12 May

Kundalini Yoga Resources

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about where to go for more information on Kundalini Yoga – questions I LOVE to get, because it means this practice is really resonating for people. Here’s where I send them…

3HO.org

The best place to start for all things Kundalini Yoga: 3HO.org, the nonprofit organization founded in 1969 to “share the teachings of Yogi Bhajan so that they may serve, inspire, and empower humanity to be healthy, happy, and holy”. Here you’ll find a great overview of Kundalini Yoga, lots of practice sets or kriyas (free!), information on events like Summer Solstice and Women’s Camp, and lots more. This is also where you can request your spiritual name.

Kundalini Yoga by Shakta Kaur Khalsa

I’m forever in debt to my friend, Rita, who took me to my first Kundalini class in Chicago – what changes that “welcome, neighbor” gesture ushered into my life! When I moved back to Austin, she gave me the book, Kundalini Yoga, as a going away present. I still think this is the most accessible intro to Kundalini in book form. (Thanks, Rita!)

Two other faves: The Kundalini Yoga Experience and I Am A Woman: Creative, Sacred, and Invincible. The Kundalini Yoga Experience is my go-to for chakra detail, with an overview of the chakra system, and a page dedicated to each individual chakra detailing attributes of balance/unbalance, physical location and body associations, colors, elements, etc., etc. And I Am A Woman… well, I just love this book. Yogi Bhajan had a lot to say about the role and aspects of woman (power, intuition, creativity, radiance, the polarities of woman and mother,…) and this manual dives deep into those teachings. The book isn’t just for women, though – many of the kriyas and meditations are appropriate for a public, co-ed class.

I hope this helps you on your journey – sat nam!

05 Feb

Withstanding the Pressure of Time, and Our Nervous System

Last night at Be The Change, we worked through the Kriya to Withstand the Pressure of Time.  Most of us can relate to feeling the pressure of time – it’s a hallmark of the age in which we live.  The devices that we carry around with us allow us to be contacted at any hour of the day; feeding us information, making demands on us, and entertaining us.  It can be tough to find even a moment of downtime.

 

Hourglass

en.wikipedia.org

Yogi Bhajan recognized that this would be our primary struggle in the Aquarian Age.  In fact, one of his five sutras for the age is, ‘When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off.’  Last night’s kriya addresses that pressure by tuning up the nervous system.

 

For those of us who are feeling a bit removed from our high school science classes (me, too!), perhaps a review of the nervous system is in order…

 

The nervous system consists of our brain and spinal cord (the Central Nervous System, or control center) and the cranial and spinal nerves that run throughout our bodies (the Peripheral Nervous System, or the communication lines).  The whole system is designed to relay messages throughout the body – telling our feet to move when we walk, telling our eyes to close when we look into the sun, telling our hearts to beat every minute of the day (hopefully!).  It relays messages to our skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscles, as well as our glands – parts of our bodies that “work” when we’re thinking and when we’re not.

 

Here’s a helpful diagram of the system:

 

The Central Nervous System

en.wikipedia.org

 

So what does the nervous system have to do with feeling like there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it?  The nervous system is the human body’s communication system – sort of like (a lot of) telephone lines that tell our bodies how to react to stimuli.  This includes our fight or flight response, a physical reaction that should get triggered when we’re facing the jaws of a lion in the jungle, or an oncoming bus on the street – but one that often goes off when we’re worried that we won’t get tomorrow’s PowerPoint presentation done on time.  In our current age, our bodies tend to overreact to unfamiliar stimuli, producing stress responses that can have serious physical consequences.

 

The Kriya to Withstand the Pressure of Time helps us to tune up this system on a physical level by challenging muscles throughout the body and encouraging stamina.  On a more spiritual level, and through our meditation practice, we can create balance by bringing ourselves back to the present moment (the only moment that we have), and listening to the inner teacher.  Often, stress comes from feeling like we need to go out and get something that we don’t have.  Yogi Bhajan would remind us that the key to our success is to be still and allow things to come to us.

 

Resources for this class:
02 Jan

40 Days

I’ve decided to start off the year with two 40-day commitments.  I’ve done this before, with positive results; along with the habit-forming part of it, I’ve found that it’s a good way to mark a new chapter, to set a new foundation for things to come.  This time, I want to get back to a daily yoga practice (I’ve taken a break due to a sore knee and a bit of burn-out, truth be told) and I’d also like to make writing a bigger priority.  So, with that, my 40-day challenge…

1. Daily Sadhana

Okay, not the 2 1/2 hour kind.  I realize I haven’t said much (if anything) about my Kundalini yoga practice on this site, so might as well just jump in with the crazy and let you decide if you’re into it.   The word sadhana refers to a daily spiritual practice.  Many people follow the Aquarian Sadhana, a practice that takes about 2 1/2 hours, and is usually performed at 4:30 in the morning.  You can read more about sadhana here.

I’ll occasionally practice an Aquarian Sadhana, but it’s typically only for special times of the year – I’m just not ready to commit to the whole enchilada.  Here’s what my daily practice looks like:

– Tune in with the Adi Mantra

– 10-minute warm-up series, which includes stretch pose, a counter-pose where I’m rolled into a ball, and ego eradicator

– 11-minute meditation

I’ll often use the 11 minutes for silent meditation, but this time, I wanted to get back to a prescribed meditation.  I settled on the Sodarshan Chakra Kriya.  Here’s the brief description from 3HO: ‘One of the greatest transformational meditations, the most effective way to clear your subconscious garbage.’  Sounds good, right?  I’ll practice that for 11 minutes, and follow it up with 11 minutes of silent meditation.

Wow.  I had a little more to say about that than I thought I would.

2. Write (here, on this blog) every day

Yes, every day for 40 days.  Huh.  I was going to say, “it’ll be like my own NaBloPoMo, without the ‘Na’,” but apparently we’re doing this every month now.  Who knew?  Okay, well, add that to the list of prompts that will help me along here.  Some of it will be great!  Some of it will not be great!  But like I said, I have some help, which also includes:

No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog, by Margaret Mason

Prompts from the Dream Lab class I took over a year ago (I was a bit delinquent in that one, and have been meaning to get back to this work)

Mondo Beyondo Dream Generator questions, available when you sign up for the mailing list (Am I a Jen Lemen and Andrea Scher superfan?  Yes, I am.)

Prompts from my coach, Rachel W. Cole

So.  That’s all I need, right?  Oh, and um, time, and commitment, the willingness to be vulnerable, and something to say.  Just that.  I’ll be fine.  Can you tell that this is way harder than the yoga thing for me?  And this is precisely why I’m ready for the 40-day challenge.

Okay… go!