In the domestic battle, three formidable forces are health, energy and inner calm. With these on your side, you are well-placed to conquer those housework demons and make peace with the demands of your home.
So, in my bid to cultivate these allies, I regularly join forces with the beautiful Maya Fiennes via her suite of yoga DVDs. I highly recommend enlisting Maya and her troop of fun, relaxing yet subtely powerful workouts – which have improved the state of body and soul, as well as the state of my home.
If this sounds like your kind of solution – here’s my review of Maya’s Journey Through The Chakras series.
Enjoy & Namaste!
Maya Fiennes – A Journey Though The Chakras (DVD sets)*
A Journey Through The Chakras is a set of 7 DVDs in which Maya Fiennes focuses on the body’s main chakras using her signature Kundalini yoga practice (This series has also been featured on Body in Balance TV)
In these DVDs, Maya briefly explains the characteristics of each chakra, for example, how we behave when the chakra is open and the disadvantages of it being blocked. The yoga sessions that follow are designed to target (ie, strengthen/open) each particular chakra. All the sessions follow the same format, beginning with a 15 minute warm-up followed by approx 15 mins of kriyas (yoga poses/techniques) and a 15(ish) minutes of meditation.
Why I love them
I have tried all sorts of exercise regimes. I’ve gone to aerobics classes (never again). I’ve been a gym member (so not me). I’ve done Body Combat (too aggressive). And I’ve tried the stairs workout (effective but soon got fed up of running up and down my stairs). None have lasted for more than a few months. I’ve cycled, run, walked, jogged, swum etc but nothing inspired me to do it again on a regular basis. And given that I’m the least competitive person you will ever meet, team sports are a non-starter. I have also dabbled with yoga over the last 10 years but even that has been a sporadic and half-hearted interest.
And then I found Maya.
From my very first encounter with her yoga style, I was hooked. Maya’s winning combination of music, exercise and meditation feels like an absolute perfect fit for me. I love the pace, the minimalist setting, the alpha-state music – I even love the elegant typography and production. I love Maya’s friendly, upbeat and authoritative instruction, her philosophy on life and her route to becoming a healthy, happier person. I find the whole format inspiring; Maya, in her floaty white yoga wear, looking healthful, serene and beautiful. And happy.
That, I believe, is the success of these DVDs. Doing these yoga sessions makes me happy. I originally vowed to work my way through the entire series in order to meet my fitness goals. However, I’m now finding that what drives me to unfurl my yoga mat most evenings is the sheer enjoyment of the 45 mins I spend doing kundalini yoga with Maya. I do it because I love it. It’s not something I feel obliged to do or that I have to be disciplined in. I want to do it. (Which is helpful because I find fun and enjoyment to be far more compelling than any attempts at self-discipline and willpower.)
As Maya explains, some of th kriyas are designed to create an endorphin rush – which explains why I feel so happy afterwards. I also find that when I’ve finished, I’m always in a more healthful zone – I feel inspired to eat well, stay active and read books about health and wellness. (Happily Maya has also written one of these!) And I’m filled with a real sense of well-being and inner calm. Interestingly, I also get some of my best ideas during or just after these sessions. (That’ll be the meditation…)
I think the main reason I enjoy Maya’s yoga instruction (apart form the above after-effects), is that she explains the science behind the exercises as we go along. For example, she explains that a certain movement will stimulate the pituitary gland or detoxify the liver. She also explains why these effects are desirable, for example to keep the spine flexible and stay youthful. I also love her confidence in the long-term effects of doing these sessions, eg the elimination of fear and stress, becoming more vibrant and calmer in every day life.
In the DVDs, we hear an unseen Maya providing the instructional voiceover, (in her gorgeous Macedonian accent) whilst a mute Maya performs the movements. I like this, it feels like Maya is both teacher and student, both a knowledgable authority and one of us on the floor. It’s encouraging to hear Teacher Maya cheering us on through a challenging set, whilst watching Student Maya feeling the strain like the rest of us. (Though of course she still smiles serenely, throughout.)
Another plus-point of this series is that the sessions are only 45-minutes long. For some reason trying to shoehorn this into my life is more feasible than carving out a whole hour. (I know it’s only 15 minutes difference but I think it’s a psychological thing.) This has meant that my Maya-time has become something of a habit. I’ve stumbled upon a time of day when there is a (brief) lull in the family demands, (around 6pm) when I can retreat, unnoticed for three quarters of an hour. Though, again, the reason I’ve been able to persevere long enough for this to become a habit is because the sessions are such a joy.
However, I do have one caveat. Some of the mediations are performed whilst chanting, which, if you’re not used to it, may seem a bit strange, at least at first. Though you can always chant mentally if you prefer, Maya assures us that forming these sacred Sanskrit words have physiological effects (affecting the mind and certain glands) which are beneficial and induce a meditative state and inner calm. If you’re somewhat reserved (like me), it may take a while before you’re comfortable saying them out loud. But then again, some of Maya’s soundtracks are so catchy that you can’t help but sing along. (I challenge you to listen to this track and not be singing it all day.)
If you’ve ever done exercise DVDs at home before, you may have found that you soon got bored of doing the same routine over and over again. However, I’ve found that by working through the series of 7 different workouts, the DVDs become familiar but not monotonous. Plus, I now have even more variety as I recently added Maya’s latest box set to the mix! I’ve also downloaded some of her music whichI find relaxing, uplifting and strangely hypnotic. (Maya is a classically trained musician and is the voice and creator of the music featured in the DVDs).
So, I am converted. I find Maya’s Kundalini yoga so rewarding that I can’t imagine ever not doing it. I think I may now be a yogini for life. In fact, I have a vision of myself as a lithe, nimble and serene nonagenarian, able to perform freakishly flexible moves like Bound Lotus or the splits, and when people ask me my secret to longevity, vitality and health, I put it down to sixty years of yoga. Inspired by Maya.
Newsflash! Maya has recently created a new Kundaline yoga boxset; Balancing Hormones, Accept Love. I haven’t tried it yet but it’s on my wishlist!
You’ll like this if you:
• want to get fit while you meditate
• would like to balance your chakras
• want to gently tone your arms, legs and waist
• prefer a workout that doesn’t leave you sweaty and exhausted
• could use more calm, serentiy and inner peace in your life
• want to reduce stress levels and anxiety
• like your exercise sessions to include a restful chill-out every 15 minutes
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