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by Gabrielle Pelicci
Review by Beth Cholette, Ph.D. on Jun 9th 2009
This DVD offers four separate Kundalini yoga routines incorporating use of a stability ball. The workouts are led by Dr. Gabrielle Pelicci, Ph.D. The only information about Pelicci's credentials included with the DVD itself noted that she was one of LA's "premier" yoga instructors; upon visiting her web site, enerje.com, I learned that "Dr. Gabrielle" earned her doctorate degree in humanities, is also licensed as a massage therapist, and offers "transformational" counseling sessions both face-to-face and by phone.
During these workouts, Pelicci teaches via voiceover and does not provide mirrored cueing. The workouts are set outdoors, alternating between two different canyon settings (as well as an indoor studio in the two shorter workouts only). The four workouts on this DVD are of varying lengths and are listed on the Main Menu as follows:
- 40 Minute Kundalini
- 30 Minute Kundalini
- 20 Minute Warm and Tone
- 10 Minute Tone
The DVD case further describes the 20 minute workout as "basic arms, legs, abs, core" and the 10 minute workout as "arms, legs, abs, core." As it turns out, the 40 and 30 minute routines are quite similar, as are the 20 and 10 minute routines.
With the exception of the 10 Minute Tone, all of the routines start out with about ten minutes of warm-up moves. These are all performed seated on the ball. Pelicci begins by introducing the Breath of Fire (BOF), performed while holding the arms at a 60-degree angle. She continues with exercises such as the stomach grind, neck rolls and neck turns, shoulder shrugs, forward bends, spinal twists, and side bends, concluding with a backbend over the ball. Both the 40- and the 30-minute practices then continue with some strengthening moves on the floor (the 30-minute workout contains the same exercises as the 40-minute, just less of them). Exercises here include leg lifts while lying over the ball, push-ups over the ball, lifting the ball overhead while seated, and crunches and pelvic tucks with heels on the ball. Next comes a sequence of core work performed while holding the ball in your hands (e.g., curling up to a seated position), finishing seated with a side-to-side reach to work the obliques. For the final ten minutes of the 40- and 30- minute workouts, Pelicci returns to a standing position. The 40-minute workout contains approximately 6 minutes of additional stretching/toning moves such as standing squats and side reaches. For the last 4 minutes of the practice, Pelicci briefly brings you to the floor for a few quick reclined twists, then finishes in a seated position leaning against the ball for a final meditation and prayer.
As mentioned above, the 20-minute routine begins with a similar warm-up series to the two longer workouts. Following the backbend stretch over the ball, however, the second half of the workout moves into a different sequence of toning moves. These exercises are portrayed on screen alternately by Pelicci and another exerciser, a male who is shown in an indoor studio. The moves here include side leg lifts over the ball, opposite arm/leg lifts lying face down over the ball, pelvic tucks with heels on the ball, inner thigh lifts, wall squats with the ball rolling down the wall, and push-ups on the ball. The 10-Minute "Tone" workout includes just these toning moves without the opening warm-up series. Both of the shorter workouts conclude seated briefly on the ball for the final prayer.
Kundalini is still a relatively new school of yoga to enter the DVD market, although the very popular videos of husband/wife team Ravi Singh and Ana Brett have made this discipline more well-known. Some may find this DVD to be a nice alternative, as Pelicci's style is quite straightforward and down-to-earth, and there is a nice variety offered by the different workout lengths. Furthermore, unlike with Pelicci's other DVD, Healthy Sexy Beautiful Kundalini Yoga, which contains some very challenging core work, I think that the exercises offered here are more appropriate for all levels of practitioners, perhaps because the ball actually serves to modify some of the more difficult moves. Overall, I found the routines on this DVD to feel like a fusion of Kundalini yoga and basic toning work with a stability ball. On her web site, enerje.com, Pelicci offers clips of these workouts, I suggest viewing these clips to determine if this mix of styles is right for you.
© 2009 Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students at SUNY Geneseo. She is also a Top 100 Reviewer at Amazon.com and the official yoga media reviewer for iHanuman.com.