This DVD is one of the three newest releases from the husband/wife team of Ravi Singh and Ana Brett. In the same style as their previous videos, Solar Power features Ana practicing alone (against the painted lake scene backdrop used in their last set of DVD releases), while she and Ravi take turns providing voiceover instruction. During her introduction, Ana states that this workout provides "the best of ancient and new." The exercises, which take place entirely on the floor, focus on the opening the area of the solar plexus. Users will need only a mat (Ana's is placed vertically) to get started.
The Main Menu of the DVD offers the following options:
*Design Your Own Workout -- Matrix Menu Options
Selecting "Play All" leads with Ana's brief intro and then flows right into Tune In, a combination of meditation and the traditional opening chant "Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo." This is followed by the first Solar Power set (13 minutes), which begins seated for spinal and neck rolls. The next posture is lying on the back, one leg raised perpendicular to the ground, while performing breath of fire (BOF). Then it's up to hands and knees for cat/cow, finishing by holding cow pose with BOF. A brief rest in child's pose turns into "snaking cobra," a flowing move from child's to cobra and back again; this series ends by holding cobra with BOF. This solar set concludes seated on the heels, first performing spinal flexes front and back, then spinal twists side-to-side. Solar Power Part 2 (13.5 minutes) starts with some nice hip opening work, including seated cradle; Ana also performs half-lotus forward bend with BOF. Next, she lies back for hip raises (pelvic tilts), moving into a full shoulderstand with BOF and continuing the BOF into plow. The hip raises are repeated, and the segment finishes with abs work: Ana starts in a full lying position and from here rises up into a modified boat pose, repeating at a moderate pace.
The following segment, Set for Super Vitality (7 minutes) continues to target the abdominals. Still lying on the back, Ana brings her straight legs up to a 45-degree angle and criss-crosses them rapidly at the calves; this exercise is repeated once. Next, she performs a "parallel bicycle," which involves alternately bringing the knees in and out; this move is also repeated. Two BOF exercises, each about 1 minute, conclude this set: for the first, the hands are laced with the arms above the head, and for the second, the arms are bent behind the head, hands on opposite shoulders. A longer set (15.5 minutes) called Awaken Your Senses follows. Ana explains how to hold the hands in a mudra while chugging the arms like pistons and engaging in BOF, but she fails to mention that this exercise continues for about nine and a half minutes! However, Ravi offers encouragement throughout as Sat Kartar sings a mantra in the background (several tracks from Kartar's A Daily Practice CD are featured on this video). But there's more: continuing to hold the mudra, Ana moves her arms out to 90-degree angles, holding this position for another 4.5 minutes. This set concludes with a few minutes of quiet meditation.
Finally, it's time to relax with a nice, long (5 minutes) deep relaxation. Prior to the Closing Prayer, there is a Heart Opening Mantra Chant (Ana sings this in the background of some of the previously-released DVDs); the words are Ra-a, Ma-a, Sa Sa Sa Sat, Hari Har Hari Har, and they provide a very soothing conclusion to the practice. The brief Closing Prayer (1.5 minutes) brings the main practice in at around 65 minutes total. However, following the credits, there is the option to go on to the Breath Primer (6.5 minutes) and the Posture Primer (6 minutes).
Clicking on Pre-Set Selections from the Main Menu produces a sub-menu with these options:
*Quick Set for Beginners (30 minutes)
*Rise & Shine (58 minutes)
*Solar Power Express (50 minutes)
*Spiritual Uplift (63 minutes)
For those new to Kundalini yoga, it is important to understand that it differs from what is usually called hatha yoga; it is generally more dynamic, and the Breath of Fire is a unique component. Kundalini novices are likely to find some of the moves on this DVD to be out of reach, although the Quick Set for Beginners pre-set may be more accessible. As for myself, I tend to practice mainly hatha yoga, but I enjoy incorporating Ravi and Ana's Kundalini as an occasional change of pace. My favorite Ravi/Ana DVD so far has been Dance the Chakras; to me, Solar Power has a somewhat similar feel in that the exercises are challenging yet doable and that it includes a singing mantra meditation. Solar Power should certainly appeal to existing fans of this husband/wife team, and I would also recommend it to those with some prior hatha yoga experience who are interested in trying Kundalini for the first time.
© 2010 Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students.