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kundalini yoga

 The Yoga of Awareness - dynamic, powerful, explicitly spiritual practice

Take a peak at some photos, the Kundalini Yoga experiment!

Kundalini Yoga is an ancient science of self-healing and a dynamic, powerful tool for expanding awareness. This system of yoga exercise and meditation promotes physical vitality and health, stimulates and balances the mind, and touches one’s innermost spirit. It is a complete science that combines posture (asana), movement, breathwork (pranayama), chanting (mantra) and meditation into powerful sets called kriyas (sequenced sets of exercises) that target specific benefits.

One of the ways Kundalini Yoga is set apart from other yoga is that exercises are very dynamic and active, involving movement with intense breathing patterns creating rhythmic exercise. This opens the body, increasing circulation, flexibility, and energy. Many exercises are designed to give flexibility to the spinal column, which is one of the foundations of physical health. Kundalini Yoga, through increasing body and spine flexibility, develops a youthful body.

The practice is an incredible experience in awakening and raising your consciousness, giving fullness of heart, while healing you on a cellular level. It can give you health, happiness and the ability to communicate while building character and stamina. And you don’t have to be an athlete to experience the sublime power of your creative potential being released.

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benefits

keep your body in shape, increase oxygen capacity, boost blood flow, balance the glandular system, strengthen the nervous system, increase natural immunity, have a strong and flexible mind in the face of stress and change, reduce stress-induced toxins such as adrenaline and cortisol, heighten self-awareness and vitality, harness mental and emotional energy, feel more in control of thoughts and feelings, enhance peace of mind, deepen concentration, find inner calm, access intuition and self-confidence, expand awareness, fulfill the soul's yearning for higher consciousness into daily life, and find your highest potential!

tuning in

Classes begin with a time to get grounded, be aware of the breath, and chant the Adi Mantra Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo three times. It means - I bow to the divine light/wisdom within myself and to the divinity of yoga, of the universe. This mantra calms the mind and links us to what is called the Golden Chain of teachers and yogic teachings. Often, it is followed by the Mangalan Charan Mantra Ad guray nameh, jugaad guray nameh, sat guray nameh, siree guru dayv-ay namey. Chanted three times, this acknowledges the primal, true, great unseen wisdom of the ages. It clears any doubt and opens us to guidance and protection.

warm up & kriya

Class typically includes warm-up postures, then a kriya -- a set of postures sequenced in a certain order for a specific reason. For example, there are kriyas for cleansing the liver, clearing depressing thoughts, strengthening the navel center, and balancing the glandular system/metabolism. Usually, eyes are closed, and often you are asked to put hands in a certain mudra (position), to chant (silently or out loud) and to focus within (for example, at the third eye). The practice is dynamic and challenging, but between postures there are pauses to rest in a seated or lying meditative pose. There are thousands of kriyas, so each class is different. Feel free to request certain types of kriyas. A kriya typically has repeated postures practiced with varied breathwork or chanting and may include a short meditation.

relaxation & gong meditation

The kriya is followed by a deep relaxation, lying on the floor on your back in corpse pose (feet about a foot apart and toes to side, hands resting on the floor next to your hips with the palms up). This pose helps regulate the body by letting the blood circulate, balancing the energy, and activating the parasympathetic (calming) part of the nervous system. Often, beautiful yoga chants or the gong is played. The gong is quite loud, so feel the vibrations in the body and allow the sounds to wash over you for a very healing experience. meditation. Usually, class ends with seated meditation practiced for set intervals, like 3 minutes or 11 minutes. Meditation may include breathwork, a mudra (specific hand position), a focal point, chanting and at times movement. With varied things to do at once, this type of meditation helps focus the mind, clearing thoughts and chatter.

closing of class

Class ends with a song and another mantra. The Long Time Sun Song is: May the long time sun shine upon you, All love surround you, And the pure light within you, Guide your way on. It is typically repeated twice, and then the last line is repeated three times. Class ends by chanting a mantra Sat Naam (truth -the reality of one’s existence- is my identity) to awaken the soul and help you get on your right path in life. Sat is chanted seven times longer than nam. The teacher closes with some inspiring words, then the teacher and students in yogic tradition bow together. Bowing brings circulation to the brain and stimulates the process of absorbing what was taught. Also, bringing the head lower than the heart, symbolizes going beyond the mere mental acceptance of the teachings to opening the heart to receiving them fully.

what can you do to enhance your experience?

Come to class hydrated, but do not eat anything substantial at least two hours beforehand. Wear comfortable, natural clothing and have bare feet. Sit in a different place each class (research shows we learn more when we have a different perspective). Notice how you are before class, during and after. Pay attention to your physical body, but also the clarity of your mind and your spirit. Be willing to feel whatever emerges for you, as Kundalini Yoga is challenging, and as you open your awareness, it can be even more challenging. Working through mind over matter (the little voice in your head saying you can not do it) empowers you and many benefits will emerge. Commit to a regular practice.

what to expect if you practice regularly?

You will gain awareness of yourself and be more conscious in life than previously. Physically you feel more vital, as Kundalini Yoga's chanting and poses (where your body is at certain angles) activate and balance the glandular system. This system impacts our brain chemistry, so improves our mood. Glandular balance, and breathwork brings prana (life energy) to your body and strengthens the nervous system as well. You find that your mind is calm and you feel focused and clear. Vitality and focus bring self-confidence, the ability to see things in perspective and to not get easily stressed out. So, you may be able to take on bigger challenges more easily and be more joyful about whatever comes your way

why don't you offer free trial classes?

Yoga involves an exhange of energy. If you come with nothing invested, you will get little or nothing from your experience. (Or, from past experience, people don't come even after reserving their space!)  In Kundalini Yoga, we call this IItarashtam tithar Kashtam - "Empty handed you come, empty handed you go. It's a law which should never be broken." -Yogi Bhajan.  That is why we do not offer free classes.

what is the history of kundalini yoga?

Kundalini Yoga was a secretive practice from India, until master teacher Yogi Bhajan arrived in the US in 1969 with a purpose: “I have come to create Teachers, not to gather disciples.”  For over 30 years, he traveled internationally teaching Kundalini Yoga, the Yoga of Awareness. In 1969, he founded 3HO-Happy, Healthy, Holy Organization, based on his first principle “Happiness is your  birthright.”  Since the 1970s, the now named KRI Aquarian Teacher Program has trained thousands of Kundalini Research Institute (KRI) certified teachers in almost 50 countries. In 1994, the International Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association (IKYTA) formed to further spread these teachings through united efforts of teachers worldwide.

 

NOTE from Cristin ~

In 2020, serious allegations of abuse and more against Yogi Bhajan are under consideration -- which is deeply disappointing and exceptionally upsetting. I never met him, but have felt past concern about attachment of some of my teachers to him as a teacher.  Many spiritual teachers have fallen down and what they taught can still lift us up. I know the power of Kundalini Yoga to touch the souls of and change people's lives in many positive ways, through teaching of many teachers and hearing my students, in nine countries I have taught or trained people in (I lived in five of those countries). At this point, I deeply consider how to move forward personally and professionally as part of KRI. I appreciate that KRI Trainers are in an amazingly transformative process with one intention to honor all truths and hear many voices, as well as open to the values of equity, diversity and community collaboration, in which I find hope. For me this is a process of healing and re-creating, self-initating and going within, and being in conscious conversations about the future and where we go together. Please be in touch as students (or teachers/trainers) if you long to be in co-created conversation: cristin@yogasimran.com.


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