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Lunar Flow Yoga contains 14 yoga practices, and if you did them all, it would take about 100 minutes. However, the DVD is cleverly designed so you can choose from four different flows, each of which is composed of a selection of the 14 practices. The simplest is "lunar flow for stress relief," which is just 33 minutes long, consisting of a starting meditation, a loosening exercise, a series of twists and hip-openers, inversions, a meditation and a final shavasana or resting pose. Next is "backbend flow basic," also just 33 minutes long, but more demanding, with sun salutations, backbending poses, the twists and hip-openers, and ending with shavasana. The most demanding flow is "backbend flow intermediate," which at 80 minutes includes all the most difficult poses on the DVD. The final flow is "meditative," and is 37 minutes long. It is distinctive for its forward bends and twists, its breathing exercises, and its meditation.
The DVD was filmed in the Maldive Islands and Southern India, and most of the yoga practices are filmed on a sand bank on a beach. Much of it is shot at either sunrise or sunset, and it is breathtaking. Shiva Rea herself is not only astonishingly flexible and strong but also is a beautiful woman. She gives directions in a calm and even serene voice in a voice-over, demonstrating them on the beach. The background music is contemporary, with an eastern flavor, described on the DVD box as "ambient fusion." The production values are high, clearly showing how Rea accomplishes the positions, with hand and feet positions easily visible. For some yoga meditations, Rea's image is intermingled with the sea, suggesting a dissolution of self.
The pace of these flows is relatively slow, and so these exercises are only occasionally aerobic. However, they often give very deep stretches, and many people following the DVD will not be able to match Rea as she goes through the most demanding postures. This will be especially true for the more extreme backbends that require a supple back, flexible hamstrings and an ability to balance. Rea does mention and demonstrate some alternative poses for those who are not as flexible as her, sometimes using straps or yoga blocks. Nevertheless, some of these positions, especially in intermediate backbend flow, will be well beyond the capabilities of most people, and it will take some practice to work out what variations are suitable for the person following the DVD. It is all too tempting just to sit and marvel at how Rea's strength and flexibility.
While this Lunar Flow Yoga DVD would be usable by beginners so long as they were using it in association with a yoga class or other professional instruction, it is probably more appropriate for people who have been doing yoga for a while and are looking for a way to structure their home practices. It is one of the best yoga DVDs I have seen, but it still needs to be compared with the others that are available to see if it meets the needs of the person using it. Rea herself has other DVDs available that accentuate different elements of yoga, and the ones I have seen are of the same high quality.
· Sounds True
· Shiva Rea website
© 2006 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.
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.