In keeping with the theme of my last post, which was all about whether or not it is good to try different kinds of yoga, this week I tried a new yoga DVD.
The DVD was Kundalini Yoga With Gurmukh. That's an affiliate link, by the way, first time I've ever used one and I want to make sure it's totally transparent! If you click the link and decide to buy the DVD I get a small commission which I can then use to buy more awesome stuff from Amazon. Just so we all know what's going on here!
Anyway, I'd only ever practiced Kundalini yoga once before, on the kitchen floor in my guesthouse in Afghanistan with a lovely Spanish woman who didn't speak much English, so it was all quite new to me.
The DVD is fantastic. It's very simple, no fancy menus or options, just Gurmukh and four students in a clearing in a forest somewhere. There are four sections to the practice: Awaken; Energize; Strengthen; and Relax. They each do what they say.
As Gurmukh herself says at the beginning of the DVD, this practice is likely to be physically challenging for every body, but it's doable by anyone. Actually, the practice on the video is not doable by anybody, if you have significant mobility limitations or serious injuries, this is probably not for you. I know Gurmukh has different DVDs for pre- and post-natal practice as well. But other than that, I think most everyone will be able to get through this practice, as long as they work at their own pace.
Gurmukh herself is something of a yoga superstar. She's 58 years old in this DVD and if that isn't a testament to the life-giving powers of yoga then I don't know what it. Also, her students include Cindy Crawford and David Duchovny, if the back of the DVD is to be believed. Of course, if you teach yoga near Hollywood, you can't be judged for having the occasional celebrity student. Most of all, I loved seeing her face as she watched her demonstrating students. There was clearly love in her eyes as she encouraged them to keep pushing, flapping, twisting and punching (yes, punching, you'll have to see it for yourself).
If you are accustomed to a slow, deep asana practice like Iyengar, then this practice may be quite unfamiliar to you. But I think it is a wonderful, energising practice for the morning and I know that there is a profound wisdom behind each of the practices. Kundalini is sometimes called the 'king of all yoga paths' because of it's emphasis on awakening the Kundalini energy, which is part of the heart of all yoga. I think this DVD is probably a really solid introduction to the practice if you don't have a Kundalini teacher near to you.
I'm going to write a follow-up to Wednesday's post, the comments have been so rich and interesting that I want to talk about them a little bit more. But here is a hint as to my own current experience of exploring different styles of yoga.
I've already confessed that I love to try different styles of yoga, but I have also found that the benefits of yoga (and most other things) come from consistent, regular practice. So when I explore a new practice I explore it with some committment. In that spirit I'll be shaking and swinging along with Gurmukh many times over in the days and weeks to come. Let me know if you are joining me!