One of the most challenging aspects of Kundalini Yoga is keeping your arms in the air during a kriya or meditation without letting them drop for a long period of time, such as in this video by Gurmukh. So much psychological, physical and emotional distress is stored and trapped within our arms.
While most of the challenge is mental and requires a determination to complete the kriya and not identify with the pain, there is a physical aspect of the challenge as well. As a Kundalini Yoga teacher, I often see people using their shoulders too much in arm meditations. One of the most useful ways of creating an easier time holding your arms up is creating leverage within your body to do so. Often teachers will tell you to “engage the navel” when your arms are up. How do you do that? How does one use the stomach to hold up an arm?
Leverage. Clearly explained by Guru Prem Singh Khalsa in his book “The Heart Rules”, leverage allows a much easier time during arm meditations. Using the hip joint as a fulcrum, apply downward pressure to the navel, pushing it closer to the earth. This will provide leverage for you to keep your arm up. Then bring your shoulders up as close to the ears as you can and roll them back and down. Lock this position. Keeping the shoulders down and the navel engaged provides a counterbalance to the pressure in your raised arms. You can also visualize yourself keeping the chest and heart up and open. Lift the heart; lift the arms!
Keeping up with Kundalini Yoga arm meditations is never easier than when your body is in the right place….it helps your mind get in the right place, too, and things become easier and transcendent. Keep up and you will be kept up!