Hey my loves and welcome to this first blog of my new Kundalini Yoga site. And this is Beginners Kundalini Yoga 101. Grab a cup of tea and read on.
This blog is home to my spiritual journey and yoga business as I move to a more virtual teaching experience. Firstly I thought I would start by giving you the low down on Kundalini Yoga. As a beginner this is what you need. Ensuring that when you take the plunge and join a live class you will know what to expect.
Kundalini Yoga! What is it? What do I need to know? How will it benefit me?
Well, I have put together a few little Beginners Kundalini Yoga pointers for you.
Pranayama, and conscious breathing exercises, are practiced in Kundalini initially to connect the mind, body & breath. Effectively these create strong chemical changes in thebody when combined with the movements.
The eye gaze , or focal point The Drishti is used to deepen your focus and awareness.
Mantras are incorporated throughout to utilize sound therapy and the sound vibrations within the body.
Asana and repetitive movements. These are used to release tension from the body and transfer energy around the body to strengthen, stretch and release.
Mudras. Beautiful hand gestures incorporated into yoga. They are energy ‘seals’ using the magnetic and electrical polarities in the fingers and hands.
Immediately when I first tried a Kundalini 3-minute warm-up, I felt cellularly different .
‘Kriya’ is a Sanskrit term which means action or to do. For instance in Kundalini Yoga a Kriya can be a set of exercises, movements or breath practices. They all lead to an overall benefit/goal, ‘Kriya to Open and Calm the Heart’. Some kriyas may have as many as 10 – 11 ‘parts’ or as few as 1.
To set you up for that first class here are some practices. As Beginners Kundalini Yoga practitioners you can start by practicing each for 1 minute building up to 3 minutes each.
Every class will begin with the Adi Mantra. Effectively this connects the practitioner to their ‘golden chain’ of teachers and becomes a point of reference and quieten the mind.
‘Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo‘ I bow to the divine teacher within
This can be chanted as many times as is needed to feel connected to your higher self and spiritually aware. However the general practice in group classes is 3 times. For example, I would use these in the following way – the first to ground and tune into myself, the second to connect to those around me, and thirdly to connect to the spiritual realm.
Breath of Fire is a powerful and detoxifying form of Pranayama breathing which heats up the body. So it is done by inhaling & exhaling through the nose. And on the exhale a slight naval pump is used to powerfully to the air, as the navel relaxes the inhale happens naturally.
This is similar to Kapalabhati in Hatha yoga, though the accent is on the exhale. In Beginners Kundalini Yoga aim for 1 breath per second, building speed gradually.
This powerful Pranayama (breath practice) detoxifies the body and oxygenates the blood. Being powered by the navel centre, it strengthens and charges up the solar plexus, the seat of our willpower and determination. This enables ands empowers you to have the strength and power to continue with the set practice. In all honesty, some kriyas are a real challenge!
Due to the detoxifying nature of the breath and the chemical changes in the body, dizziness may occur. Relieving this is easy focusing the eyes up to just behind the eye brows and drinking a glass of water.
However when pregnant or in the first couple of days of your period, practice Long Deep Breathing
Mostly practiced sitting in Easy Pose (Sukasana/Cross legged). The fingers are bent at the middle knuckle curling in towards the pads to the base of the fingers. Thumbs point towards the sky.
Raise arms straight at 60 degrees above the head. Focusing the eyes up to the third eye chakra begin breath of fire.
In conclusion this simple but super effective exercise strengthens and cleanses the lungs and opens the heart. And with thumbs pointing up, you are literally plugged into the higher realms. Equally as an extra benefit, the two hemispheres of the brain are balanced bringing mental clarity and a quiet mind.
In Easy Pose, hold onto the front ankle. Moving the spine through an arch and a curve, focusing on moving the heart centre back and forth. Eyes closed, inhale as you flex the spine forward, exhale as you curve the spine backwards.
A stiff spine can disrupt the flow of spinal fluid, stimulating the aging process and restricting the efficiency of the digestive system.
In easy pose, hands rest on knees. Circle the spine anticlockwise, churning & grinding the mid spine & abdomen. Inhale as you are forwards and exhale at the back. Half way switch directions.
As with spinal flexes, the mobility of the spine is paramount to our health and an incredible body. Spinal flexes work on the lower spine and lumbar region, Sufi Grinds focus on the middle part of the spine.
Bring your hands up onto your shoulders with fingers facing forwards and thumbs at the back. Keeping the elbows up and out to the sides, parallel to the ground begin twisting left & right. Inhale left and exhale right.
Vibrate the mantra Sat Nam in your head as you twist (sat left, Nam right). Allow your head to naturally follow the movements of the spine.
This wonderful mobility practice for the upper spine, eases tension and stiffness around the upper back, shoulders and neck. In addition the powerful breath opens and recharges the lungs, creating an immense energy which strengthens and enlarges the aura.
Standing on toes with feet out at 45 degrees, heels touching and knees bent deeply out to the side. Rest your hands on the floor. While inhaling straighten the knees taking the hips up and head low, keep hands resting on the floor, heels touching.
As you exhale, bend back to the starting position lift the head and dropping the hips. Continue rapidly with powerful breathing. To finish come up to Mountain Pose and take 5 long deep breaths through the nose. Feel the energy charging up your legs and into your higher chakras.
This wonderful exercise tones, shapes and strengthens the lower body whilst providing a cardiovascular workout .
Begin in mountain pose/Tadasana. Step back with your left foot, ensuring that both your feet are flat on the floor. Now hold both hands up in front of you with fingers folded back towards you and thumbs point up. Keeping the elbow high pull back the left arm, like pulling back a bow.
Focus the eyes on the right thumb out in front of you. Ground down through the legs and feel strong and bold like a warrior. This is great for focus and protection. Interestingly try it with both long deep breathing and breath of fire to see which creates the greatest effect. Switch sides.
This posture is wonderful for building up the strength in the navel centre, promoting willpower, determination and clarity of desire. In Addition focus and mental clarity is improved, strengthening your hips, quadriceps, shoulders and navel at the same time.
Moreover Kundalini Yoga is a practice that has been gifted to us to strengthen and improve our nervous system. Over the past 2000 years we have been living in the Piscean age, an age of religion, hierarchy and knowledge by the few. However the age of Aquarius is an age of great speed, knowledge by many and no secrets. Subsequently everything is available to us and life moves at great speed now. We require a strong body, clarity of mind and great compassion to live together and live happily.
Some people practice Kundalini Yoga to cope with the changing times, I practice because it makes me feel good.
One of my students said to me ‘I don’t know what it is Jo, but [after class] I just feel light’!
So how will you feel?
When you take the opportunity to try anything new, be it something you are unsure of, or something you have wanted to try for years and years ensure that you approach it with an open heart and an open mind. This Beginners Kundalini Yoga Blog is setting you up for great success.
Have a go, connect with your body, notice how you feel and then let me know how it goes.