Basics of Kundalini Yoga & Meditation Classes
Kundalini Yoga classes are conducted every day at the KC Kundalini Yoga Center, 3525 Walnut Street in Old Hyde Park, Kansas City. Classes generally consist of "Tuning In" with a mantra to join the finite self with the Infinite, then warm-ups, and a Kriya (complete series of exercises that are organized in a particular way for a specific effect), then a meditation and/or deep relaxation, sometimes accompanied by the gong.
Wear comfortable clothing, preferably natural fiber, which allows you to move freely.
Use a mat, blanket of natural fiber or sheepskin to protect the spine while lying on the back.
Avoid eating heavy foods 2 hours before your practice.
Never practice Kundalini Yoga while using recreational drugs/alcohol.
Practice in a quiet space, preferably without a telephone or TV to distract you.
Bring your full attention to yourself in the present, and repeat the mantra:
Ong namo, Guru dev namo
Ong namo means “I call on the infinite creative consciousness that guides all action.”
Guru is teacher or embodiment of the wisdom that one is seeking. Dev means invisible. This connects you to your higher self, the source of guidance and protection. This guidance will help you to attend to the feedback your body is giving you about how far to stretch, how to move, etc.
Sit in a comfortable posture with the spine straight.
Press the palms together at the heart center, with the thumbs pressed gently in to the sternum. This stimulates the neutral, meditative mind.
As you exhale, chant the words Ong Namo, using the entire breath to produce the sound. As you repeat Ong, press the tongue against the roof of the mouth, which stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands. Take a half breath, and repeat Guru Dev Namo.
Sounds or words with positive meanings, such as the above, which may give focus during yoga, meditation or other activities. Many of these mantras are in the ancient Sanskrit language. They enable you to resist distractions caused by the hundreds of thought which pop into your head, especially when you settle down for yoga or meditation. The positive nature of the mantra helps to neutralize negative thoughts, diminishing the harmful effects on the body.
Sat Nam is the basic mantra for Kundalini Yoga/meditation. Sat is truth and Nam is essence or identity. Repeating this mantra helps you to realize and focus your true self.
Sa – Birth
Ta – Life
Na – Death/Transformation
Ma – Rebirth
The rhythm and depth of the breath are correlated with different states of health, consciousness and emotion. You can control the breath to produce different effects in the body/mind.
Long, deep breathing – relax the chest, shoulders, and abdomen. The mouth is closed, and both the inhale and the exhale are through the nose unless otherwise directed. As you inhale, relax the abdomen and the diaphragm, allowing the lungs to fill completely. The abdomen will push out with a full inhale. With the exhale, simply allow the abdomen to relax back in. The shoulders remain level and are not raised during this practice. For relaxation, practice a one-minute breath – 20 seconds inhaling, 20 seconds holding in, and 20 seconds exhaling.
Breath of fire – rapid breathing through the nose (2-3 breaths per second), pumping the abdomen out with the inhale and in with the exhale. Give equal effort to the inhale and the exhale. This is an energizing and cleansing breath, which brings lots of oxygen to the blood stream and releases toxins through the lungs. This strengthens shaky nerves and increases the lung capacity. Great for smokers who want to cut back or quit.
Easy Pose – The basic meditative posture. Cross-legged position, with the spine straight. The lower spine is pulled forward, chest out, shoulders relaxed and level, head erect with the chin parallel to the floor. The wrists rest comfortably on the knees.
Rock Pose – kneeling with the knees bent, sitting on the heels. Tops of the feet are on the floor, and heels are straight up, pressing into the sciatic nerve in the buttocks. The spine is straight, as in easy pose. The hands are resting on the thighs, unless otherwise directed. This posture is very beneficial to the digestive system.
Corpse Pose – lie on the back, with no arch in the spine. Relax with the arms along the sides, without touching the sides, and the palms up.
Crow Pose – Inhale up into a standing position with the arms straight out in front at shoulder height, palms down. Then exhale down into a squatting position, feet flat on the floor, with the arms straight out and palms down. Keep the spine as straight as possible.
One or more exercises and/or meditations which produce a specific state of mind/body. Specific exercises are done in a specific sequence, for a specific period of time, for a specific effect. Not all sets of exercises are kriyas.
An important part of any exercise is the relaxation following it. Unless otherwise specified, allow 1 – 3 minutes of relaxation in a comfortable position after each exercise. Always end your yoga practice with a longer period of deep relaxation. This allows the energy and fluids to circulate freely throughout the body, with the muscles aligned and relaxed, and allows the body/mind to integrate the experience.
Concluding a Set
To ground yourself and bring your attention back, when lying on the back, a healthy way to end a set is:
Rotate the feet and hands in small circles, first in one direction and then the other.
Cat stretch – keeping the shoulders and left leg flat on the floor, bring the arms over the head and the right foot to the left knee. Then stretch the right knee over and touch the floor on the left side. Switch sides, keeping the arms stretched over the head and stretching the left knee over to touch the floor on the right side.
Briskly rub the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands together, stimulating the 72,000 nerve endings and circulation.
Bring the knees to the chest, wrap the arms around the knees and rock forward and back on the spine, inhaling forward, exhaling back. Rock yourself up into easy pose.
Sitting in easy pose, bring the palms together at the heart center, into prayer pose, eyes closed. Inhale deeply and treat yourself to self-healing energy. Exhale and send loving, healing energy to others you know who need it and to everyone in general. (You will receive ten times what you send out.)
Sing to finish:
“May the long time sun shine upon you. . .
All love surround you. . .
And the pure light within you. . .
Guide your way on.”
Drink lots of water to flush the toxins which have been released from the muscles and organs into the system. Maintain this relaxed mental/emotional state for as long as possible. When you are distracted, focus on your breath and return to a relaxed state.