by William Swotes (Director) Kripalu Yoga, 1998 Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Nov 5th 2005
This Kripalu Yoga Gentle DVD
is quite distinctive. The program is
split into two main parts, each about half an hour long. It is led by Sudha Carolyn Lundeen with two
other participants. They are in a
studio with a dark background, lit with three golden spotlights that change
brightness and color according to the position and the energy of the flow at
the time. The perform mostly standing
and sitting positions in a flow. They
are shown from many different camera angles, including from above. Rather than talk while she is doing the
yoga, Lundeen does her instruction as a voice over, in a reassuring pleasant
tone. The three yoga practitioners are
color coordinated, wearing purple costumes.
The camera moves from person to person, (two women, one man), and they
all move with grade and assurance.
While there's some variation in how each performs the positions, there
are no obvious mistakes. For the most
part, the instructions are easy to follow, at least for people who are already
familiar with yoga positions. There are
only a couple of points where it is not very clear how to carry out the
instructions -- for example, in a breathing exercise that involves plenty of
arm movement, it is hard to see how the arms and body movements are meant to be
As indicated by the title, the
practices are gentle, which is to say that for most of the time the movement is
relatively slow, and there's not much repetition of positions. You are unlikely to break a sweat following
the DVD. Yet as with all yoga, many of
the positions have the potential to be challenging, and some are bound to have
you grimacing if you do them fully.
There is a rest period at the end of each half of the practice, and
there's a good chance you'll feel rested and energized by the end of the whole
Maybe the most unusual feature of
this yoga DVD is a portion near the end of the second half, where you are told
to simply follow your body's needs and do whatever positions feel right to
you. For people who are not already
familiar with yoga, this may seem rather bizarre and even uncomfortable. I was skeptical at first, but after a few tries
I found it enjoyable and worthwhile.
So this is a good DVD for people
who have some yoga experience but want to follow along with a class. It has strong production values, and the
programs are divided into seven main chapters so one can go to a particular set
of exercises using the DVD control.
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.