Tomorrow I start teaching Kundalini Yoga specifically as it relates to overcoming addictive and compulsive behavior + and sustaining sobriety (see here for full details). I started this blog for many reasons, but primarily to share the practices I have learned that have helped me make phenomenal leaps in my own life. Kundalini tops that list, and here is my first entry in what will be a weekly feature.
Kundalini for me is not just a yoga practice. It's my life practice.
Without exaggeration it is what has shaped who I am today, and been the agent of change for me in EVERY corner of my life.
Kudalini came on the scene in my world early 2013, I had heard Gabrielle Bernstein mention it at one of her talks, and I just knew it was mine. In that way you know about something before even knowing what the bleep it is. It sounded so weird. It sounded like home.
My first class came shortly after. I was in New York, I was severely hungover, and I needed a yoga fix to snap me back. The thought of doing my usual Bikram made me want to barf, so I googled Kundalini and found a class a few blocks away that fit my timeframe. I had NO idea what I was getting myself into or really even what the hell it was.
I spent the next 90 minutes doing things I wouldn't have considered yoga. There was no downward facing dog, there was a lot of chanting, there was a lot of shaking, the teacher was in her 70s, and she was wearing a turban.
It felt more like a cult than a yoga class, and my Lululemon twinset felt slightly out of place.
I stayed. I gave in, went with it, and in that 90 minutes something happened that hadn't ever in my 9 year yoga practice to such an extent: I felt a sense of deep empowerment.
I found some online classes and practiced the remainder of that business trip, and as I practiced and road tested whatever I could get my hands on - whether it be a quick 11-minute meditation or a full 90-minute practice - I was blown away by the variety of meditations and yoga sets (kriyas) available to me, and the effectiveness of the results.
Kundalini is set up in a way that each meditation, chant, breath practice, or yoga practice delivers a specific result. For instance, there are meditations to stop cold fear, to promote digestion, to heal the spirit, strengthen will power, prevent panic attacks, even break addiction. I ended up using it quite specifically to address the issues along the path of my recovery, as they came up. Like medicine.
There is no way I could describe to you the power that is knowing kundalini in a blog that you would actually read. It's too much. But what I can tell you is this: If you are looking for something that will transform you, if you want to know how to control your body and your energy and your mind and your heart and your LIFE - regardless of what your story is - then you are looking for Kundalini.
It is not just yoga. It is more like the owners manual on how to be the most powerful, effective, happy human being you can be. I almost dare to say that everything you want for yourself is on the other side of practicing Kundalini and understanding how to use Kundalini in your life.
If you want to try it out here's a great meditation to start with. It's the first one I ever tried on my own, and is called the Tattva Balance Beyond Stress and Duality. This mediation is GREAT for when you just need to calm the eff down or escape a negative mindset. It works powerfully and quickly and you can practice it for as little as 3 minutes to get the full effect. I've used it in bathroom stalls, on airplanes, and once mid-fight with someone ("excuse me I need to do this weird thing before I ruin our friendship.").
Here is a terrible picture of me practicing it (I'm working on the photography thing folks) and written instructions.
Sit in an Easy Pose, with a the chin pulled slightly in.
Mudra (Hand/arm position).
Raise the arms with the elbows bent until the hands meet at the level of the heart in front of the chest. The forearms make a straight line parallel to the ground. Spread the fingers of both hands. Touch the fingertips and thumb tips of opposite hands together. Create enough pressure to join the first segments of each finger. The thumbs are stretched
back and point toward the torso. The fingers are bent slightly due to the pressure. The palms are separated.
Fix your eyes at the tip of the nose. (Yes, it will feel like you are cross eyed. But stick with it. To make sure you are staring in the right place, you can put your finger to the tip of your nose and look at it.)
Inhale smoothly and deeply through the nose in one stroke (pull the air down the back of the throat). Exhale through rounded lips in 8 equal emphatic strokes. On each exhale, pull the Navel Point in sharply. I always pretend I'm slowly letting air out of a balloon. At the 8th breath the air should empty completely.
Continue for 3 minutes. Build the practice slowly to 11 minutes.
Inhale deeply, hold the breath in for 10-30 seconds, and exhale.
Inhale again and shake the hands (GO BUCK WILD HERE! - SHAKE IT OUT!)
30 seconds, feel the change in energy. Specifically, feel for a buzzing feeling in the tips of your fingers and around your heart.