I got this DVD after hearing my teacher rave about Sarah Powers. The DVD is one of a 2-part series (the other one being Heaven). Sarah uses yoga asanas
to guide the flow of energy into the body. Here, energy is conceptualized in the Chinese Yin/Yang system. The Earth DVD includes predominantly standing sequences – lots of warriors, tree, horse (temple), chair poses with barely any counterposes. The poses are supposed to help you draw Earth energy into the belly (a chi energy center). I found that the sequence didn’t progress smoothly – no warm-up, no cool-down. It was not paced like a typical yoga class. I was fairly tired at the end of the day and I did not keep up with all the standing asanas. I did like, though, that all movement was slow and coordinated with the breath.

As I lay in Shavasana at the end, I felt a monstrous stomach ache creeping in. I do get heartburn now and then, so I cannot make casual attributions here, but I’ll just say that, unlike most yoga classes, this one did not make me feel any better afterwards.

One Zantac, two Pepto Bismol, two hours and a ginger tea later, I wonder: Why is it necessary to innovate yoga? Why merge it with the Chinese energy system when yoga is already very tightly associated with another ancient healing system, Ayurveda? How do we know that this innovative energy work we’re doing here is not harmful? How and why did it come about? How do we know what we’re even doing here? It takes tremendous intuition, perception of energy flow and experimentation to figure out what we’re even doing. Honestly, Sarah Powers looks too young to have had the time to do all this in her lifetime (this one, at least).

What if it was not Earth energy that I needed right now – or ever? I have a strong kapha dosha (the Ayurvedic equivalent of Earth) – did I just aggravate it? When I read “balancing” Earth energy I interpreted this in the Ayurvedic sense, which means compensating with the opposite. I am not sure what I just did… Ayurveda teaches how to identify what your system needs at any given time, depending on disposition and season. It then teaches how to balance energies with their opposites. This can be done through a combination of diet, asana, herbs, etc. I think I might have just taken a pill without a prior diagnosis to determine whether I even needed it and now I’m dealing with the side effects.

Most likely, there’s more to insight yoga than I can glean from this DVD, but so far, I think I’ll stick with traditional yoga and Ayurveda before buying into innovative hybrid styles.