Read these 4 Kundalini Yoga Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Yoga tips and hundreds of other topics.
A kundalini or other meditative yoga class may include meditation and may include a group mantra, or chanting of sacred words or sounds. The purpose of a yoga mantra is to focus your attention during meditation and tune out distractions.
If you want to practice meditation at home, your mantra can be anything, from a word to a poem, but if you need a place to start, try this:
Sit in a comfortable position; it doesn't have to be cross-legged. Try sitting against a wall for extra support. Place your hands on your legs with palms facing up and the forefinger and thumb touching. Tuck your chin slightly towards your chest to release tension in the neck, and slowly start to chant the phrase, “so hum,” which means “I am that,” and is often used in meditative yoga practices. Say “so” with each inhale and “hum” with each exhale. The sound reflects the sound of the breath, so it is easy to repeat. Try setting a timer for 10 minutes and repeating the mantra for that entire time.
The so-called “breath of fire” is a key ingredient in a kundalini yoga practice. The breath of fire (also known as kapalabhati) involves a rapid breathing from the diaphragm. When you first try the breath of fire, open your mouth and pant like a dog. The breathing should be rapid, and your belly should swell outward on each inhale and press back towards the spine on each exhale. Once you get the hang of it, close your mouth and continue the rapid, diaphragmatic breathing at the same rate, with the same belly movements. During a kundalini class, students perform the breath of fire while performing other movements, such as scissoring the legs while lying on the back.
Although meditation receives more emphasis in a kundalini yoga practice, it is an important element of all hatha yoga, and if you ignore it you are missing out on a unique opportunity to cultivate inner calm. And who doesn't need some of that in a stress-filled world?
Six simple meditation strategies you can practice at home will be reinforced in a kundalini yoga practice:
-Sit still. Simply sit quietly in a comfortable position. Don't answer the phone or make a list of things to do. It's hard to sit for 10 minutes, and you will appreciate how restless the mind can be.
-Tune in. While sitting still, pay attention to the sensations in your immediate environment, such as feelings of hot or cold, and the hardness or softness of the surface on which you are sitting.
-Just breathe. Don't try to control your breath, just pay attention to it, and note the quality of the inhales and exhales.
-Repeat a mantra. Come up with a favorite word, phrase, prayer, or poem to repeat softly to yourself several times.
-Listen up. Listen carefully to the sounds around you, wherever you happen to be taking time for meditation and stillness.
-Send love. While sitting quietly in a meditation, think of someone who could benefit from a little extra TLC and send good thoughts to that person.
More meditative and relaxing styles of yoga, such as kundalini and ansura, have been associated with successful conception in women who have a history of infertility. Research has shown that stress affects hormones, and many women who have trouble getting pregnant also report chronic stress due to stressful jobs or other life circumstances. Sometimes all they need is to let go of the excess tension and let nature take its course. Even if yoga alone isn't enough, the increased inner calm that comes with yoga can help women manage the stress associated with medical fertility treatments.
Once you are pregnant, a kundalini style of yoga is well suited to prenatal yoga classes with its focus on mental strength and meditation combined with gentle stretches. And finally, kundalini yoga may be the hatha yoga that is most uniquely suited for helping new mothers cope with postpartum stress and depression and for easing new moms back into a fitness routine.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|