Guest Author - Tracy Webb
Kundalini Yoga is known as the yoga of awareness. It comprises of Kriyas, which are set sequences that aim for specific desired outcomes. The Kriyas consists of asana, breathing exercises, mudras (hand positions), mantras, body locks (bandhas) and meditation. It is known to build stamina, strength and assist with letting go of resistance.
Some postures are performed in quick succession with the addition of the Breath of Fire due to its ability to increase the benefits received by oxygenating the blood and releasing toxins from the body. Typically, the movements involved are to help awaken the Kundalini/Serpent energy that is then channelled up through the centre of the body, activating the chakras and illuminating our connection to the Divine.
There are many Kriyas in Kundalini Yoga including ones for; purification, elimination, prevention and resistance to disease, spinal flexibility, rejuvenation, depression and many more. Each Kriya has several postures to be performed in a set way for desired result. An example of this is The Spinal Warm Up series.
Spinal Warm up consists of:
The Stomach Grind
- Sit cross-legged and hold on to your knees.
- Inhale and start to rotate your body in a counter clockwise circle while pushing the body forward and arching the lower back.
- Exhale as you move to the back and fold your body in.
- Rotate the body in this way for up to two mins then change direction. Start slowly to begin with then speed up as you get used to the posture and find your own rhythm.
- Be careful not to involve the waist in this asana, as it is the lower back/hips we are working.
The Spine Flex (Camel Ride)
- Sit on your heels with your knees bent.
- Put your hands on your knees.
- As you inhale push the body forward, arching your back.
- As you exhale fold the body back.
- Find a comfortable rhythm and build up to doing for three mins.
- Start on all fours.
- As you inhale push the back up like a cat.
- As you exhale arch the back and stick your pelvis up.
- Do several times.
- Build up your own rhythm and aim to do for up to 3 minutes.
- Sit cross-legged with your fingers on your shoulders.
- Fingers should be at the front and thumbs at the back.
- Ensure your elbows are parallel to the ground and at shoulder height.
- As you inhale twist to the left – making sure you move your head.
- As you exhale twist to the right, again move your head.
- Build up a momentum and aim to do for up to 3 minutes.
- Sit cross-legged on the floor.
- Rest your hands on your knees.
- Very slowly roll your neck to the left and make a full circle, bringing the chin down towards the chest.
- On each side roll try to get your ears to touch your shoulders. Do not force this exercise.
- Do clockwise for and anti clockwise for a total of up to 3 minutes.
The Stomach Grind, Camel Ride, Yoga Twists and Cat Cow can all be done using the Breath Of Fire. This acts to warm the body, bring clarity of mind and increase stamina.
This series is a basic warm up set and is usually practiced at the beginning of a class. It is also a very good set of exercises to start the day as it wakes up and energises the body.