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by Ana Brett & Ravi Singh
Review by Wendy C. Hamblet, Ph.D. on Dec 21st 2010
A wealth of data collected over the past two decades grants scientific verification to the ancient claim that meditation promotes healing, reduces the debilitating effects of stress, calms the mind and emotions, and fosters creativity. Meditation is now broadly employed in a great many professional settings, from hospitals, prisons, law schools, and mediation centers to business offices, to foster individual health and happiness, as well as to cultivate peaceful, cooperative communities.
Given the many benefits to be gleaned from a regular regimen of meditation, one would expect that most people would be prepared to devote a small part of their day to cultivating this skill. It is true that many are convinced of the benefits and seek out opportunities to learn to meditate, and since teachers abound and the basics are easily learned in a single afternoon workshop, the fact that few practitioners stick with the practice might seem baffling. A large part of the reason for their falling away from their practice can be attributed to the fact that meditation, whatever the method or tradition, is so simple that people soon give up their practice out of boredom, and sometimes out of frustration that their practice has not immediately resulted in life-altering, ethereal experiences, desired far beyond the mere health benefits.
From the outset of Kundalini Yoga, the audience has a sense of having been thrown into a time warp. Ana Brett, the teacher, sits immaculate and radiant against a backdrop oceanscape, idyllic but lifeless, frozen in time. Brett's make-up and hair also seem to have been frozen in time, triggering memories of a long-past fashion era. Brett narrates the opening instructions, in a voice annoyingly serene, lifeless, insipid. Given this irritating first impression, the reviewer is tempted to eject the DVD in its first minutes. But if she did, this would be a great mistake! She would miss a remarkable treat. By the time Brett has completed leading the audience through the twelve meditative segments of the DVD, she has so endeared herself to you that the negative first impression has long been forgotten and replaced by feelings of gratitude, admiration and joy.
Kundalini Yoga is a refreshing alternative approach to meditation lessons. From the "long deep breathing" exercises to the invigorating "breath of fire" to the various mantras and positions, Brett and Singh render the simple art of meditation immediately accessible to all fitness levels and rewarding to any body and mind. There is ample variety in the two hours of practices featured on this disc to keep any regimen of meditative practice alive and exciting. I recommend this DVD to all practitioners, at every level of practice; it truly fulfills its promise of being suited to "Beginners and Beyond." I learned many new ideas from this DVD, which will spice up my personal practice. It would also serve as a useful resource in university classes on wisdom and healing traditions or in community-based learning symposia.
© 2010 Wendy C. Hamblet
Wendy C. Hamblet, Ph.D., Associate Professor, North Carolina A&T State University