I’ve had these DVDs for a few years, but thought it might be nice to review them here. My main practice is ashtanga, but I don’t always fancy doing the primary series again, and like to mix it up a bit. These DVDs are aimed at intermediate-advanced practitioners, and are vinyasa flow sequences.
The idea behind Quantum Yoga is that you tailor the sequence according to how you feel, in line with your Ayurvedic dosha. If you practice all of these DVDs regularly (not just the one for your dosha-type), then you will feel more balanced. This may not be as intuitive as it sounds – if we feel sluggish, perhaps what we need is an invigorating practice, not a slow gentle one. Interestingly, I instinctively prefer the ‘pitta’ Beauty DVD (pitta is my dominant dosha), and like the ‘kapha-regulating’ Leaping Salmon one the least.
The general structure of the practices is as follows: ‘sublimatio’ (which usually includes a breathing exercise), sun salutations (different for each sequence), standing poses, standing & arm balances, floor work, backbends, inversions & a relaxation at the end.
These DVDs are pretty challenging – from one-arm arm balances (which I can’t do!), to hanumanasana (nope) to the reverse bird of paradise pose (I can achieve this sometimes, depending on the way the wind blows!). Modifications of these harder poses are always given. The sequences are filmed in beautiful locations, and the instructuor’s voice is gentle and relaxing, with a light-hearted sense of humour. I don’t use these as my main practice DVDs, I do one of them once a week maybe, but I always enjoy them and they are a nice way to break up your ashtanga practice (if that’s what you’re looking to do). It is nice to do some poses that are not part of the primary series once in a while (am I going to ashtanga-hell for saying that?!)…
I went with a friend to the Wellbeing Show last weekend. We started the day with a ‘sound bath’ meditation, by Anne Malone, which took place in a cosy yurt filled with rugs and cushions, a beautiful coccoon-like setting. Having never done anything like this before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Anne is a lovely warm Irish woman, who has an interesting collection of instruments – Tibetan bowls, a rain stick and a hang – a mini steelpan played with soft beaters. The idea was that the sound vibrations of the different instruments would enhance the guided meditation. I left the yurt feeling calmer and ready for the festival.
Annie Malone (picture courtesy of Annie’s Website)
Next I went straight into a ‘hatha yoga flow’ session. The teacher Denisa Nenova was lovely, and made a real point of explaining that yoga is way more than asana practice.
We wandered round for a bit, sipping our kale smoothies and looking at the stalls – there were a lot of ‘psychic reading’ type stalls, which is a bit ‘out there’ even for me.
We ended the day with a session on the heart chakra with Yogi Ashokonanda. Expecting this to be a gentle session, we were rather taken aback when we had to jump from Warrior I pose changing legs in one breath for about 5 minutes continuously! Even as someone who practices ashtanga yoga, this was the hardest yoga I have ever done! I guess the purpose of it was to get your heart pumping and your lungs breathing fully, so that you can really tune into the heart chakra. Some people clearly hadn’t expected this either, as they were removing layers of sweaty jumpers to keep up. The essence of the workshop was that chanting mantras can help to keep the heart chakra open (we chanted the Radhe-Krishna mantra).
So I’ve been practising ashtanga yoga for, well on and off about ten years. Sometimes more off than on. I started before that with Iyengar (a great base for learning alignment), and then settled on the ashtanga vinyasa style. One thing I’ve never conquered my fear of is chakrasana, or the backwards roll. Perhaps it’s because, for the last ten years, I’ve been living in flats with small lounges, so the fear is partly that I will crash into something as I go backwards. But last weekend on the mat, I thought ‘d give it a go. I got into plough pose, and then put my hands under my shoulders, but…nothing. No leverage. I wondered what I was doing wrong. Perhaps it’s memories of school gym classes, but it must be over twenty five years since I last did any sort of backwards roll. And those knees-bent ones at school were infinitely easier.
Kino MacGregor explains three stages of doing chakrasana here. I just tried the first method, of going into plough, then going back to bent knees and I managed it, alright I wobbled to the side a bit but I made it over. I think the fear is that I will hurt my neck. I’ll try the bent-knees method again next time I’m on the mat…watch this space…