White Lion Press; (800) 243-9642; DVD; 80 minutes.
Tthe video series this belongs to (which also includes Yoga CleanseLighten Up & Purify and Lose Weight & Feel Great) is billed as a kind of yoga panacea for whatever ails you, not just obesity. These practices also promote (according to the package notes) overall flexibility, a healthy back, willpower, and longevity; in addition, it’s claimed that they counter depression, clean out all the various bodily organ systems, and give you a “stomach of steel,” which will come in handy if you ever travel to India. The 80-minute Tune-Up consists of four sets, the opening warm-up being the longest, at 30 minutes, and the other three lasting about 15 minutes each. These sets can be done individually, for a shorter practice, or in concert.
Kundalini Yoga always strikes my Iyengar-trained eyes as such a strange form, not only because of the way the asanas are performed but also because of the convoluted sequencing, the breathing, andat least the way Ravi Singh presents it herethe instructional content. But this isn’t really a criticism, just an acknowledgment of the enormous range of possibilities inherent in yoga practice. Kundalini asanas are quite dynamic, unlike (for example) their Iyengar counterparts, which are generally static positions. There’s lots of rocking and rolling, twisting rapidly back and forth, standing up and squatting down, leg kicking and pumping, and arm swinging, all seemingly tumbled together. And while most yoga schools prefer asana breathing to be soft, smooth, and always through the nose, Kundalini breathing periodically shifts into high gear with its famous Breath of Fire, composed of sharp Kapalabhati-like inhalations and exhalations.
In Total Tune-Up, Singh is off-camera during the practice itself; the heavy lifting is done by his wife, Ana Brett, who proves to be an excellent model. Singh gives almost no detailed physical instructions; he tells us what to do but not how to do it. Instead, he provides a steady stream, in his distinctive singsong voice, of little rhymes and homiliesall designed to positively reinforce our practiceand encomiums on the many physical and emotional benefits of the exercises. Although it appears to me, from my passing acquaintance with Singh’s previous work, that there’s nothing much new here, Kundalini students and others of all levels who are curious will certainly enjoy this DVD.
Contributing Editor Richard Rosen teaches public classes in Northern California. He is also the author of The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama.