Megha Nancy Buttenheim and I found our way to Kripalu Yoga, the practice that in the late 80′s saved my life and enabled me to slowly, with medical supervision, titrate off anti-depressant medication. Megha was already teaching at Kripalu when I arrived and was a teacher whose joy and compassion inspired my own practice. Many of you may know her as the founder of Let Your Yoga Dance, and have experienced her exuberant yoga dance at noon classes at Kripalu Center for more than twenty years.
This is her first DVD, and it is one I can imagine growing old with. It is bar-none the best beginner gentle yoga DVD practice I have ever experienced, because not only is there a practice where modifications are shown throughout, but there are teaching segments that educate the participant, providing a strong and confident foundation to the novice, before she or he begins the actual practice session. Megha is thorough and clear in her explanation and demonstration of the use of props. She carefully describes and demonstrates how to support the participant in maintaining a seated position for meditation. She slowly demonstrates two of the most basic and , to my mind, life-changing breathing practices. Participants are guided through a thorough understanding of the seven movements of the spine, essential to hydrating and keeping the spine flexible. There are two teaching meditations—a mindful attention to the breath and the Buddhist practice of Metta (loving-kindness).
The 60 minute Sequence of poses that follows the teaching segments includes a centering meditation, warm-ups, standing poses, a gentle backbend in a prone position, gentle twists and an inversion, all practiced and demonstrated with options for modifications and props. The posture section is followed by a guided relaxation that includes polarity breathing, a practice that draws breath in and exhales the breath out through opposite parts of the body. Megha leads a brief seated meditation to close the practice that includes both breath awareness and Metta practice.
As a yoga teacher for 23 years, I know that it is often more challenging to teach a beginning yoga class, especially for people who may have physical challenges that make modifications necessary. It is an art to make everyone, no matter what their limitations, feel welcomed and accepted just as they are. Megha’s great gift as a teacher is to offer a true experience of yoga-union to the participants in the class, regardless of their level of experience or need to modify.
Although shot simply in a beautiful studio space, production values are high on this Trudy Manion Production. Yoga teachers will benefit from studying this DVD, so that they can offer not only the modifications, but the compassion and wisdom that Megha provides. And of course, if you need to adapt and modify to meet your own body’s needs, then this is the practice for you. Did you notice that throughout this review, I used the word “participant” rather than “viewer”? That’s because, although my own level of practice is more vigorous, not for a moment did I feel I was not practicing yoga, as Megha guided me with clarity and compassion through this DVD. I felt that she was right there in the room with me and felt her big heart smiling.
To purchase a copy of Introduction to Yoga and Meditation with Megha please visit: Letyouryogadance.com.
To purchase a copy of the LifeForce Yoga DVD series LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues Level 1 and Level 2 please click here. The DVDs are now available as a download to stream to your device instantly, so you can begin your practice now!
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