Always Be Dancing

Yoga and Flamenco for Every/body & Mindful Book Reviews By Eve


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Meditation: Getting Started

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How does one start to meditate? I started meditating about 5 years ago. I wanted to start before that but just never sat down on my own and meditated. When I started, I had little knowledge of “how-to” meditate. I thought you needed to sit absolutely still, in total silence and think of nothing. Yeah….you can guess how well that went.

But overtime, it seemed to take hook. I was never sure if I was meditating correctly and often felt I was not doing it right or well, but I stuck at it and it stuck to me. First, I found that I needed to meditate in the morning, because if I waited until later in the day, it did not get done. So every morning, after I made breakfast for my son, I would sit on the other sofa and meditate…listening to him munch his bagel and gulp his milk. I felt like a pro! Look at me sitting here, not moving, blocking out the sounds around me….but I still felt like I was not doing it right and it was not “affecting” or “effecting” me correctly.  But I stuck to it. And it stuck to me. It was oddly satisfying and if I did not do it, I felt like I was missing something that I wanted. My brain wanted it. My body wanted it. My soul wanted it.

Enter Kundalini. In Kundalini, everything is organized and makes sense. The exercises have aim and purpose and are felt physically, mentally and energetically. There are physical movements or stillness encased by specific breathing patterns, chants and mudras. This allows for the seeing, the hearing and the sensing of of what’s happening  within minutes of starting a practice. The truth is in the doing. Here form really follow function. Kundlini fits all bodies, all sizes, all adaptations without getting lost in the “what my body should look like” thoughts. 

Also, Kundlini is a gold mine when it comes to varied meditations. Kundalini offers metal, physical and emotional distractions that ope the gateway for meditation that is wholly enjoyable and accessible. 

     Two Meditations to Start Your Journey:

                            Kirtan Kriya/ Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation

Kirtan Kriya, often referred to as SA TA NA MA meditation, is the most important meditation in Kundalini Yoga. If you can do only one meditation, this is it. It will readjust and align you to bring balance into your body, mind and spirit and thus your life. It is your teacher. It is your best friend. 

The bottom line is that this meditation works. All you have to do is do it. You can trust the process and the technology.

Directions:

Sit with a straight spine. Bring your mental focus to the brow point/3rd eye point.

Chant SA TA NA MA.

While chanting alternately press the thumb with the four fingers. Press hard enough to keep yourself awake and aware of the pressure. Keep repeating in a stable rhythm and keep the hand motion going throughout the whole meditation.

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SA press the thumb and the pointer or Jupiter finger together with pressure.
TA press the thumb and the middle or Saturn finger together.
NA press the thumb and the ring or Sun finger together.
MA press the thumb and the pinky or Mercury finger together.

The Jupiter/Pointer finger brings in knowledge, expands our field of possibilities and releases us from limitations.

The Saturn/Middle finger gives us patience, wisdom and purity.

The Sun/Ring finger gives us vitality and aliveness.

The Mercury/Pinky finger aids clear communication.

Visualize or feel each individual sound come in the crown chakra at the top of the head, down through the middle of the head and out to infinity through the third eye. This is very important and must be done with each sound. It is an essential part of the cleansing process. If this part of the meditation is not done, you may experience a headache.

While doing the meditation, you may experience pictures of the past come up like on a movie screen in your mind. Let them dance in front of your eyes and release them with the mantra. This is part of the cleansing of the subconscious mind. If emotions come up, you can also incorporate them in the chanting, i.e. if you feel anger then chant out the anger. Whatever you experience is OK. Do not try to avoid or control your experiences. Simply be with what is going on and go through it. It is all part of the cleansing process.

** Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation is becoming scientifically recognized as a powerful tool for preventing or stopping Alzheimer’s disease, increasing all aspects of cognitive function, (perception, thinking, reasoning and remembering) and reducing stress levels while improving short term memory.

                                          Morning Meditation

6 minutes version:

  • 1 min out-loud
  • 1 min whisper
  • 2 min in-head (can add tongue movements) with hand movements
  • 1 min whisper
  • 1 min out-loud.

This meditation can be done for 6-31 minutes. Just keep all the segments equal length (the silent section is repeated twice). It can really be done for as little as 3 minutes (30 sec, 30 sec, 1 min, 30 sec, 30 sec)

31 minute version:

  • 5 min out loud
  • 5 min whisper
  • 10 min in-head (tongue moving) with hand movement
  • 5 min whisper
  • 5 min out-loud
  • [1 min listen inside, hear the mantra, experience it. No hand movements.]

                                        Evening Meditation

                                      Sa Ta Na Ma Variation

3-30 minutes

Rest hands in lap. Fingers interlaced with the pads of the thumbs pressing into each other

Rest eyes gently looking at tip of nose; eyes may close.

Sniff in 4-counts, mentally saying Sa-Ta-Na-Ma.

Hold breath while mentally repeating the mantra 4 times.

Breath out through the nose in two strokes while mentally chanting Wahe/Guru. (Wahe/Wow! + Guru/Inner teacher = Cheers to my inner super hero!)

To end: Breath in for the count of 4. Hold breath for the count of 7. Breathe out through a circle mouth, making a whooshing sound, for the count of 8. Repeat 4-8x.

                                          Practice Timing:

3 minutes: Affects your circulation, blood chemistry and stability of the blood. The increased blood circulations begins, distributing enhanced neuroendocrine secretions throughout the body.

7 minutes: Brain patterns start to shift from the static of beta waves, to calmer alpha waves and ultimately to deep relaxing delta waves. Simultaneously, the magnetic force surrounding the body increases in strength.

11 minutes: The pituitary gland, glandular system and the nerves start to learn and change. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems begin to accommodate the increased energy.

22 minutes: Anxiety producing thoughts in the subconscious begin to clear. Your three minds (negative, positive, and neutral) start to work together so your mental integration changes. 22 is the infinite number of longing and gives mastery of the mental realm.

31 minutes: Affects your whole mind and your aura. Endocrinological balance is achieved, as is balance of the chakra’s of the ethereal body. This balance persists throughout the day, and is reflected by changes in moods and behavior.

                                            Amount of days: 

11 days: 11 is the number of Infinity in the material world and conqueror of the physical realm. So it’s like the first step to break loose from the entanglement of the mind.

40 days: Helps to break negative habits that block you from the expansion possible through the Kriya or mantra, if done 40 days straight in a row

90 days: When you practice the Kriya or mantra for 90 days straight it will establish a new habit in your conscious and subconscious mind. It will change you in a very deep way.

120 days: When you commit to practice the Kriya or mantra for 120 days without skipping a day it will confirm the new habit of consciousness. The positive benefits of the Kriya get integrated permanently into your psyche.

1000 days: This will allow you to master the new habit of consciousness that the Kriya or mantra has promised. No matter what the challenge, you can call on this new habit to serve you.


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Today’s Kriya: The Woman’s Set for Beauty, Radiance and Grace

Practice the Woman’s Set to feel empowered, strong and confident. If you want to feel like Superwoman, try The Woman’s Set one morning… even better, practice it daily over the course of a week (or 40 days even!) and see for yourself. This set keep will keep us young, vital and radiant and builds courage and grace.

Kundalini Kriya’s are little prescriptions for the mind, body and soul. Each one is unique and offers such a wide variety of movement, breath and meditation that they are wholly accessible to everybody. I am enamored, to say the least. I feel that the combination of movement, breath and meditation are  acupressure from the inside out. With this yoga you can heal yourself.

I love my background in Hatha yoga and cannot thank my dearest teacher Barbara Benagh for instilling in me the love of bodily focus and alignment, but the general flow yoga classes just bore me to tears. It’s like everyone is on repeat. Same old every single time with just a different “affirmation” being preached at me with the same old poses which are never taught. I am so happy to have stumbled onto Kundalini since it has given me an avenue to be different. I am not a Sikh nor a certified Kundalini teacher, but I get it and I can give it. I can give it in my way, with house music in the back ground, by adding dance and by offering people the chance to let go of what they think yoga is and experience something new-something different.

Thank you deeply to the birthday boy (August 26th), Yogi Bhajan for sharing the beautiful art of Kundalini with the world!

I am an Aquarian teacher.

¡Olé Namaste!

~Remember to always be dancing!

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  1. Rock Pose. Sit on heels or in chair, palms on thighs or hands relaxed in lap, spine straight. Relax meditatively in this position. 1-3 minutes.
  2.  Life Nerve Stretch. Extend both legs straight out in front. Grab the big toe(s) in finger-lock. Inhale, lengthen the spine. Exhale, bend forward bringing chest to thighs, and nose to knees. Avoid leading with the head. Long deep Breathing. 1-3 minutes.
  3. Camel Pose. Long, deep breathing. 1-3 minutes. This exercise adjusts the reproductive organs. D8DDA2E4-9BC6-47B9-882E-E00E66B8B97F
  4. Shoulder Stand. Long, deep breathing. 1-3 minutes. This exercise releases pressure on all of the organs and stimulates the thyroid gland.653A7B07-419B-4682-AB04-877838064A08
  5. Archer Pose. Start with right foot forward so that the feet are 2-3 feet apart. The right toes face forward while the left foot comes to a 45 degree angle, with the heel back and the toes forward. The left leg stays straight and strong as the right knee bends until the thigh is almost parallel to the ground (do not let the knee go beyond the toes); tuck the tailbone. Curl the fingers of both hands onto the palms, thumbs pulled back. As if pulling back a bow and arrow, lift the right arm up, extended forward parallel to the ground, over the right knee. The left arm, bent at the elbow, pulls back until the fist is at the left shoulder. Pull Neck Lock. chin in, chest out. Feel this stretch across the chest. Eyes stare beyond the thumb to Infinity. Practice for 1-5 minutes on each side. *Please note: In the standing picture, with my left foot forward, I note my right arm should be higher up. In the seated pose, you should push forward a bit towards the extended knee, which is not evident in the photos.ED6CA45E-DFB2-4400-ACC6-56230A3E5419
  6. Child’s Pose. Palms face up by feet. Totally relax. 1-3 minutes.
  7. Bow Pose. Long Deep Breathing. In chair (or on floor) you can try the one handed version. Stretch up with the extended arm to increase the stretch. 1-3 minutes. 1A3E2B94-A387-4D38-95E1-1AFC2CFAEBC6
  8. Locust Pose. Still on the stomach, feet together, with the chin on the ground, place the fists under the hips where the hips and thighs join. Raise the legs up, and the back of the thighs to keep the legs together. Long Deep Breathing. 1-3 minutes. *I am not sure this is the best chair representation for this pose, but it did allow for a light-opening stretch for the back of the leg.CBF79227-6A23-4FC6-B38F-AAD8401DDA2F
  9. Cow Pose. Do not scrunch the neck. Open the heart and raise the chin as far as you can without collapsing the neck. Hold with long, deep breathing. 1-3 minutes.
  10. Cat Pose. Press chin into chest; arch up like an angry cat. Hold with long, deep breathing. 1-3 minutes.IMG_2476
  11. Stretch Pose. Lie on the back with the feet together, toes pointed. Flatten the lower back. Place hands palms down over the thighs, pointing toward the toes. Lift the head up, apply Neck Lock and look at the toes. Lift the feet up 6 inches and begin Breath of Fire for 1-3 minutes. In chair, raise one or two legs off the floor, out straight. If doing one leg at a time (on floor  or in chair) switch at 1/2 way mark)
  12.  Corpse Pose. Relax on the back or in chair, palms facing up. 3-10 minutes.


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Today’s Kriya: Balance Is The Basis Of Health

Today’s class blends the balancing effect of Alternate Nostril Breathing with the Kriya for Polarity Balance. These two will help to bring balance to the energy channel that runs down the center of your body, the channel to allow the prana, your life force, to flow freely & energetically throughout the body.

Two main components of prana are the prana and apana vayus, or winds. Prana vayu is located in the head by the third eye and its energy pervades the chest area (like an inhale). Its flow is up and out. Apana Vayu is located by the pelvic floor and its energy pervades the lower abdomen. Its flow is down and out (like an exhale).The main channel is the Shushumna Nadi-the central energy channel that is flanked by, on the left, the Ida, female moon energy that starts at the root and ends n the left nostril and on the right, by the Pingala, masculine, sun energy that ends in the right nostril. These two nadis, criss-cross the shushumna nadi, resembling a cadusa, intersecting at each chakra.

Alternate Nostril Breathing Exercise (click here to follow along as I do the breathing exercise.)

Breathing long and deep through the right nostril will give energy.

Breathing long and deep through the left nostril bring calmness.

Breathing long and deeply through alternate nostrils simultaneously  soothes, calms and energizes the whole nervous system which will revitalize you.

1 min. each

  1. Breathe only with the left nostril.
  2. Breathe only with the right nostril.
  3. Breathe in with the left and out with the right.
  4. Breathe in with the right and out with the left.
  5. Close the right nostril, inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the end of the inhale, close the left nostril and exhale through the right. Now alternate sides, back and forth.

To End: Inhale deeply, hold the breath a few seconds, lower the hand, and exhale.

Seated Warm-Up: Hip Circles; Spinal Flex; Twist; Lazy Neck Rolls; Butterfly; Boat…

Kriya for Polarity Balance 

Here is a video of me performing the exercises.

  1. Tilted Balance: Extend through the core. Balance is the basis for health. 2 min. each side.
  2. Demi-Squats: Inhale up; Exhale down. This exercise will put pressure on
    the hips, spine and the muscles along the back. 5 min.
  3. March w/ Robot Arms: move the arms back and forth with a precise and controlled
    movement. The left arm should move forward as the right knee comes up. Continue alternating sides. For the final minute, increase the pace, moving powerfully.
    5 min.Chair Yoga Kundalini Kriya for Polarity Balance
  4. Wide Legged Hip Circles: Allow the entire body to move and rotate. 3 min. 
  5. Heel March: Dance on your toes. Hips move. 3 min.Chair Yoga Kundalini Kriya for Polarity Balance
  6. Yoga Jumping Jacks: Rhythmic 3 min. IMG_4622
  7. Dancing Pointer Dog: Try to kick butt. The left arm should move forward as the right foot kicks back. Continue alternating sides. 3 min. IMG_4623
  8. Dancing Pointer Dog  w/ Partner: Face a partner. Do same exercise but grasp hands and lift legs together on alternate sides as legs go back. 1-1/2 min. 

  9. Partner Squats: Spread legs. Hold hands facing each other. Squat in demi-knee bends, then come up. Inhale up, exhale down. 1-3 min.
  10. Straight Line w/ Arms-Over-Shoulder Group Standing Meditation: Close eyes. Stand still. 1-5 min (play Electric Boogie). Feel the group electricity. IMG_4270
  11. Seated Cross Heart Mediation: Sit in an easy meditative pose. Fold and hold the hands at heart center. (Listen to Guru Ram Das Lullaby by Bachan Kaur. Sing along in head)
  12. Rest w/ Chakra Meditation: Lie down and rest. Meditatively sleep.

Playlist:

  1. Ong Namo by Eeday
  2. Breathe-Prana Apana by Ananda Yogiji f. Jaya Lakshmi
  3. My Friend Is A Seahorse (James Priestley & Dan Berkson’s Bariz e Syntho Remix) by Kissogram
  4. Ease My Mind (DJ Premier Mix) by Arrested Development
  5. Om Zone Pt. 1 by Stephen Halpern
  6. Circles by Adam F
  7. Adi Shakti-Bhakti Mantra by Ajeet Kaur
  8. Om Namaha Shiva by Sheila Chandra
  9. Ek Ong Kar by Tina Malia
  10. In White Rooms (Neo Mix) by Booka Shade
  11. Wahe Guru by Jai-Jagdeesh
  12. Electric Boogie by Marcia Griffith
  13. Ek Ong Kar by Simrit Kar
  14. Guru Ram Das Lullaby by Bachan Kaur
  15. Humme Hum by Mirabai Ceiba
  16. Eterno Sol by Balwant Kaur & Gurinder Singh

 


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Today’s Kriya: Intuitive Awareness

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I am always trying to open paths to a richer experience. When I teach yoga, I choose a contemplation and from there build the class. This week, I was inspired by something my yoga teacher talked about and I kept mulling over it for myself. Intuitive awareness. To be intuitively aware; Allowing your intuition to blossom and grow like a flower because you are aware of it and its power. IMG_4074

When I meditate, I see colors. I see a crunching blackness and then it gets eaten away by the vivid colors of the rainbow-like a geode kaleidoscope. Sometimes its deep and dark purple/indigo/blue; others times bright yellow and one time even pink and green-like watermelon tourmaline. I feel calm and floating when I see these colors. I am in awe and entranced yet at peace.  Another student mentioned after class that she too saw colors. Her pattern is different than mine but I could totally relate. I am so inspired by her discovery that I am planning a chakra balancing class for next week and I will be interested to hear her experience with it. I see these color-visions as relating to the chakras. Each chakra is a whirling energy center along the spine and head. Each one a lotus flower that blooms and grows in each of these energy centers. Every chakra is related to a gland or glands. The ultimate goal to balance the chakras would have a profound effect on over-all health and well-being-total happiness, health and wholesomeness.

 

Breathing Sequence (1-3 min each) :

 

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  1. Left nostril breathing only.
  2. Right nostril breathing only.
  3. Breath in left and out right only.
  4. Breathe in right and out left only.
  5. Alternate nostril breathing (In left & out right; In right & out left…)
  6. Breath of fire.                                                                                                                              *at end of each section, breathe in and hold for 10-30 seconds, pull up root lock; try to beam out the third eye the whole time/eyes at 3/4 

Wake-Up The Body (Modified Morning Sadhana) (1-3 minutes each)

  1. Cow/Cat
  2. Knee-to-NoseB590112C-E39C-4923-AAB3-4732C54FE0C4
  3. Hug Side-to-Side
  4. Cactus-Arm Twist
  5. Spinal Flex 5FB62A7F-ED3B-411E-9376-04CE99D33898
  6. Life Nerve Stretch
  7. Butter Fly-Flaps & Hold
  8. Pelvic TiltsDE3CE6B7-E46F-4E3B-81CD-D49481B5304A
  9. Pistons (Hold at end)
  10. Rest
  11. Rock and RollD309111A-F1A2-4131-9EBC-D0E166D59338
  12. Cobra (Hold & Side Glances)
  13. Child’s Pose

Here is the sequence in a chair:

(link to Youtube chair yoga version of the sequence)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Meditative Movement Series To Fully Relax The Body. (3-5 minutes each, except #4)

  1. Stand and dance gracefully. Arms are completely relaxed. Close eyes. Consciously release all the tension from each body part. Scan and release. Begin to sway gently. Dance gracefully with freeing, easy movements, using every body part
  2. Stop. Stand still and straight. Begin to gently touch every part of your body. Feel sensitive with the palms of hands.
  3. Lean forward and hang completely relaxed. Use a block or a chair to rest on if the floor is too far away. Gently bend your knees so your hips can be completely relaxed. Breathe normally.
  4. Stand carefully. Hang back slowly with arms hanging loosely by sides. Feel like you are resting on Little Bo Peeps crook. Back up along the pole and then upper back gracefully following the crook. (1 minute only)

Cross Heart Kriya With A Partner: This meditation balances the hemispheres of your brain, allows your past to become processed and released, and eliminates insecurities.

  1. Sit back-to-back with a partner. Spine straight and together.
  2. All all grudges to release as you breathe easily.
  3. Cross the forearms below the wrist and place them in front of the chest. Arms should be out slightly and angled a bit up towards the chest.
  4. Eye Focus: Look down to the tip of your nose.
  5. Mantra: Sa – Infinity Ta – Life Na – Death, Transformation Ma – Birth
  6. Process: Chant “Sa Ta Na Ma” and press the corresponding fingers to your thumb on each syllable. Chant out- loud (2 min.); chant in a loud whisper (2 min.) chant in head and continue hand movements (4 min.); chant in a loud whisper (2 min.); Chant out- loud (2 min.).  Hear the chant with your third ear which is in the same location as your third eye, right in the middle of the brow.
    Sa – Press thumb and index finger (brings knowledge)
    Ta – Press thumb and middle finger (brings wisdom and patience)
    Na – Press thumb and ring finger (brings vitality)
    Ma – Press thumb and pinkie finger (brings enhanced communication)
  7. To Finish: Inhale and suspend breath, roll eyes up to look out third eye and become completely still.
  8. Relax in resting pose.

 

 

Playlist:

  1. On Namo Guru Tune-In by Shakta Kaur Khalsa
  2. Breathe-Prana-Apana by Ananda Yogiji f. Jaya Lakshmi
  3. Circles by Adam F
  4. Ek Ong Kar by Simrit Kaur
  5. Move Your Body by Marshall Jefferson
  6. Bah Samba (Yoruna Soul Vocal Mix) by Tired Little One
  7. Toast by Koffee
  8. Om Tar Tuttare (Red Fulka Remix) by Deva Premal & Miten
  9. Salala by Angelique Kidjo f. Peter Gabriel
  10. Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru by (unknown)
  11.  Short Kirtan Kriya by Nirinjan Kaur
  12. Long Time Sun by Paramjeet Singh & Kaur