The COVID-19 pandemic has posed many stresses and challenges to people, many of whom are in constant search of ways to relieve stress and attain a state of bliss. Stress has impacted work, relationships, and also taken a toll on health and wellbeing. And for some, turning to yoga has brought much solace.
It’s important to recognise that this stress is a natural response to what’s happening in the world. There are plenty of ways to cope with anxiety from uncertainty. Exercise, meditation and breathing techniques have all been proven to mitigate stress. And recently, there is much consensus around an activity that combines these three techniques into a powerful tool for regulating emotions and managing stress – Kundalini Yoga.
Kundalini Yoga derives its name from ‘kundalini’, which in the Vedantic culture has been defined as energy that lies dormant at the base of the spine until it is activated and released through the ‘chakras’ in the process of spiritual perfection.
Prema Nagesh, an Indian yoga exponent in Muscat, asserts that Kundalini yoga is a more disciplined form of yoga which has been gaining popularity recently in the west. This form of yoga cannot be practised without supervision and needs great dedication and discipline to be sustained.
“Like many different yoga forms which are just sprouting and catering to modern people who are always aspiring for change, Kundalini Yoga has brought a magnetic attraction for many as a quick way to enter into a state of ultimate realisation. I believe, nothing comes so easy, leave alone self realisation.”
For seriously puruing Kundalini Yoga, Prema says, “First we need a guru who himself has attained that state of realisation, and blessed are we, if we get that opportunity to learn. Learned gurus like Swami Sivananda say that an
aspirant who has firm faith in ‘yogic sastras’, who is courageous, devotional, humble, generous, merciful, pure and dispassionate, can easily awaken Kundalini and attain success in Samadhi. He should also be equipped with the right conduct and self-restraint; he should constantly engage himself in the service of his guru and be free from lust, anger, avarice, greed and vanity.”
Calling on those wishing to learn Kundalini Yoga to be sincere and follow a disciplined lifestyle as a precursor to learning it, she, however, observed, “Unfortunately, some styles of yoga in modern times have become more commercial and offer quick fix solutions, which may be temporary, not permanent.”
On the other hand, Tomoko Kojima, a yoga teacher from Japan in Muscat, explained that Kundalini Yoga is a more devotional form of yoga that calls for dedication and discipline. “It is a very ancient form of yoga from India and works well for tackling depression and alignment of the nervous system,” she said adding that it also involves breathing techniques which help in enhancing the capacity of lungs.
“Kundalini Yoga focuses on the inner self by activating the seven chakras along the highway of the spine. It involves meditative postures that help in improving concentration and awakening the inner self. It is a very active way of channelising the energy within.”
What is Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini Yoga is an ancient practice that incorporates movement, dynamic breathing techniques, meditation and mantras to channel your body’s energy. While most forms of exercise produce the endorphins that make you feel better, Kundalini Yoga also releases the tension and anxiety that builds up over time in your body’s glands and nerves. It resets your stress response so that you can achieve an internal biochemistry of calm, balance and depth of self.
Start at home
One of the many beautiful aspects of yoga is that it requires no special equipment – though a yoga mat is helpful – so there’s nothing to stop you from practicing Kundalini Yoga in your living room. Try it at home whenever you feel worried or anxious. Choose a peaceful surrounding, inside or outside. You can have soft music playing to enhance your sense of peace.
Some simple techniques
Sit in a comfortable pose
You may sit on the floor in a comfortable position. Use a pillow or cushion for comfort. Cross your legs in front of you. If you are uncomfortable sitting on floor you can sit in a chair with your legs uncrossed and your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands on your knees, palms down, close your eyes and observe the sensations of your body and mind for a few minutes.
Place your hands on your chest
Place your hands on the centre of your chest at heart level. Begin by resting the back of your left hand in the palm of your right hand. Gently grab your left hand with your right, so that your right thumb is nestled in your left palm. Cross your left thumb over your right. Curve the fingers of your right hand around the outside of your left hand and hold it gently with the four fingers of the left hand remaining straight. Bring your hands to your heart centre, resting them against your chest.
Breathe and relax
With eyes closed, inhale deeply and relax. Breathe slowly for 10-30 minutes.
In daily life we typically breathe 15-16 times a minute. Try slowing down to 4 breaths per minute by inhaling to the count of 10 and exhaling to the count of 10. A slow breath will slow your heartbeat, reduce your stress response, and give you a peaceful, secure feeling.
(Inputs from BPT. For more ways to reduce stress through KY, visit: kundaliniresearchinstitute.org)
Like many different yoga forms which are just sprouting and catering to modern people who are always aspiring for change, Kundalini Yoga has brought a magnetic attraction for many as a quick way to enter into a state of ultimate realisation.
Kundalini Yoga focuses on the inner self by activating the seven chakras along the highway of th spine. It involves meditative postures that help in improving concentration and awakening the inner self.
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