After my latest trip to South East Asia, I was inspired to try something new for my personal yoga practice. Now that I’m back in Toronto, I joined a new yoga studio in my neighbourhood on Roncesvalles Ave. called Yoga Star. They offer a variety of health and wellness services in addition to yoga such as essential oil workshops, guided meditations, registered massage and holistic health. What I was particularly drawn to was the Kundalini Yoga, I have been introduced to the concept of Kundalini through Gabriel Bernstein when after her inspirational speech at Awesomeness Fest hosted by Mind Valley. She got up on the stage and guided all the participants through various Kundalini exercises and chants, such as ‘Breathe of Fire’ and the energy exertion and intensity of it I found quite empowering when Gabriel chanted and encouraged us to ‘commit to what we want’ as we breathed deeply and forcefully through our stomaches and holding our arms straight up above her head with our hands in fists and our thumbs extended. It was so different, but so powerful and I even was inspired to practice daily for awhile, so I made a mini video of this section and posted it on YouTube several years ago. If after this post, you’re inspired to try incorporating an invigorating chant and breath work practice into your day to get your vibrations rising, I recommend you try it.
Kundalini includes the eight limbs of yoga into each practice as classes include various meditations, mantras, asanas and movements linked to various breathing techniques and it is considered one of the more spiritual practices of yoga. It is called the yoga of awareness and awakening as it unleashes self-knowledge, creativity and heightens the intuition by balancing on and activating specific muscles, organs and systems of the body. Although Kundalini is nothing like a vinyasa flow class, it boasts some very important physical benefits such as activating the glands and organs, improving the immune system and blood circulation, it expands your lung capacity and strengthens the nervous system. The emotional benefits include a calmer disposition and mind, clearing the subconscious mind, developing/strengthening of intuition, includes many meditations (kriyas) to help push past blocks and boosts your mood through increased serotonin. Classes vary depending on the teacher but after a class, you will be holding a stronger vibration, feel a deeper sense of meaning and calmness and you will feel more alert, headstrong, motivated and physically stimulated. Also, people often wear white to Kundalini practice as enhances the aura and energetic field.
At Yoga Star, my Kundalini teacher is called David Aleksis and has been a dedicated practitioner of Kundalini Yoga since 1998. He is brings an unbridled enthusiasm, strength of spirit and good humour to every class. He is devoted to the promotion of this Yoga of Awareness and the profound positive effects it brings to the practitioner and he makes each student feel very comfortable, which is important since this is (to most) a new type of yoga. Since I was new to the practice, David graciously gave me a sheet of paper with some chants, translations and basic information which was relevant to the practice, it read:
Kundalini Chants Opening & closing chants: ‘Ong name, guru dev namo‘
This is the Adi manta that precedes any kundalini yoga practice. It is chanted 3 to 5 times and in doing so forms a channel connecting us with the ‘Golden Chain’ of Gurus, Teachers and Masters of Kundalini Yoga throughout the ages. We chant this mantra for protection and guidance. Ong is infinite creative energy in manifestation and activity Namo is reverent greetings implying humility Guru means teacher of wisdom Dev means ‘divine’ or ‘of God’ Namo reaffirms ‘humility and reverence’ In all it means, ‘I call upon Divine Wisdom’ Sunshine ar the close of any Kundalini Yoga Practice we sing the following simple song (twice) May the long time sun shine upon you, All the love surround you, And the pure light within you Guide your way on …followed by chanting Sat Nam (chant a long ‘sat’ followed by a
I practice Kundalini Yoga as much as I can with David, which is generally 3x a week on Tuesday & Friday mornings at 10 am, and Saturday morning at 11 am. Although I am not a Kundalini Yoga Teacher, I really resonate with this practice and find it invigorating. I often incorporating much of the Kundalini techniques such as pranayama, the use of mudras, and movements linked to breathe into my own practice or when I am teaching as I find them very useful in uniting the body, mind and soul.