Yoga Yammer

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8 Tips to Get the Most from your Kundalini Yoga Class

HEAD COVERINGS

Covering the head provides containment and focus while practicing yoga. It literally helps “keep your head together.” Any style of head covering will assist with a meditative practice. Turbans in particular are useful for holding energy in, and for creating a meditative focus at the third eye point. In addition, the turban provides a nice cranial adjustment, not to mention it keeps hair out of the way. Try it for yourself!

WEARING WHITE

Wearing all white clothing expands our auric radiance by at least one foot. A strong aura provides a strong and solid identity, projection, and filters negative influences. Wearing white will reflect what is on the outside and assist you to go within yourself—that’s what white clothes can do for you.

UNDERSTANDING MANTRA AND CHANTING

Typically, teachers will provide basic meanings and translations of mantras used in class. Gaining a good understanding of mantras will deepen your practice. Your teacher is a great place to start. Request the names of the mantras at the end of your class and conduct your own research.

WATCH THE TEACHER

Kundalini Yoga Teachers will demonstrate each posture before prompting the class to begin. Rather than taking up the posture right away, use the time that your teacher is demonstrating the posture to observe closely; you will then gain the ability to mirror their actions more effectively. There will be plenty of time to perfect the posture as the duration of most exercises are between 2-3 minutes. Save your strength!

LISTEN TO THE TEACHER’S CUES

Manual adjustments are not made in Kundalini Yoga. They will use verbal cues such as “soften your shoulders, keep your spine straight, bend at the hips” to assist the class in making adjustments to the postures. When you hear a cue, check in with yourself and do your best to perfect the posture. If you are unsure if you are doing a posture correctly, ask your teacher. They will be more than happy to provide you with feedback.

THE STILL MOMENTS

Take the time between each posture to embrace your stillness. Withstand temptation to fix your clothes or glance at your neighbor. Let your body process the posture and observe the changes in yourself with no judgment. This is where the awareness happens

ARRIVE EARLY

Do your best not to be late for class. Arriving 10-15 minutes early is optimum. This time will give you a chance to get you, your mat and your mind prepared for your practice. It is important to be punctual for tuning in with the class to establish the group energy.

BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF

There will be days when postures are easer than others. This practice is all about being present with yourself and the moment. Remember that every “body” is different and every day is different. Take a deep breath and reassure yourself that wherever you are is exactly where you need to be.

SAT NAM, Uttamjeet Kaur

The Sweetness of Chanting

The captivating energy of chanting…a place within where ordinary words can’t take me where I want to go…to a dialogue with the Divine ad the frequency of my Heart.
Chanting combines moving the tongue in the mouth creating sound and music with Mantras – words that vibrate at the highest level of awareness. The vibration that comes from repeating the names of God or sacred Sanskrit words that have a heartfelt effect on your own inner being. The sweetness of chanting stills the mind, dissolves worries and opens you to what is in your heart, your inner source of guidance, inspiration and love. Chants express devotion, gratitude, peace and compassion as a reminder that there is divine energy in everyone and that each of us should be treated as if they are Divine. In this way Mantra encourages cooperation, living in harmony with one another, and nature as well. Mantra brings happiness and freedom, blessings and protection, it is the energy of the enlightened mind, one of peace and tranquility. Mantra asks of us to chant placing our trust in a power greater than ourselves and whatever is right is what will happen. Break down your barriers from the past and give power and hope to our Spiritual Being having a Human experience and you will be protected from dangers. Come from wherever you are, practice with us at Studio Sat Nam, move, breathe, meditate and chant, bring yourself from where you are to who you are. Chanting fine tunes your yoga practice, it makes it sacred and takes it out of the physical realm and into a higher state of awareness. With the practice of Kundalini Yoga the kundalini energy is experienced when the energy of the glandular system combines with the nervous system to create a sensitivity in the brain, receptive as a whole to receive signals and integrate them throughout the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual bodies. In its experience (by the Yogi ) lies the realization of ones potential. Chanting is vibrating this energy through your subtle energy system and an actual change takes place in the chemistry of the brain. Chanting most Mantra comes from the Navel point, this is the point of our power, it isn’t singing, it isn’t speaking, it is vibrating. Mantras are the “codes” to open the locks to your awareness, reinforcing our Divine consciousness, uniting sound, body and mind in a deep contemplative heartfelt experience. May we come together in joyous praise.

The Gifts of the Fourth Chakra

 

Imagine you are loved for being who you are just for existing. And, you don’t have to do anything to earn it. This love is a part of you, it is always flowing. Let’s tune into that flow, feel it in our own hearts, our Spiritual hearts, our deeper hearts, our intuitive hearts. The place where the higher mind, pure awareness, the subtler emotions and our souls identities all come together and we connect to the Universe. It’s love for no reason, unconditional love, its the love in our deeper inner beings. It is our Oneness.

It is being in the heart centre of the body, the heart chakra, the fourth chakra of the Kundalini Yoga teachings. The heart centre in the area of the heart and lungs is one of the most powerful centres of the body. It is the home of compassion which gives rise to kindness and goodwill to all. And through the heart chakra, the consciousness of the heart centre (goodwill and compassion) we move from me to we, the Oneness. As Yogi Bhajan shares, “Recognize that the other person is you.”

Yet how do we begin to understand the gifts that lie within the fourth chakra? How do we manifest these gifts into our normal everyday lives? The heart radiates emotions, expressions of love. Every thought is influenced from feelings and emotions. The heart centre gives life its richness, its depth and meaning. When we are truly vibrating from the heart we are vibrating as we, not you and or me but WE. Our hearts are in harmony. Where can we begin to be in heart centred harmony with one another? One way is to practice yoga in class, practice Kundalini Yoga techniques on the mat, on the physical level and apply the lessons to our greater lives in the world. Life is the real yoga.

Kundalini Yoga is a practical way to love yourself, to see the importance of taking care of yourself. Love works best in our lives when expressed as compassion. And the process of having compassion for ourselves and others can begin with gratitude. Remember, appreciate, illuminate the blessings you have in your life. Slow down, be open to the present moment and develop your sense of appreciation for life. The qualities of gratitude are being thankful, and being willing and ready to show appreciation. You are ready when you are present, and aware. Yoga brings presence into awareness, we see things clearly, we connect deeply to our body and breath. This vibrant energy of gratitude sustains us, no matter the circumstance. Share your gratitude, we keep our gratitude by giving it away and it comes back to us ten fold.

As a Yogi we begin on the physical level and we learn to grow spiritually. Emotions radiating from the heart express themselves by warmth, passion, compassion, kindness and…ill will coming from fear and attachment. Practicing yoga physically and spiritually and we can get from a place of fear into a place of gratitude. taking our fears, confronting the unknown, accepting the fear emotionally is a great challenge to us. We shield our hearts and it is the bodies desperate attempt to protect us. Open yourself physically in the practice of yoga and it becomes easier to open yourself emotionally and spiritually. We begin to experience gratitude for all that we truly are, for all that others are, no matter the shortcomings, imperfections. We make the changes to benefit our lives and the lives of others. Confront the fear, accept it, feel it, and move through it…it can change your life and your heart.

Darshan Jot Kaur

Health and Beauty of the Heart

The Facts…The heart pumps blood, supporting circulation. it starts the process by pumping blood into arteries through the aorta, the central artery. Blood is then circulated through organs and tissues delivering food and oxygen. The blood then returns to the heart through the veins having finished it deliveries. On the hearts second circuit the heart pumps the blood to the lungs which replace oxygen and remove the wastes. The blood is then returned to the heart with its oxygen replaced. There are four chambers of the heart with maintain the blood flow to a steady rate, optimizing blood oxygen levels and managing over 75 trillion cells. Thank you dear Heart for all that you do in keeping us alive.

And now this is what I love about the Heart and it’s health and beauty,

Kundalini Yoga physically makes the heart healthy in its function. Kundalini Yoga mentally, emotionally and spiritually makes the heart strong as it beats and amplifies its power to magnetize energy that vibrates and flows constantly between the heart and the brain. The heart and the brain working together to assist with our emotional processing, sensory experiences, memory and our reasoning. The heart working with the Immune System, the heart being one of the body’s major endocrine glands producing at least five major hormones which impact the physiological functions of the brain and body.

The Heart has long been known as the centre of the body and the home of the Soul. In Kundalini Yoga when a person consciously centres or focuses in the heart, the heart begins to run the brain. Awareness of the body through the heart rather than the brain leads to higher functioning physically, mentally and emotionally. A person can filter their outer environment for good messages instead of the oh so familiar negative ones blessing one with a more positive relationship with the external world.

Personally speaking and of my experience, I am following my path by the path of love in my heart. My mind is not capable of love. My mind is limited, it is not able to experience love or happiness, I am able to feel the feeling of love when my mind gets out of the way. Love in my heart streams up through and past my mind. When I feel happy, truly happy my mind is completely still. Both love and happiness arise within me from a deeper level of my being, my heart, my soul.

Kundalini Yoga thank you for giving me a Path, with Heart.

Darshan Jot Kaur

Meet your Nervous System

Do you know your nervous system?
Let’s go way back…

As an infant the brain is undergoing massive growth. The autonomic (involuntary, unconscious) nervous system extends out from the brain into the physical body to regulate bodily response to move into action. As an infant that communication pattern is influenced between parent and the infant. The nervous system has two branches with contrasting yet balancing functions, the sympathetic (exciting) and the parasympathetic (inhibiting). Early in life the sympathetic is dominant, driving our explorations, interest, our play and our joy; states of excitement. Until the parasympathetic nervous system develops well enough to balance the sympathetic the parent stands in as a parasympathetic nervous system to help regulate the infant, aiding by soothing and calming.

All in all the parent helps enable more autonomic neurodevelopment on the growing nervous system and the infants growth in self regulation. It works through the vagus nerve, one of the cranial nerves serving the heart, lungs, digestive tract and other organs of the chest and abdomen. The vagus nerve further serves to promote positive social engagement and a receptive state of mind, especially under states of challenge.

Thank you nervous system for awakening a mindful state of awareness and kundalini yoga for the awareness to recognize and be receptive to the inner life of the self.

Sat Nam,
Darshan Jot Kaur

Kundalini Yoga and the Nervous System

This month at Studio Sat Nam we are focusing on the incredible connection between Kundalini Yoga and the nervous system.

When was the last time you thought about your nervous system? Other than high school biology when you made up a rhyme to remember the difference between CNS and PNS? I am guessing it has probably been years for many of you. The system as a whole isn’t mentioned a whole lot, yet it holistically provides and facilitates almost all of your core functioning; each thought, emotion, and movement involves the nervous system. Here is a quick refresher: your nervous system is composed of the Central Nervous System (CNS) – your brain and spinal cord – and the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) – made up of your cranial, spinal, and peripheral nerves. Your nervous system is like the operating system of your body, it receives, interprets, and sends messages and fires them off – at fiber-optic speeds – throughout your entire body via your nerves. It’s frustrating when the OS on your smartphone becomes buggy and slow. The technology of Kundalini yoga is here to ensure your internal OS is up and running at its optimal efficiency, think of it like one of the Apple Geniuses – it does a lot of amazing work in the background to make everything run smoothly.

Kundalini Yoga supports your nervous system through movement, breath work, meditation, relaxation, chanting, oh and we can’t forget the gong…that sounds like almost every single component of a typical Kundalini class contributes to the health of your nervous system, and it does! BA-BAM, WAHE GURU! Throughout each movement series (Kriya) your body, limbs, and fingers move to send energy through nerve pathways. You’ll notice that a lot of Kriya movements focus on flexing and moving the spine, this develops its strength and flexibility over time. Kundalini even focuses on the unique movement of fingers and hands – mudras – to send energy to the sensitive nerve endings on your finger tips. Talk about a peripheral nervous system workout! Those are just the physical impacts Kundalini Yoga has. Through meditation, breath work, relaxation, and chanting you develop a mental balance and mindfulness that helps your brain work more efficiently and your mind become clear and calm over time. It is through the meditative aspects of Kundalini Yoga that your nervous system actually becomes your peace system!

There is a really important aspect of the nervous system we haven’t talked about yet, your autonomic nervous system (ANS), responsible for your automatic body responses – stuff you don’t have to think to do. The two aspects of the ANS are your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Your sympathetic NS controls your energetic flight-or-flight response while your parasympathetic NS controls your soothing relax-and-digest response. The goal is to find balance between these two needed systems by increasing the soothing parasympathetic response through deep prana-building breath, relaxation, gong meditation and chanting. Kundalini also provides a sustainable energy boost through right nostril breathing, navel pumping meditations and exercises, and breath of fire. This yoga is incredible for your brain health, relaxation, stress-reduction, and overall nervous system support. One of my favourite meditations is, Meditation for Strong Nerves.

This is a fantastic meditation for mental balance and helps whenever anxiety and irrationality strikes; I practiced it before I taught my first Kundalini Yoga class to calm my nerves and it worked magic.

Perhaps this new year you can focus your goals on giving your nervous system some more love. The practice of Kundalini Yoga is here to support you. Throughout January, we will be teaching classes particularly focused on strengthening and supporting the sensory system, we look forward to seeing you in class!

Big big love & Sat Nam,
Gian Shakti Kaur

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