Review by Sanddra Wismer
Authors: Machelle M. Seibel, M.D. and Hari Kaur Khalsa
Description: Soft cover book (276 pages). Published 2002 by Penguin Putnam. Retails for $28.99 CDN
Hari Kaur Khalsa is one of the most respected Kundalini yoga and meditation teachers in the world, and has created specialized yoga programs for pregnant women, senior citizens, and children. Machelle M. Siebel, M.D., is a reproductive endocrinologist at the Fertility Center of New England and a clinical professor of gynecology and obstetrics at Boston University School of Medicine. Both authors have extensive experience and have published works in their areas of expertise.
In the preface the authors outline the purpose of this book as a woman’s journey to finding her inner power and self love in a society that places many assumptions and expectations on women. The message is positive and inspiring and speaks passionately to the reader as they write “you will be inspired to practice, teach and enjoy each breath living in the light of your own radiance.” Indeed, this message of living with joy is carried throughout the book from cover to cover.
The book is broken into 11 chapters and 3 appendixes. Chapter 1 is an introduction to yoga philosophy geared specifically to women. Chapter 2 is an introduction to basic Kundalini techniques. Chapter 3 details a beginners Kundalini session. Chapter 4 discusses moon centers, changes, and cycles that occur throughout life. Chapters 5-11 each cover a major aspect of female health and/or transition time. They are entitled Menstruation, Sexuality, Pregnancy Childbirth and Postpartum, Perimenopause and Menopause, Food and Digestion, Self Healing, Natural Beauty. The appendixes include charts and a large volume of information for reference and are entitled Natural Remedies for Common Complaints, Vitamins and Minerals for a Healthy Diet, Calcium Calorie and Fat Content of Common Foods.
I really enjoyed this book on a number of levels. The first being the enormous amount of practical and relevant information for women who are searching to find a connection with their inner spirit. The detailed format of each chapter is broken down to encompass sections on: Yogic philosophy, spirituality and historical viewpoint; experiential practice with pictures; meditation; relaxation; scientific benefits to the specific yoga exercises; food and supplement recommendations with some recipes. For a subject that can be so deeply complex as Kundalini Yoga, the authors manage to present this work of information in an organized format with clear and simple language. This format makes for easy reference and location of the material once you are familiar with the book.
Secondly, I was excited to find that the author’s enthusiasm and commitment to the journey of self empowerment is carried beyond the information they include in the book. Each chapter ends with an experiential section entitled Yoga at Home – Questions for Further Growth. These questions and exercises are beyond the information and practices discussed in detail within the chapter and offer the reader an opportunity to continue a self exploration of the subject beyond the scope of the book.
Thirdly, I thoroughly enjoyed the style and language of the writing used to express the authors goal of bringing women home to themselves. The warm writing style speaks passionately and directly to the reader of the authors belief in a woman’s’ ability to heal herself, connect with her inner spirit, live a self empowered life and radiate with the joy of being female. This message is present throughout each chapter as the authors remain true to their goal, and the reader cannot help but be moved and inspired.
This book was a joy to read and practice with. The female spiritual perspective made it a very personal experience that was simple to follow and easily integrated into my own existing practices. The combination of spiritual practices and medical knowledge create a work that can be used as a reference book and pulled from the shelf time and time again. It is not often that I come across a book that I consider to be a work of reference as well as a joy to read. Overall, it is a powerfully inspiring guide to the beginning studies of Kundalini yoga.