I was introduced to Kundalini yoga 17 years ago. At first I found it weird; way out of my comfort zone. I was used to a practice that focused on my physical body. Now I was being invited to try to observe and experience something more subtle.
How did my energy feel? How did my thinking shift from pose to pose? Where was my mind limiting me in my ability to continue a movement or hold a pose? Soon, I started to connect beyond just my physical body and be able to sense where energy was moving and how to control it. I started to experience moments where my mind was actually quiet and I felt blissful. This style of approach opened me up to a world of inner adventure. My life started to change. I was attracting more positive people and was letting go of habits that no longer served me. I was developing a stronger sense of my self and greater confidence in my ability to thrive and create a life I had previously only dreamed of.
This was like a fairy tale playing out in real life, but it certainly did not come without effort. The practice of Kundalini yoga gives us an opportunity to examine our edge in many ways. We develop the courage to look squarely at our pain and discomfort. We develop the capacity to move through blocks, emotionally, mentally and physically, as well as the humility to surrender resistance. I had previously thought these practices ‘weird’ – the mantras, the strange moves etc, but I also found that these practices really work. That was enough for me to keep going.
I believe that the practice of Kundalini Yoga kriyas and meditations coupled with sun salutations and powerful warm-ups are the perfect antidote to the challenges of our lives. The physicality of the practice keeps us strong, strengthens our nervous system and balances our endocrine system. We then have a better chance of choosing consciously how we will respond to the moment rather that reacting from past patterns. The focus on the subtle rebalances us.
Kundalini Yoga emphasizes the importance of a daily sadhana (personal practice). With a daily practice, we can make the most progress. This is where you do a particular practice for 40 days or more, preferably at the same time in the morning every day. This is your time to check in with yourself and to cultivate a continuous evolution of your awareness and a return to vitality.
My suggestion is to start with this simple practice called the 4/4 Breath Meditation for Energy and Clarity (video above). In this practice, we ‘sniff’ the breath into our lungs in 4 parts and exhale it out in 4 parts. Practice it for at least 3 minutes, up to 11 minutes once you get into the flow of it. Once you have finished take a minute or so simply connecting in, observing how your energy and the flow of your thoughts have changed. I wish you every success in your practice and life!
One of the most well known Kundalini teachers in the West, Kia Miller has an ability to translate the subtle teachings of Kundalini Yoga in a highly accessible way. Kia’s study of yoga began when she was 15. She is certified in both Hatha and Kundalini and teaches workshops, retreats and teacher trainings throughout the world. Kia’s passion is to share the Kundalini tradition infused with Bhakti. Kia’s classes are a powerful mix of asana, breath, meditation and chanting that will leave you uplifted and empowered. Visit Kia on her website, Facebook and Twitter.