How to Prepare for a Kundalini Yoga Class
Yogi Bhajan once said all you need to have to attend a Kundalini Yoga class is the will to transform. All are welcome! No experience necessary!
- We provide yoga mats, blankets, bolsters and even eye pillows or you can bring your own yoga items.
- We invite all to participate to the best of their ability. We can always provide appropriate modifications.
- We suggest not eating a heavy meal 1-2 hours before class. If you must eat something, eat a piece of fruit or something light.
- There is no particular "dress code" for a Kundalini Yoga class. Comfortable loose fitting clothing works best. (Often you may notice long time students wear white clothes, but not required)
- Please avoid wearing perfumes or essential oils as over the years we've found other students may have sensitivities to them.
- We welcome you if you are pregnant (or on your cycle). We can provide modifications since there are some Asanas and breathing practices that are not recommended.
- Please note that it is not appropriate to ever come to class intoxicated or high on recreational drugs.
A typical Kundalini Yoga session follows this format:
1. Tuning in with the opening Mantra
2. Breathe and Movement/Opening the Channels
3. Main Kriya, a set of exercises geared towards specific results
4. Deep relaxation, sometimes accompanied by the Gong
5. Meditation - Consolidating the energy of the class in a Meditation practice
6. Closing affirmation
We'd like to introduce to you some practices you will experience in a typical Kundalini Yoga class.
Pranayama, The Science of Breathing
The yogic technology of natural breath is called Pranayama. Kundalini Yoga incorporates conscious the breathing as a practice in itself and through out a class. "Body follows the mind, mind follows the breath" The following are the most commonly used breathing techniques in Kundalini Yoga:
Long Deep Breathing.
Natural Yogic breathing is also known as diaphragmatic breathing. It uses the respiratory system in the most effective and natural manner for relaxation, energizing and improving our meditation skills.
Breath of Fire
A signature practice in Kundalini Yoga is the Breath of Fire, a rapid balanced breath with equal emphasis on the inhalation and the exhalation. It is excellent to support the asanas and is very cleansing and energizing. It is similar to Long Deep Breathing, just more rapid.
How to hold the breath (Suspend)
Breath suspension will make your body operate at a higher level of efficiency. This is a simple skill. Inexperienced students when holding the breath will pull the chin in, tighten the neck and throat muscles and stiffen the tongue. The correct way to hold the breath in or out is to suspend the breathing mechanism. To suspend the breath means to relax the muscles of the diaphragm, ribs and abdomen responsible for the constant flow of the breath.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Alternate Nostril Breathing - Nadi Sodhan - This simple pranayama is a basic yogic breath practice. Consciously alternating your breath between either nostril allows you to activate and access your whole brain. Engaging both hemispheres of the brain affects the glandular system and mood.
Right Nostril Breathing Left Nostril Breathing
The Science of Body Postures (Asana)
Most Yoga systems include Asana as a part of their practice. In Kundalini Yoga we practice familiar yoga asanas as well as dynamic movement. We sometimes hold a posture or can move rhythmically in and out of the posture.
The Science of Body Locks/Bandhas
There are certain combinations of muscle contractions, Bandhas, to hold the body steady and still. They also direct the flow of subtle energy and prana in our bodies.
Jalandhara Banda: Neck Lock, is the most common of the Bhandas and really helps in meditation and breathing.
Mul Bhanda: Root Lock, It helps stabilize the lower spine and manage energy.
Uddiyana Bhanda: Diaphragm Lock, is normally applied on the exhalation and ently massages the heart muscles and stabilizes the upper spine.n
Maha Bhanda: The application of all three locks all at the same time. When you apply this lock, the nerves and glands are rejuvenated.
The Science of the Sound Current – Mantra
“Man” means mind; “Tra” means to tune the vibration and projection. In Kundalini Yoga classes we use a variety of Mantras that have various affects. We provide Mantra sheets when necessary. We always like to remind students that the body is 65% water and water really responds to sound. We use appropriate music, both recorded and live in class as well as the Gong. In Kundalini Yoga class the Gong can create a marvelous experience used in relaxation, meditation and healing.
These mantras are used in every Kundalini Yoga class:
ONG NAMO GURU DEV NAMO
I bow to the Source of all, I bow to the Teacher within
This mantra is chanted before we begin each Kundalini Yoga session. It is chanted three times. It connects and reminds us of the Teacher within us, and helps transition from our daily activities to the sacred space of the class.
The hands are in Prayer Mudra, with the palms together with the sides of the thumbs the center of the chest, two fingers above the notch at the end of sternum, known as the Mind Nerve (Mana Nadi).
ONG (the Source of all): vibrated towards the brow.
NAMO (reverential attitude of gratitude)
GURU (GU - Darkness, RU - Light): The Technology of Consciousness, that which brings us from darkness to awareness.
DEV (transparent): The Teacher, within.
THE SUNSHINE SONG
We close each Kundalini Yoga class with this song. It blesses everyone, seals off the class and brings a peace of mind. It is a traditional Irish Blessing. We sing it twice.
May the long time sun shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light within you
Guide your way on
Reality, is my Identity.
This is a Bij Mantra, or “Seed” Mantra and has a profound effect on the subconscious mind. We chant a long Sat Naam after the Long Time Sunshine song. (It sounds much like "but Mom".)