Updated: Nov 4, 2017
It can feel really daunting to begin a personal spiritual practice out of class, in your own space and under your own discipline. But this is where yoga starts to really infuse your life with all the benefits that are extolled - through your own daily, regular practice.
This took me some time to do - now for me it is like brushing my teeth; things do not feel quite right now when I do not practise! Just 10 minutes can change the feel and progress of your day.
But where does one begin? It’s easy to look at such an expansive form of yoga like Kundalini (with over 5,000 meditations and 2,500 kriyas to choose from!) and get overwhelmed. Here are some basic points to start with, to help to overcome the overwhelm:
1. Begin simply with the intention of getting on your mat for five minutes to see what happens. It is in the main about connecting with your inner teacher - your One Namo Gurudev Namo - going within, allowing the body to settle. Find your time to do this and stick with it - I would recommend getting up 15 minutes earlier than normal, having a wash then doing your practice - even just sitting and breathing - while you have some peace and quiet (maybe?) in the house.
2. One of the most powerful things to know is that any kundalini kriya (exercise set), meditation or breathing practice can become your sadhana (persona practice). I began my journey doing a 10 minute daily practice of Sat Kriya (see below). I would recommend the following: a 5-10 minute spinal warm up (see below) followed by Sat Kriya (3 minutes) (see below) and/or a breathing pattern (pranayama) for 3 minutes - see below. Total - 15 - 20 minutes, just cut times accordingly according to your schedule.
3. Your breath is your main teacher - just a 3 minute practice of long deep breathing is a good sadhana.
Your Home Practice - some ideas to choose from:
Spinal warm ups and breathing - a 10 - 15 minute practice (these sometimes form the main of my personal practice when I am time-pushed):
Sit in easy pose (parallel legs, raise hips above the knees on a cushion) with your hands on your knees. Begin rolling your pelvis around in a swirling motion, moving the navel in a wide circle. Inhale as you come front, exhale as you go back. Do 1 to 2 minutes, and then reverse directions. You can follow this up with neck rolls, gently allowing the head to make supported circles, in either direction, 1 or 2 minutes each side, inhale as the head goes back, exhale as it rolls forward. Conclude with with a spinal flex, sitting back on your heels or still in easy pose, opening the chest out to the front, then flexing it concave, gradually increasing the pace, inhaling as you open the chest to the front, exhaling as you concave back, for 1 to 2 minutes.
Here is a similar spinal series of 7 minutes from You Tube:
Here is a similar spinal series of 13 minutes which includes a breath-of-fire practice:
Here is a similar spinal set but written down if you prefer that way of following the exercises.
You could follow the spinal energy series as in IDEA 1 with Sat Kriya which is a stand-alone Kundalini exercise and whose benefits are vast - you can google Sat Kriya and find a whole raft of claims - it is certainly a very powerful exercise.
Here is a video of it:
Remember frogs from class? Yogi Bhajan claimed that these can help maintain spinal flexibility and therefore youthfulness! They are a total workout and power you up for the day - practise them in multiples of 8 - 16 - 21 - 26 - 54 - 108! Yes 108. With practice that will become easy! And you will feel turbocharged. You could combine a spinal warm up followed by frogs followed by a meditation or breath pattern - or you could just do frogs...
Next time I will write about some breathing exercises - pranayama - that could also form part of your morning practice.
Let me know how you get on! Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. Sat nam!
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