This simple, beautifully shot DVD by Maya Fiennes promises to ‘awaken the spirit, energise the body and relax the mind'. But does it live up to the challenge?
Maya's Kundalini Yoga provides a lovely, fresh change from many yoga videos.
The focus is not on creating a perfectly toned body, or any kind of physical perfection, but rather about letting go and detoxing.
The feminine, visually and aesthetically pleasing appearance of the actual DVD - as well as its packaging- do however give it a slightly angelic, unreal touch.
Aimed at both beginners and more confident yoga practioners, the sequence starts very slowly, with a detailed explanation on Kundalini yoga, its origins, meaning, and purpose in everyday life.
The long introduction makes it accessible to complete beginners or students unfamiliar with Kundalini. However, the constant background music can be somewhat disturbing and takes a while getting used to.
The minimal white background makes the whole experience aesthetically pleasurable and not too distracting.
The focus is not on the physical outlook or appearance (even though Maya is a perfectly toned, angel like figure), and the fact that the practice should be done with eyes shut, focusing on the breath, justifies the simplicity of the backdrop.
Yoga shouldn't be about gorgeous models, scenery or landscapes; it is an internal practice, about purity and union, which is what Kundalini seeks to achieve - and the focus here is sound and breath.
The DVD is altogether visually pleasing, but for a practice like Kundalini yoga, which aims to be internal, the music soundtrack is slightly overdone for the whole practice to feel wholly authentic.
Warm ups, energy builders and detoxing techniques.
After the second warm up - a dynamic sitting twist with rhythmic sounds of breath and beats, my energy levels shifted and I felt more energised - as well as motivated - to keep going on.
In her practice, Maya, does offer a good balance of relaxing movements and dynamic body/breath flow. Most exercises are repeated for a few minutes for them to be effective, and the real time approach is a good motivation to keep going.
Improving motivation and willpower
It's a great DVD for people wanting to learn about Kundalini yoga in both a relaxing and dynamic way, and is particularly useful if you don't have the patience or motivation to practice alone.
It also works on willpower and mind training - some of the breath/movement techniques are quite hard to sustain for more than a few minutes. By doing so, one inevitably creates heat and works up a sweat. Hence the detoxing aspect of the practice.
Both mentally and physically challenging, it is also great for those yogis so used to dynamic types of yoga practices such as Asthanga Vinyasa and for those who struggle with self-discipline.
De-stress and detox
This DVD does what it claims on the box. I finished the hour-long practice feeling surprisingly light and energised and definitely more peaceful.
Whether my kidneys and adrenals were strengthened by the routine is another matter, but for someone like me who often struggles to ease off, this DVD undeniably helped me concentrate and focus.
A word on the music
The soft, feminine and easy listening music is a reminder that Maya is first and foremost a musician. The bonus music CD is a welcome addition, but may not quite be what I would pick for a personal practice.
Verging on new age sounds, the tracks are nevertheless soft and pleasant, and may be perfect as ambient, yoga studio music, or for a light kind of yoga practice.
Fore more details about Maya Fiennes see:
Review by Inna Costantini