I had the opportunity to practice the Yoga for Stress Reduction DVD with Hala Khouri, and would like to share my experience. Hopefully this honest review will help if you are considering trying this DVD. Hala’s approach to yoga is unique to any I’ve experienced, and I’m thinking it might be attributed to her training in Somatic Experiencing, a mind-body modality that works directly with the nervous system to relieve and resolve symptoms of trauma.
You can really feel it in the way she guides you through this practice.
Along with the gift of relaxation yoga brings, Yoga for Stress Reduction is geared toward bringing about a sense of empowerment as Hala’s guidance focuses on how to deepen the mind-body connection in a way that helps you manage the natural fight-or-flight response and move into a more centered state. As she explains “the difference between a person who’s stressed out and a person who’s not, is not the level of stress in their life, it’s their response to stress.”
In this 80 minute series Kala’s melodic and soothing voice guides you through the following movements and meditations:
Warm Up: a gentle way to ease into the practice with stretches that allow you to begin to release tension from your hips, legs, lower back, neck, and spine.
Standing Poses: a sequence of leg and core strengthening poses to help center and ground you to the earth.
Free Movement: includes rejuvenating energy movements, a “self-tenderizing” treatment to massage and loosen up areas that are commonly tense, and rhythmic movement to music enabling you to literally shake off stress.
Cool Down: a sequence to calm and integrate your body and mind using seated bends and twists and ending with corpse pose (lying on your back for relaxation).
Meditation A: uses the breath to focus on self-regulation and sensation awareness.
Meditation B: guides you through the scenario of a stressful experience with ease and resilience.
A Few of my Favorite Things About This DVD
The serene setting, with beautiful warm colors is relaxing. Hala’s soothing and melodic voice compliments beautiful background music very nicely. Her guidance is easy to follow, even with my eyes closed I was able to get into the different postures and poses with ease. I especially loved all the golden nuggets of wisdom she shares throughout the entire practice, it helped me settle into myself and my body with an ease and grace unique to her style.
The arm movements and neck movements were unlike any I’ve experienced in a yoga practice, they felt more free flowing, which felt really nice, and I even found myself smiling quite often at how wonderfully free flowing my energy felt. I have no exact words to describe the sensations in my body and emotions this drew out, it’s like my body was overflowing with gratitude.
I love her unique free flowing spirit, she’s been teaching the movements arts for over 20 years, and that element adds another dimension to the practice, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I had so much fun experimenting with my own free flowing movements (if you ever wanna spot me on the dance floor, just look for the girl doing her own thing lol!), I never gravitated toward the electric slide, which is probably why I loved this so much.
PURE FREEDOM of self expression in your body feels absolutely awesome!
I did this practice in the evening before bed and slept like a baby, but I also think it’s an amazing morning practice. Either way, it left me feeling at peace with myself, my partner, and the world around me, grounded, and empowered, realizing that as Hala points out, “we can’t always change the way things are on the outside, but when we change our inner world, we experience our outer world differently.” So true.
Yoga for Stress Reduction is a beautiful program using highly effective sequences to release stress from the mind and body. I highly recommend it, and believe anyone from beginners to seasoned yogis can benefit from this powerful and transformational practice.
I hope you enjoyed this review! Namaste