Kundalini Yoga for Optimum Health
As a breast cancer survivor I am always on the lookout for tools I can use to stay healthy and prevent cancer recurrence. In fact, one of the many reasons I practice Kundalini yoga is because I want to build my immune system and keep in tiptop shape.
Several days ago, I came across a kriya for the lymph glands in the I Am A Woman manual (p. 189). I’ve practiced this kriya in classes several times, but need to remind myself to use it at home, too. This kriya opens the chest and keeps the lymphatic system flowing. The lymphatic system is essential for keeping us healthy and removing cancer cells from the body (in fact, the subtitle for this kriya is “Glands are the guardians of health.”)
The Kundalini yoga diet and life style are also beneficial for cancer survivors; a vegetarian diet (and the inclusion of cancer-fighting herbs such as turmeric) protects us from the cancer-causing hormones and antibiotics that are present in meat (specifically, non-organic, factory-farmed meat). And exercise (i.e. the Kundalini kriya) is important for maintaining a healthy body weight; being overweight is a risk factor not only for cancer but also for Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. An alcohol and tobacco-free life style is also crucial.
Through Kundalini yoga, I also recently came across a great book about the importance of Vitamin D, called The Vitamin D Revolution by Soram Khalsa, MD. Studies have shown that individuals who have developed cancer often have had lowered Vitamin D levels. Soram Khalsa explains that although sunblock protects against skin cancer it also blocks the Vitamin D your body requires. And, if you live above the 35th parallel, you are not getting enough D even if you spend a lot of time outdoors. So supplementation is really a must.
Two other books that I’ve found very useful are Meditation as Medicine and Food as Medicine by Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD. Even before I encountered Kundalini yoga, I came across the former book and learned, with great interest, that breast cancer is a pathology associated with the fourth chakra. The psychological and spiritual characteristics associated with this chakra are love, grief, forgiveness, trust and optimism. When I read this, everything seemed to make sense because I had developed cancer not long after my beloved mother died. I began to realize that Kundalini yoga holds the key to many of the so-called “mysteries” in our lives.
For home practice, I’ve found two absolutely amazing DVDs made by Gurmukh and Snatam Kaur. Kundalini Yoga Healthy Body Fearless Spirit features a heart-centered yoga class to build immunity and detoxify the body. Kundalini Yoga for the Circulation and Detoxification DVD will give you a great work out even if you can’t get to a yoga class. And you’ll love the music! This DVD features a yoga class for the lymph system, improving the body’s circulation, detoxification and immunity while also strengthening the abdominals. The Women’s Yoga and Wellness 3 DVD Set by Shakta Kaur Khalsa also provides an excellent set for the lymphatic system and overall health.
Through mantra, Kundalini yoga offers yet another pathway to healing. I have regularly chanted the “Ra Ma Da Sa” and the Guru Ram Das Miracle Mantra healing mantras (among others) on my health and healing journey. Maintaining optimum physical health requires keeping your spirit and outlook healthy and your stress levels down. The calming and cleansing effects of mantra and pranayama are nothing short of amazing.
If you’ve had a serious disease like cancer, or if you want to up the odds against ever getting one, practice Kundalini yoga and scout out and use the many tools that the practice offers to enhance your health (I’ve only mentioned a few!). I am now convinced that the Divine placed this practice in my path because I was searching and praying for new and better ways to regain and maintain my health after facing this challenging disease.
Being healthy and boosting your immune system involves taking responsibility and engaging in proactive steps (while not blaming yourself). Kundalini yoga—a true gift from the universe–can literally be a lifesaver. Wahe guru!