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by Maureen Goss
Still Center Communications, 2005
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Dec 4th 2005

Seven Challenges To Change Your Life DVD

Crane Style Yoga is the creation of Maureen Goss.  It combines both Eastern and Western ideas and practices.  7 Challenges to Change Your Life is a 30-minute DVD in which Goss demonstrates a number of exercises with the aim of helping people not only achieve greater flexibility and health, but also increased concentration and energy.  In the first introductory section, Goss explains her ideas in voice-over while numerous video images illustrate them.  She suggests that her form of yoga can provide benefit faster than other more traditional approaches. 

The main part of the program consists of Goss on a beach by the sea.  It is a pleasant setting and makes for a more natural viewing experience than one gets with the many yoga DVDs performed in studios.  She proceeds to demonstrate breathing, smiling, stretching and strengthening, balancing, focusing, and stillness.  The pace is quite slow, and there's not much repetition of individual poses.  The exercises should not be very demanding for those who are already reasonably fit, although of course some postures will be harder than others for most people.  Personally, I found the table pose surprisingly difficult: it requires sitting on the ground with legs bent and arms behind the torso, with hands flat on the ground, and then lifting one's whole body up so one is like a table top from knees to shoulders.  But Goss only suggests doing this once per session, and with practice it gets easier. 

Goss does some twists to stretch the spine and some exercises when lying face down on the ground, lifting arms and legs, as well as some balancing on one foot.  The abdomen gets some strengthening and shoulders get loosened, but remarkably there's not a great deal of stretching of the hamstrings and lower back.  This is the first yoga DVD I have seen in which one does not do the "downward dog" or "warrior" poses at all, and there are no shoulder stands or sun salutations.  So this is certainly an unusual approach.  It may appeal to some people so want only a moderate work out and are not trying to get a great deal of flexibility.  The aim of the program is more to change one's energy flow, Goss explains at the end of the DVD, where she demonstrates how to shower oneself with "chi."  While I am not particularly invested in Eastern ideas of "chi" moving around the body, I can report that doing the program did make me feel a bit different, and maybe more energized. 

It would be unrealistic to expect a dramatic life change to follow from following a 30 minute DVD a few times, and people who start to take it seriously and follow the program on a regular basis will likely want to move onto a more demanding form of yoga after a while.  However, 7 Challenges to Change Your Life might be a good start for those curious about doing yoga and wanting a to get into it slowly. 

 

Link: Still Center

 

© 2005 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

 

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island, and editor of Metapsychology Online Review.  His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.