By regular columnist Lucinda Staniland, Off The Mat
When Kara-Leah asked me if I would like to review a Yoga for Women CD I knew there was no way I could turn down the offer.
I thought to myself:
I’m a women, I love yoga, I have great respect for Karma Karuna, and I have (almost) no disposable income to spend on yoga, so I leapt at the chance for some free, womanly yoga time.
Yoga for Women: Awaken the Inner Shakti with Karma Karuna is, as I was soon to discover, a double set CD which includes an internalisation and warm up series, guided salute to the moon and mantra practices, and a Shakti yoga series on one CD, and breath relation, yoga nidra, and meditations on the other.
The practices are all specifically designed to meet the specific needs of a woman’s mind and body, and to awaken the inner Shakti, which literally means “who is capable of accomplishing anything.”
Over three consecutive mornings (and one afternoon session) I worked my way through the CDs.
I found myself challenged and occasionally bemused, I freaked out my flatmates a little bit (“what are you doing in there? (pause) are you….chanting?”), and I was reinvigorated, refreshed, and reminded of why I love yoga so much.
It was a treat to be led through thoughtfully designed meditation and asana series especially made for women. It felt comforting and safe, like coming home, but also put me in touch with that raw, wild streak of feminine energy within. Afterward, I went about my day feeling powerful, clear headed and calm.
I have to admit, practicing with a CD did had some challenging aspects to it.
I’m used to directing my own yoga practice and really feeling into my own rhythms, and following a CD challenged my normal, fully self-directed, patterns on the yoga mat. I experienced a sense of rebellion at being told what to do – how could this CD possibly know what was right for me in this moment? I felt similar to Kara-Leah when she declared that she may never take another yoga class ever again.
Also, I’m a visual and kinetic learner and I find it hard to only have oral instructions to guide me. Something I really value in yoga classes when I do go to them, is being shown how something should look, and then to be physically guided into the correct posture if needed.
With a CD you have only oral instructions to guide you, and although the instructions were mostly very clear I still quite often needed a while to process them and get into the right place on my mat.
However, the CD does come with a helpful instruction book containing photos and additional notes on every posture and practice. This was a very useful to tool to consult. However it meant that it took me a few goes of using the CD to be able to get into a good flow with it, and to not have to stop and start with each new posture.
Overall, I’d recommend this CD for women who have done a reasonable amount of yoga and are able to listen to and respect, what their body needs.
This is because when you’re practicing to a CD it can be easy to go too far and to over stretch yourself. You’re following someone’s directions but they can’t see the state you are in, or judge what you really need to be doing in your practice.
Overall, I found this CD to be a great boost to my yoga practice.
I sometimes get stuck in a bit of a rut with my self practice, and it’s nice to sometimes have a structure and guided practice. I imagine it would also be good for those who just beginning to establish a home practice and need some help and structure to begin.
It’s recommended that the CD is used in conjunction with the guidance of qualified yoga teacher, which I think is very sound advice. Using a CD to guide your practice is not the same as being in a yoga class, or having a real life yoga teacher, but that’s not the point.
If you use this CD as it is intended to be use you will reap the benefits.
It is beautifully and thoughtfully designed and is a great addition to any yogini’s practice. Thank you to Swami Karma Karuna and Anahata retreat for producing such a beautiful resource. I know it will serve me very well as I continue my journey with yoga.