tribal grooves that evoke both Africa and the Mississippi Delta. Morissette is accompanied on this journey by some of the foremost players and singers in world devotional music, including sarod ace Wynne Paris, bansuri flutist Steve Gorn, chant master Krishna Das, and producer-guitarist David Nichtern, whose graceful slide guitar creates much of the aforementioned Delta vibe.
In the past, there's been a slight tension between Morissette's singer-songwriter leanings and the traditional Sanskrit mantras he sets to music, as if he felt a need to explain the mantras in English. On Maba Moha, however, he seems content to let the mantras speak for themselves. a . d .
Element: AM & PM Yoga for Beginners, with Elena Brower. Anchor Bay Entertainment; anchorbayent.com/fitness Using different yoga sequences for morning and evening is based on the reasonable assumption that we need different types of asana practices at different times of the day. Accordingly, this short morning practice is the equivalent of a cup of coffee: gentle warmups, a mild version of Sun Salutation, a half dozen familiar standing poses, an arm strengthener, a couple of backbends and a belly strengthener, a few reclining cooldowns, and then a short seated meditation.
If the morning practice is considered asana caffeine, then the evening practice is a warm glass of milk. It includes gentle warmups, a short vin-yasa flow, and a long series of mostly twists and forward bends—all with an emphasis on breath awareness.
Brower, the founder of the Virayoga studio in New York City, is a certified Anusara Yoga teacher, though not much of that style is in evidence here. Brower is an excellent teacher for a beginner audience. She gives simple, clear instructions, with accessible modifications for the
more challenging poses, and her positive, compassionate approach is both engaging and encouraging, no matter what time of day. richard rosen
THE FLOWERING OF AWARENESS:
An Introduction to Tantrik Yoga, with Christopher D. Wallis. The Foundation for Yoga; yogasthana.org
Ever wonder where hatha yoga comes from and what makes it different from other schools of yoga? You'll be able to answer this question and others after watching this 94-minute lecture by Christopher D. Wallis, a Sanskrit scholar who regularly interprets ancient mantras for Yoga Journal (see page 22).
According to this DVD, the Tantric movement emerged in India in the sixth century, and in a relatively short time, it had an enormous impact on Indian culture and spirituality. A few centuries down the road, it led to the development of hatha yoga. Wallis briskly covers Tantra's history, then goes through an overview of its central teachings and practices, its vision of the Self and the world, and its ultimate goal of Self-liberation. Wallis goes on to reveal that what sets Tantra apart from earlier yoga schools is its worship of the feminine principle, shakti, and its embrace of the physical world as a means to liberation.
Don't be fooled by Wallis's youthful appearance. He's been studying this material for more than half his life, has advanced degrees in religion and Sanskrit, and is himself an accomplished hatha practitioner. Wallis presents the material in everyday language with a heartfelt humility that belies his wealth of knowledge. r.r.
CREATIVE CORE + LOWER BODY, with Shiva Rea. Acacia; acacialifestyle.com The work of Prana Flow Yoga teacher Shiva Rea always has an engaging aesthetic appeal, and the two short practices on this DVD are no exception. The first is a core practice that focuses on the belly via Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose), Half
The Flowering of Awirtnti)
Core+ Lower Body
Table, and Plank Pose, each with challenging variations. The second practice uses Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose) with several variations linked together in Rea's distinctive dancelike style to strengthen the lower body.
Throughout, Rea asks you to feel yourself grounded and flowing with vital energy, and let your feet find themselves in space and forgo a lot of mental work. The short practices make nice warmups for longer, more varied strengthening programs. R.R.
FULL BODY BLAST, with Beth Shaw. YogaFit; yogafit.com
For many, Beth Shaw, the founder of YogaFit, is the woman who made yoga safe and accessible to those wary of spirituality With her new DVD, she's aiming to bring her fitness-oriented yoga style right into your living room. The program is divided into four segments, promising a workout for all your body parts! Those parts, in Shaw's estimation, are the upper body, lower body, and abs (the fourth segment is a full-body warmup).
The DVD gives you instructions about the breath and some information about alignment (featuring Shaw's own Seven Principles of Alignment). The many recognizable asanas are taught and demonstrated well, and they come with Shaw's special names, like Crocodile (Four-Limbed Staff Pose). But many moves are Shaw's own inventions—such as a qi gonglike exercise she calls Sunflower and a wide-legged squat she calls Moon.
Full Body Blast delivers on its promise of a head-to-toe workout, putting you through a demanding sequence of asana-like calisthenics— lots of standing poses, planks and other core exercises, and upper-body boosters like Dolphin and pushups. Link all four segments, and you'll definitely feel the burn, even if you are a reasonably fit and experienced practitioner. h. d. ■
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Yoga teaches balancing postures, and Ayurveda, a sister science of yoga, teaches balanced living. The reemergence of the oldest system of medicine in the world means increasing career opportunities in this alternative approach to health care. When you study at the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, you'll work with world-renowned leaders in the field, including Vasant Lad and David Frawley. Best of all, the training is a residential immersion experience, allowing you to practice this science of life while you learn it.
new format September 2009
two levels of trainingplus an exciting new track for certified yoga teachers find out more d kripalu.org/ ayurvedaschool
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continued from page 69 SARAH Our group arrives—it's such a diverse mixture of people. Some have never done yoga but have sponsored sisters through Women for Women International before; others are yogis who are new to the sponsorship program. Everyone shares a similar intention to reach out where they can and to stay open and curious wherever they go. It will be enriching to introduce meditation and contemplation to the new yoginis, offering them an immediate vehicle to digest and integrate whatever the trip will bring.
Many are still tired from the long journey, and, after a balanced yoga practice at the hotel, they stay back to catch up on some sleep. But most of us pile into Jeeps and head for the community church on the outskirts of town to attend a Pentecostal service. As we enter, we see a section reserved for us in the center of the full congregation. We dance, we sing, and we listen to how these people connect with God. It's a joyous celebration, one that finds me standing in front of 200 people, thanking them for welcoming us so graciously and extending their love.
CHANDRA I'm dancing in the middle of this church, and I cannot stop crying tears of joy over experiencing the Rwandans' deep faith in God. It's a lovely way for our group to begin their adventure—to experience how people rise above suffering to find divine inspiration in the midst of hardship.
For example, tonight at dinner, Hash-mat, our Women for Women guide, described how she and her family narrowly escaped death by taking refuge in the Hotel of a Thousand Hills (a.k.a. Hotel Rwanda) before being led off in a convoy to Uganda. Hashmat, who is Muslim, said that her narrow escape gave her faith in God, despite all the violence she saw at such a young age. I take in these stories with respect for those who lived through such violence and uncertainty, wondering how my own spiritual practice would be affected in the face of such suffering. Our morning and evening yoga and meditation classes will be our time to process all that we see and hear during our trip.
to honor and to hold
DAY 2 ITINERARY Meditation and yoga, breakfast, Kigali Memorial Center, Women for Women International bazaar, vocational training classes, meditation and yoga, film screening, dinner at Banana Jam.
CHANDRA Our first full day. This morning, I teach the experienced class while Sarah teaches the beginners. We are switching each day to give them a chance to study with both of us. After breakfast we go to the Kigali Memorial Center to honor the 250,000 people buried there. Walking through the exhibits is difficult, but when I come to the rooms with photos of children, and the descriptions of their deaths, I cry uncontrollably.
When it's time for the afternoon yoga session, it's clear that we need some way to cope with what we've seen at the memorial. I mainly focus on Yin Yoga to give everyone time to rest and contemplate what we've experienced so far. The quiet, soothing poses allow us to settle in after feeling so heartbroken.
DAY 3 ITINERARY Yoga and meditation, breakfast, meeting with sisters at Women for Women International office, graduation ceremony, lunch at Africa Bites, women's rights education class, yoga and meditation, dinner at Novotel Hotel.
CHANDRA The first thing I notice is her eyes. They reveal her strength and gratitude. She is a widow with three children of her own and four more adopted children—orphans from the genocide. Her name is Muharubuga Gemerose, and for the next year, she will be my sister. Through my donation, her own hard work, and the help of the Women for Women International staff, she will, in a year's time, graduate from the program with a new knowledge of her rights and a skill that will help support her family.
It turned out that we were chosen by our Rwandan sisters on the spot. We stood on the lawn in two groups facing each other, and when Muharubuga's name was called, she looked right at me. With the help of a translator, our conversation was short yet sweet. As we said good-bye, she leaned in and touched her forehead to mine. (Tibetan lamas do a similar thing to bless you by putting their forehead to your forehead, third eye to third eye.) It felt like souls meeting. I felt our sisterhood on a very deep level.
Today, after meeting our sisters, we watch the graduation ceremony of the previous year's sisters. We heard beautiful stories of overcoming hardship through the training they received. It was very inspiring. To conclude the ceremony, the women danced and sang, inviting us to join them. We had a wonderful time. SARAH My husband, my daughter, and I meet with our sister, Immaculee Mukany-
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