(Editor’s Note: Kundalini yoga is full of challenging kriyas. When practicing challenging yoga sets, we often learn that what goes on in the mind is just as important as what goes on in the body. Here are 3 challenging Kundalini yoga kriyas that are also fun!)
I had an “aha!” moment two years ago at Winter Solstice Sadhana in Florida. We were several minutes into an arms-up-in-air-at-some-uncomfortable-angle kriya during White Tantric Yoga, when Mahan Kirin (who was facilitating that day) reminded us that it didn’t have to be hard. We could choose to go through everything today with ease. That really hit me to the core and has made my experience of White Tantric Yoga very different ever since.
Of course! Things get difficult when we make them difficult. If we accept everything as it is it’s not better or worse – it’s just perfect.
I think this is why we all love Gurmukh’s classes so much. She picks really physically challenging sets, but the space she holds, and the music she uses, makes it really fun! If we choose we can have a great experience – even while holding a wheel pose for 11 minutes!
Here are three sets I’ve found that are challenging and really fun!
1. Glandular System
This set has it all. It incorporates movement on the floor, sitting, standing, crawling, chanting. It will work your legs, your navel, your arms, and of course, your glands, leaving you feeling still and totally worked out. The set climaxes with 9 ½ minutes of dancing as if “the whole world is dancing with you.” I love this set! I usually follow it up with a meditation that is also in the manual: “Achieve an Experience of God.” (You can use Snatam’s long version of “Rakhe Rakhan Har.”)
2. Renew Your Nervous System and Build Stamina
Can you tell I like the kriyas that make you dance? This set begins with four very powerful breathing exercises through the “O” mouth. After opening the diaphragm in this way, the manual explains, it’s necessary to dance! So we do. For 11 minutes. To BANGRA music! I encourage students to move every part of their body, get off their mats, move around the room… Last night we ended the class with a Celestial Communication of “Bliss” from my album with Sat Darshan Singh. It was truly energizing.
3. To Understand Your Goodness
Honestly, this kriya is humbling. To look at the pictures in the manual, you wouldn’t think it would be so hard. I guess it’s sort of like thinking we should easily be able to recognize our inherent goodness. And yet, most of the time, we need a reminder. The kriya begins with some chest opening (cobra, then bow pose) with breathing through the mouth, tongue sticking out. The first exercise is 5 ½ minutes long! After hitting the floor, we then move onto beating ourselves up – sound like a familiar experience? – by punching our lower back and buttocks. Although I know this has an affect on the meridians in the body, to me, this process feels like re-experiencing the nonsense we put ourselves through when we can’t accept our truth. This set includes a meditation to Sangeet Kaur’s track “Dhan Dhan Ram Das Gur.” We are focusing on, and pulling in on, the navel for 11 minutes straight. When I emerge from this kriya, I feel completely reoriented.