3 Revitalizing Kundalini Yoga Techniques

These are three of the many revitalizing techniques used in Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. They are most effective when done in a systematic way that brings about a specific result. In that way, renewed vitality in the energy systems of the body and mind can be better achieved.

Breath of Fire 

To practice this pranayama technique, sit with a straight spine and keep the body relaxed. Breathe a light, even, and quick breath through both nostrils, as it you were panting. While breathing this short and quick breath through the nose, simply allow the belly at the navel point to move naturally. (There is no need to force the pumping motion of the belly). The inhalation and exhalation, being equal in length and pressure, should move effortlessly. 

Whether we practice this breath for three minutes or 31 minutes, it is important to recognize that it has the benefit of one long breath. The longer and more slowly we breathe, the more control we have of our thoughts and our emotions. Regard the entire time you practice the breath as one long breath cycle. Now, relax and enjoy. 

Breath of fire oxygenates the blood, activates the navel point, warms the body, and helps us overcome depression. It makes us active, present, alert, and alive.

Spinal Flex 

This movement can be done with the legs crossed while sitting on the floor, hands placed gently on the knees, or on the ankles or shins. Spinal flexes can also be done while sitting on your heels (or knees), still on the floor, hands resting on the thighs. Spinal flexes can also be done while siting in a chair or on a stool, preferably with no arms on the chair or stool. The movement is done exactly as it would be when sitting on the floor.

Inhale as you lift the spine forward and slightly upward, opening the chest through the heart. Exhale as you relax the spine back and slightly downward. Keep the neck long without tension throughout the movement. It is important to consider that we are releasing tension from the spine during spinal flex; therefore, snapping or forcing the body movement goes against the intention of the movement. Sustain a steady, smooth, flowing motion.

As you inhale, the spine moves forward and slightly upward; on the exhale, the spine moves back and slightly downward. The energetic engagement with this spinal movement should be one of ease rather than force. This fluid, rocking motion gives the greatest benefit if we relax and enjoy in a rhythm of two breaths per second. 

‘Saa Taa Naa Maa’ Mantra

In Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan, we use sound and mantras from the Gurmukhi language. This language is used only for sacred communication in prayer, sacred texts, and songs of praise (kirtan). It is a sound current that cuts through negative thoughts and feelings that often remain hidden from our rational mind.

An example is the mantra “Saa Taa Naa Maa,” which has been researched scientifically and proven to be effective in benefiting a variety of mental and physical health conditions, including Alzheimer’s. Similar to the way a mother coos to soothe her baby, we use our voices to create sound and rhythm of a mantra with an intention to bring about a certain effect—to create a relationship between you and the infinite.  The mantra provides a way to make a connection between your individuated being and the un-manifest, unified energies of the universe. 

Chant “Saa Taa Naa Maa” and be aware of how the tongue strikes the roof of the mouth. Chant it while holding a certain intention. Chant aloud; then in a whisper; then silently repeat the mantra with your inner voice.    

Science has begun to prove what yogis have known for a long time: We can use sound frequencies to clear the mind and bring us to a state of consciousness in which we are filled with the energy of peace. 

Krishna Kaur, E-RYT, a master teacher trainer of Kundalini Yoga since 1970, has studied directly with Yogi Bhajan for more than 35 years.

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