Maya Fiennes provides workout, approximately an hour long, that fits into the Kundalini style of yoga, focusing on the spine and channeling energy appropriately.
The yoga program starts off with an introduction by Fiennes who explains what the Kundalini yoga style is about. It feels very New-Agey, with an emphasis on awakening Kundalini energy in preparation for the heart-centered Aquarian Age of 2012. More specifically, she explains that it focuses on the nervous system and involves both physical actions and chanting.
Viewers who are looking for yoga for its physical and relaxation benefits may find it a bit disconcerting (as I did) to have this program explicitly connected to the Indian spiritual tradition: for instance, the opening mantra is intended to connect with the chain of yoga masters that came before, and to "bow to the divine creator within." Other references include finding your inner guru, getting in touch with inner knowledge by connecting with the planet Jupiter, and so on.
That said, the exercises themselves are quite good, and definitely different from ones that I've seen in other yoga programs. The warmup, which is quite substantial, provides a series of exercises to work on relaxing the spine and improving flexibility while energizing the body. During the main program, exercises work on the arms (to work on the adrenal gland), abdominals, a lot of breathing exercises, and intervals of meditation. When done slowly, the movements are very easy to do, and relaxing; when speeded up as Fiennes demonstrates, they're surprisingly challenging. The exercises are more relaxed at the beginning of the program, getting more challenging as the program continues; toward the end, participants will definitely work up a sweat with some of the leg extensions.
This looks like an good yoga workout for anyone who has flexibility problems, tense muscles, or problems with the moving around necessary for other types of yoga workouts (this workout is done almost entirely seated). Fiennes has done a good job of creating a balanced workout that moves from a gentle warmup to a few more challenging exercises later in the workout.
One thing that's not so user-friendly about the program is that it has only three chapters: introduction, warm-up, and practice; there's no way to jump to specific movements (or skip over them).
Visually, the program is very peaceful and soothing. Fiennes sits in a completely white background, so there are no distractions whatsoever. She's even wearing a white outfit, which makes for an overall "clean" appearance but does make it a bit harder to distinguish some of her movements since it's white-on-white. The image is clean and clear, with no noise or flaws. The image is a bit soft, but perfectly fine. It appears in a widescreen anamorphic format.
The soundtrack is clean and attractive. Fiennes provides a voiceover explanation for the movements, and is clear and natural-sounding. A mellow chant with music runs in the background, but doesn't interfere with with the voiceover.
There's a very brief introduction from Deepak Chopra commending Maya Fiennes as a yoga teacher, and a text biography of Fiennes.
Kundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress offers a pretty good workout, especially if you're looking to increase spinal flexibility. I didn't care for the New Age spirituality part of it, but the exercises themselves are well chosen. They're fairly low-key, so this is probably a good program for people who don't feel ready for more intense or challenging yoga programs.