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Daily Kundalini Yoga & Meditation with Jennifer

 

Kriya for Elevation Practice

 

Opening Posture: Easy Pose

Easy Pose Sukhasana (Soo-kaah-SUN-ah) — is a foundational posture used for seated meditation in lieu of Lotus Pose. The name Easy Pose can be misleading, as this posture requires hip flexibility and back strength in order to hold the pose for longer periods of time. For those with tight hips and/or those used to sitting in chairs, Easy Pose may require extra practice and warm up. It gets its name from the Sanskrit words, Sukha, meaning easy, and asana, meaning posture.

Step-by-Step Instructions 

  1. Sit on the floor. For those with tight hips, sit on top of a block, bolster, or folded towel.
  2. Cross one shin in front of the other, bringing each foot underneath the opposite knee.
  3. Relax your feet with the pinky toe edge resting on the floor.
  4. Sit with your pelvis in a neutral position
  5. On an inhale, roll your shoulders up to your ears and on an exhale, roll your shoulders down your back. This straightens your spine and improves posture. 
  6. Bring your head over your pelvis, creating one long line of energy up and down your body. Imagine that a string is pulling the crown of your head towards the ceiling. 
  7. Elongate your neck. Bring your chin parallel to the floor and gaze gently in front of you.
  8. Release every muscle in your face, including your forehead, scalp, and tongue. Fully relax your face while keeping the rest of your body active. 
  9. Place your hands on top of your knees. Palms can be facing the down or facing the sky with the option of taking a mudra position.

Benefits

– Improves posture
– Strengthens the back
– Improves concentration and focus
– Promotes relaxation

Precautions 

– Knee and hip injury

Modifications and Variations:

How to Use Yoga Props in Sukhasana:

– Elevate your hips by sitting up onto a block, bolster, or blanket to help tilt your pelvis forward and create length in your spine

– Support your knees by placing blocks, a bolster, or blankets underneath them to relax your hips and relieve tension around your knees

– Support your knees further by rolling up thin blankets or towels and sliding them behind your knee creases to create more space (and, therefore, less compression) around the joints

– Sit in a chair to create more elevation in your hips, support your lower back, and release any strain on your hips

Chants:

Adi Mantra: Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo (three times)

Translation: I bow to the Creative Wisdom, I bow to the Divine Teacher within”.

Comments: This mantra is used for “tuning in” to the divine flow and self-knowledge within each of us, and linking us to Yogi Bhajan and the Golden Chain of teachers. It is chanted at least three times at the start of each Kundalini Yoga class.

1. Ego Eradicator: (1 min to 3 min)

 

 

Comments: This pose works the arms, the heart, the lungs and the belly.

It oxygenates and energizes the body, strengthens the lungs and the magnetic field. It balances the hemispheres of the brain and brings the mind to a state of alertness.

Instructions:

  1. Sit in Easy Pose.
  2. Raise the arms to a 60 degree angle. Curl the fingertips onto the pads at the base of the fingers. Plug the thumbs into the sky.
  3. Eyes closed, concentrate above the head, and do *Breath of Fire.

To End

  1. Inhale and touch the thumb tips together overhead.
  2. Exhale and apply **mulbandh.
  3. Inhale and relax.

*Breath of Fire:

 

 

Breath of Fire is a rapid pumping of the navel that is light and rhythmic. There is little effort in the gentle pump of the belly as one moves air in and out of the nose. Rather, the navel is gently drawn towards the spine with each exhale.

The in and out breaths are equal in length, though the inhale comes more through relaxation than effort.

Breath of Fire invigorates the brain, purifies the blood, and strengthens the nervous system. Regular practice expands the lung capacity and increases vital energy. It’s a go-to practice for times when one is low on energy or battling addictive tendencies and needs a natural oxygen boost. It is also responsible for the “high” that many experience when they practice Kundalini Yoga, so be mindful not to overdo it! 

Breath of Fire:

– Releases deposits from the mucous linings and blood vessels
– Repairs the balance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems
– Strengthens the navel center
– Increases physical endurance
– Adjusts the psycho-electromagnetic field of the aura
– Boosts the immune system
– Synchronizes biorhythms

Breath of fire helps us to release tension that may have built up in our abdominal area over years. Subconscious wounds can be effortlessly released and cleared, without you even having to know what they are.

This miraculous technique can shift us out of fear and into the frequency of love. Just doing this exercise alone for two or three minutes per day can elevate you!

Instructions:

  1. Take your comfortable seat. Close your eyes and concentrate at the brow point, about a quarter of an inch above the root of the nose and the same distance inside your skull. 2
  2. Stick your tongue out and begin to pant like a dog. Notice how the belly draws in with the exhale. Note: if it doesn’t, see reverse breathing below.
  3. Once this becomes automatic, close your mouth and continue through your nose. Place your hands on your belly. Is it moving powerfully in and out? Or staying put? You should notice a gentle pump of the navel. 

Beginners are encouraged to start small, with 1-3 minutes of practice. Some people may experience dizziness or lightheadedness when first starting to practice. If this happens, take a break and return to your natural breath.

** 1. Mula (moola) Bandha: Root Lock

 

What: Root Lock is a subtle contraction of the muscles in the pelvic floor. It coordinates, stimulates, and balances the energies of the lower chakras. Moola bandha locks the energy at the lower abdomen and directs its flow into the central channel, or shushmana nadi.

How: From a seated position, gently pull the rectum in towards the sex organ, and lift the muscles of the pelvic floor. Males lift from the perineum, just between the scrotum and the anus; females lift internally, from the tip of the cervix. Broken down, this is three actions applied at once:

1) Contract and hold the muscles around the anus
2) Contract and hold the muscles around the sex organ
3) Contract the muscles of the lower abdomen and pull the navel in towards the spine.

When: Root Lock is frequently applied at the end of an exercise. It is sometimes applied, continuously or rhythmically, throughout a meditation or posture. Root Lock can be practiced on the internal or external breath retention.

Why: Root Lock crystallizes the effect of an exercise. It blends prana and apana at the navel center which opens the shushmana for kundalini energy to flow through the spine. It also stimulates the proper flow of spinal fluid.

Moola bandha stimulates the pelvic nerves and tones the uro-genital and excretory systems. It is helpful in psychosomatic and degenerative illnesses. It relieves depression and promotes good health. It helps to realign the physical, mental, and psychic bodies in preparation for spiritual awakening.

Contraindication: Do not practice root lock during menstruation.

The Knot of Brahma

When you apply moola bandha consciously and correctly, it is said to untie the knot of Brahma. The knot of Brahma is located within the first chakra, at the base of your spine. When the knot is untied and the energy is flowing smoothly, you feel balanced and free from your attachments to form and the senses.

 

2. Spine Flex: (1 min to 3 min)

 

 

Comments: This pose works the sacrum, the spine, the rib cage, the heart and, to some extent, the arms. It improves the flexibility of the sacrum, the hips and the spine.

In yogic tradition, age is measured by the flexibility of the spine, so doing this exercise makes us younger. This exercise quickly improves our mental focus and alertness, so it makes our brains younger too. In yogic tradition, it is also said that a flexible spine means a flexible mind.

Instructions:

  1. Sitting in Easy Pose, grasp the shins with both hands.
  2. As you inhale, flex the spine forward and lift the chest. 
  3. Exhale, flex the spine back, keeping the shoulders relaxed and the head straight.
  4. Continue rhythmically with deep breaths.

To End

  1. Inhale, exhale, relax.

3. Spinal Twist: (1 min to 4 min)

 

 

Comments: Spinal twist works the waist, the belly, the rib cage, the heart and the spine.

This exercise stimulates the lower back, or lumbar spine. It stimulates and assists the digestive system and develops flexibility in the hips and torso. The powerful breathing activates the lungs and oxygenates the body and brain.

Instructions:

  1. In Easy Pose, grab the shoulders, with the thumbs in back and the fingers in front.
  2. Keep the elbows high, with the arms parallel to the ground.
  3. Inhale as you twist the head and torso to the left. Exhale as you twist to the right.

To End

  1. Inhale, facing straight forward. Exhale and relax.

4. Front Life Nerve Stretch: (1 min to 3 min)

 

 

Comments: This posture stretches and stimulates the muscles of the lower spine, pelvis and legs as well as the upper back, kidneys and adrenal glands.

It most significantly involves the stimulation of the sciatic nerves, which are known in kundalini yoga as the ‘life nerves’. This is because these nerves are responsible for supplying motor and sensory information to the legs. They are the longest nerves in the human body, beginning at the lower back and running through each buttock and down each leg all the way to the back of each foot.

The sciatic nerve is believed to affect our nervous system, digestive system and emotional balance. Keeping this nerve flexible is thought to be important for maintaining the strength of these systems.

Instructions:

  1. Stretch both legs straight out in front.
  2. Grab the toes (grab what you can) in finger lock. (Index finger and middle finger pull the toe, and the thumb presses the nail of the big toe.
  3. Exhale, as you lengthen the core of the spine, bending forward from the navel, continuing to lengthen the spine. The head follows last.
  4. Inhale, use the legs to push up. The head comes up last.
  5. Continue with deep, powerful breathing.

To End

  1. Inhale up and hold the breath briey.
  2. Stay up and exhale completely, holding the breath out briefly. Inhale and relax.

Modifications: Seated Forward Fold props

 

– Elevate your hips by sitting up onto any prop of your choice to allow your pelvis to tilt forward and your spine to elongate

– Place a bolster, blocks, or a rolled up blanket underneath your knees to encourage a bend that will reduce the pull from your hamstrings

– Loop a strap around the balls of your feet and press your feet firmly into the strap. Hold the other end of the strap with each hand and pull back against it. Let the opposition of energy between your feet and your hands create length in your spine as you fold forward so you use muscular energy rather than gravity to release down

– Fold a strap over itself about four or five times until you have a little bit of structure for padding to slide in your hip creases to reduce the compression at the joint space

– Place a bolster between your torso and your legs to surrender your body weight on top of to passively release forward and down without muscular tension

5. Modified Maha Mudra: (1 min to 2 min)

 

Comments: This posture is also a life nerve stretch and has all the benefits of the front life nerve stretch for all the same reasons. However, because in this posture the heel is tucked into the perineum, there is extra stimulation to the first chakra where the kundalini energy originates.

These front stretches also bring circulation to the upper torso in a way that helps digestion and the elimination process.

Breath of fire in this exercise means it oxygenates and energizes the body, strengthens the lungs and the magnetic field. As I previously said, Breath of Fire also balances the hemispheres of the brain and brings the mind to a state of alertness.

Instructions:

  1. Sit with the right heel tucked into the perineum and the left leg extended forward.
  2. Grasp the big toe of the left foot with both hands, applying a pressure against the toenail.
  3. Pull Neck Lock.
  4. Exhale, bring the elbows to the ground as you lengthen the spine, bending forward from the navel, continuing to lengthen the spine, bringing the head to the knee. Spine stays straight.
  5. Hold, with Breath of Fire.
  6. Inhale. Exhale and stretch the head and torso forward and down.

To End:

  1. Hold the breath out briey. 

Breath: Breath of Fire

6. Switch Legs: (1 min to 2 min)

 

Instructions:

  1. Inhale, switch legs and repeat the exercise.

To End:

  1. Relax

Breath: Breath of Fire

7. Life Nerve Stretch: (1 min to 2 min)

 

 

Comments: This exercise works the legs, hips, sacrum, spine and arms.

It has all the benefits of the previous life nerve stretches.

The powerful breathing strengthens the heart and lungs and oxygenates the body and brain.

This exercise increases the flexibility of the spine, sacrum and hamstrings and charges the magnetic field.

Instructions:

  1. Spread the legs wide, grasping the toes as in Front Life Nerve Stretch.
  2. Inhale and stretch the spine straight, pulling back on the toes.
  3. Exhale and, bending at the waist, bring the head down to the left knee.
  4. Inhale up in the center position and exhale down, bringing up the head to the right knee.
  5. Continue with powerful breathing.

Breath Powerful

8. Center Stretch: (1 min to 2 min)

 

Instructions:

  1. Then inhale up in the center position and exhale, bending straight forward from the waist touching the forehead to the floor.
  2. Continue this up and down motion.

To End

  1. Inhale up, stretching the spine straight.
  2. Exhale, bringing the forehead to the floor. Hold the breath out briefly as you stretch forward and down.
  3. Inhale and relax.

Breath Powerful

9. Cobra Pose: (1 min to 3 min)

 

 

Comments: This pose powerfully works the arms and spine and opens the front body. This exercise is very good for improving the health and strength of the back and spine. It tones the back muscles and the tissues connected to the spine.

It improves circulation of blood and oxygen, especially throughout the spinal and pelvic regions.

It strengthens the arms, particularly the triceps, as well as the deltoids in the shoulders.

It stretches and strengthens the chest muscles, invigorates the heart by clearing the passages of the heart and lungs. It helps to ease symptoms of asthma.

It stretches and strengthens the abdominals and improves digestion. It decreases stiffness in the lower back.

It improves menstrual irregularities.

It elevates the mood.

It firms and tones the buttocks.

It stimulates organs in the abdomen, like the kidneys. It relieves stress and fatigue.

It soothes sciatica.

It balances the kundalini energy and draws the kundalini energy up to the higher centers, so we can use it in the following exercises.

Instructions:

  1. Lie on the stomach with the palms at on the floor under the shoulders. The heels are together with the soles of the feet facing up.
  2. Inhale into Cobra Pose, arching the spine, vertebra by vertebra, from the neck to the base of the spine until the arms are straight. Begin Breath of Fire.

To End

  1. Then inhale, arching the spine to the maximum. Exhale and hold the breath out briefly, apply mulbandh. Inhale.
  2. Exhaling slowly, lower the arms and relax the spine, vertebra by vertebra, from the base of the spine to the top.
  3. Relax, lying on the stomach with the chin in the floor and the arms by the sides.

Breath: Breath of Fire

 

*Variation: Sphinx Pose:

 

 

  1. Lie on your belly, legs side by side. Firm your tailbone toward your pubis and lengthen it toward your heels. Then, rotate your thighs inwardly by rolling your outer thighs toward the floor. This helps broaden and lengthen your lower back and sacrum (the downward-facing triangular bone at the back of your pelvis) to protect it in a backbend.
  2. Reach actively through your toes to the wall behind you. As you move into the pose, be sure to continue lengthening your tail toward your heels to protect your lower back. Your buttocks should be firm but not clenched. While your legs are active, your tongue, eyes, and brain should be quiet.
  3. Now set your elbows under your shoulders and your forearms on the floor parallel to each other. Inhale and lift your upper torso and head away from the floor into a mild backbend.

10. Shoulder Shrugs: (1 min to 2 min)

 

 

Comments: Shoulder shrugs work the back, shoulders, clavicle area and upper arms. These areas of the body are often neglected leading to deterioration.

Shrugs take the stress out of the upper back and neck by creating space and new connections in that area.

They lubricate the back muscles that get stuck in our often sedentary days.

They calm the nervous system.

It makes your entire back stronger and smarter.

This exercise also balances the upper chakras and activates the higher brain centers.

Instructions:

  1. Sit in Easy Pose. Place the hands on the knees.
  2. Inhale and shrug the shoulders up toward the ears. Exhale and drop the shoulders down. Continue rhythmically with powerful breathing.

To End

  1. Inhale. Exhale and relax.

Breath Powerful

 

11. Neck Rolls: (1 min to 2 min)

 

Comments: The shoulders remain relaxed and motionless. The neck should be allowed to gently stretch as the head circles around. This exercise is a dynamic stretching exercise that relaxes and stretches the neck muscles and the cervical spine.

It can help alleviate any discomfort or stiffness in the neck and help prevent neck stiffness, injuries and pain.

Instructions:

To the Right

  1. Sit in Easy Pose. Begin rolling the neck clockwise in a circular motion, bringing the right ear toward the right shoulder, the back of the head toward the back of the neck, the left ear toward the left shoulder and the chin toward the chest.

To the Left (1 min to 2 min)

  1. Reverse the direction of the neck rolls and continue.

To End

  1. Bring the head to a central position and relax.

12. Sat Kriya: (3 min to 7 min)

 

 

Comments: Sat Kriya works the legs, the torso and the arms.

It is such a powerful exercise it’s considered a complete Kriya in its own right.

It is also known as ‘The Everything Kriya’. It contains almost all the benefits of kundalini yoga. Simply put, it raises the kundalini energy as the continuous ‘squeeze-release’ action creates a powerful pump for the kundalini energy. This pump action circulates the kundalini energy through all the chakras, improves digestion and strengthens the nervous system and magnetic field.

On a physical level, when the exercise is properly done, it gives the body the energy it needs to heal and regenerate every organ and cell.

Sat Kriya works primarily on the lower triangle – the first, second and third chakras. The lower triangle corresponds to the earliest stages of our human development. For example, the first chakra relates to birth, infancy, the issues of fundamental security, beingness, and belonging. Practicing Sat Kriya helps us to excavate any deeply entrenched wounds from our early life, healing mental and psychological imbalances and childhood wounds.

Sat Kriya also helps heal sexual dysfunctions, including impotency, premature ejaculation, and sexual phobias. It strengthens the entire sexual system by stimulating the natural flow of sexual energy.

Instructions:

  1. Sit on the heels with the arms overhead and the palms together.
  2. Interlace the fingers except for the index fingers, which point straight up. Men cross the right thumb over the left thumb; women cross the left thumb over the right.
  3. Begin to chant Sat Naam emphatically in a constant rhythm about 8 times per 10 seconds. Chant the sound Sat from the navel point and solar plexus, and pull the navel all the way in and up. On Naam relax the navel.

To End

  1. Inhale and squeeze the muscles tight from the buttocks all the way up the back past the shoulders. Mentally allow the energy to flow through the top of the skull.
  2. Exhale. Inhale deeply. Exhale completely and apply the mulbandh with the breath held out.
  3. Inhale and relax.

 

Modifications

 

– As always, start by elevating your hips by sitting onto any prop that supports you. In Virasana in particular, you may wish to place multiple props under your seat to really lift your hips high

– Roll up thin blankets or towels and slide them behind your knee creases to create more space within the joints

– Roll up thin blankets or towels and slide them underneath your ankle joints to provide some cushioning and to decrease the angle of the stretch

 

 

13. Plank Pose: (up to several mins)

 

 

Step by Step:

– From all fours bring your shoulders over your wrists, fingers spread, middle finger pointing forward. Press your hands into the floor, firm the upper arms in towards each other.

– Draw the lower belly in and up.

– Extend one leg back with your toes tucked and then the other leg, so you are in a high push-up position. Your body is in a straight line from head to heels.

– Slide your shoulder blades down along the spine, firm them into the back and press the space between the shoulder blades up towards the ceiling.

– Engage your thigh muscles and lengthen the tailbone towards your heels.

– Keep pushing the floor away evenly with the palms of the hands and imagine you’re pressing the heels back against a wall.

– Draw the legs together without actually moving them. This creates more core strength and stability.

– Look at the floor slightly forward, jaw relaxed. Breath is even and steady.

– You can stay in this pose anywhere between 5 breaths to a couple of minutes.

– To come out of the pose, push yourself back into Downward Facing Dog or lower the knees to the floor and rest in Child’s pose.

 

Beginners’ tips:

– Think about the front of the body drawing up towards the back of the body.

– Don’t forget about your thighs – engaging the thigh muscles will also help to activate the abdominal strength you need for Plank pose.

– Try squeezing a block between your thighs to feel the action of the legs drawing together

– Build your strength up by practising Half-Plank with your knees on the floor. Keep a straight line from your knees to your head.

– If you are new to yoga, gradually increase the time you spend on your hands in poses like Plank and Downward Facing Dog so that you can build up strength in the wrist muscles.

 

14. Deep Relaxation: (5 min to 11 min)

 

Comments: Deep relaxation allows you to enjoy and consciously integrate the mind/body changes which have been brought about during the practice of this kriya. It allows you to sense the extension of the self through the magnetic field and the aura and allows the physical body to deeply relax.

Instructions:

  1. Relax in Easy Pose or on the back with the arms at the sides, palms up.

 

15. Deep Relaxation: (5 min to 11 min)

 

Comments: The Long Time Sun song is used to end the Kundalini Yoga classes. This is our closing prayer, and so is used to end a Kundalini Yoga practice, along with three repetitions of Sat Nam.

May the Long Time Sun Shine Upon You was originally written by Mike Heron from the Incredible String Band.  For more information and gratitude to Mike Heron for this beautiful song, please see the article “Where the Long Time Sun Shine Upon You… Where it all Began”, as shared in a 2009 Aquarian Times Magazine.

Lyrics:

May the Long Time Sun Shine Upon You
All Love Surround You
And the Pure Light Within You
Guide Your Way On
Sat Nam Sat Nam Sat Nam

Props:

The different pillows Jennifer suggests:

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