Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Kundalini Yoga treat in Yoga Plus

I love sharing what I'm currently into and so, after coming back home from the yoga retreat, I invited a bunch of friends to join me in a kundalini class at the sprawling new studio of Yoga Plus in Salcedo Village in Makati.

I have to hand it to kundalini teacher Marisa HardNah, not only was she happy to oblige, she even came up with a poster (right photo) indicating that "the path to higher consciousness begins when our head learns how to bow to our heart."

Well, my friends were in for a surprise. Kundalini is different from any of the mainstream yoga practiced in Manila. Instead of a standard set of asanas, kundalini focuses on kriyas to address a health concern or emotional issue. The kriya is designed to work on a specific organ through elimination, purification, etc and heal  at the cellular level. For example, to address anger, the liver or the third chakra is most likely unbalanced and thus, the kriya to bring new circulation to the liver, spleen and adrenals may help.

Each kriya varies and as Marisa emphasized, there are over a thousand different kriyas.  A kriya is a set of asanas combined with breathing techniques (such as the breath of fire), body locks, mantras, hand mudras and the length of time for each kriya may be as short as 15 minutes to as long as 40 minutes.

Annie and Tessa with Marisa 
The class normally starts by tuning-in. The Adi mantra which goes "Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo" is recited three times. The translation is I bow to the subtle divine wisdom, I bow to the divine teacher within. This is an ancient mantra as taught by Yogi Bhajan, to center to the higher self and to spiritually guide both the teacher and the students during the class.

Actually, tuning-in before the class is not new. In ashtanga for instance, the opening mantra is "Vande Gurunam Charanaravinde..." The difference is, in Kundalini, the mantra is recited while sitting in an easy pose, with straight spine, the palms are placed together in a prayer mudura at the heart center with fingers pointed up at 60 degrees with the base of thumbs pressing against the sternum.

After tuning-in, the sequence in kundalini usually starts with spinal warm ups and stretching, then the kriya (may be more than one),  then meditation. The closing sequence  includes a cat stretch, spine roll, rubbing of the hands and feet together, singling in english "May the long time sun shine upon you" and reciting Sat Nam three times.

with Yoga Plus Neil, Dina and Dinah 
For this special class, Marisa wanted it to be extra special and thus, found three kriyas that would [as she indicated in the poster] "release tension, re-vibrate your life, kiss depression and fear goodbye and be you."

The kriyas that she chose and its benefits were: (1) Elimination and circulation kriya - to drain lymph glands in the groin and thighs, maintain potency, stimulate the sex nerve, regenerate the nervous system, improve digestion and elimination and release toxin from the throat glands;  (2) Commanding the Command Center of Glandular system kriya - to clean the subconscious mind and bring clarity in times of chaos. Stimulates the pituitary glands to strengthen intuition; and (3) Pitta kriya - to destress, stabilize mood, conquer depression and strengthen resolve.

Unfortunately [for me], we never made it to Pitta kriya.  Mind you, the sets were not easy and my friends were already grunting 'happy birthday Rosan' in between poses. Despite the fact that Marisa halved the timing of the sets, we still ended past ten o'clock. We didn't mind not finishing the last kriya to destress since most were already starving and tired.

with Shakti Kitchen chef Madonna English
Dinner was a healthy healing treat from Madonna's new "Shakti Kitchen" vegetarian catering. She served quinoa salad and fresh spring rolls. Luckily, Yoga Plus' Salcedo branch had a lounge area to set up the buffet spread which was complimented by Corner Tree's organic red and white wines and my favorite salted caramel chocolate torte.

Marisa wanted to impart to us that kundalini is a science and as such, there are specific lengths of time needed to obtain certain desired effects. She shared this information:
3 min - affects circulation (blood) and electromagnetic field
7 min - causes brain patterns to begin to shift and the magnetic field surrounding the body to increase in strength
11 min - changes glandular system and nerves
22 min - balance and coordinates the three minds - the negative, positive and neutral. The subconscious mind begins to clear.
31 min - affects the cells and rhythms of the body and all layers of the mind's projection
62 min - changes the gray matter of the brain, integrates the subconscious shadow mind and the outer projection
2 1/2 hours - holds the new pattern in the subconscious mind by the surrounding universal mind

Yogi Bhajan said that it takes 40 days to change a habit. He recommended to practice a particular kriya or meditation everyday straight, consistently for a number of days: 40 days will break the habit; 90 days will confirm the new habit; 120 days will make the new habit your identity and 1,000 days is requited to master the new habit.

I'm not sure if my friends would come back and practice this esoteric form of yoga but I'm happy that they showed up and endured the class. Satnam!  :-)
after class with the birthday crew, thanks guys for coming!!


Kundalini Yoga Manila with HarNadh said...

Sat Nam God-dess Rosan! This effort IS indeed an amazing pioneering act of generosity on your part. The practice of Kundalini Yoga is focused on the 1st Sutra: The Other Person IS You! What you do to yourself you to Others!

You've given ALL of us an opportunity to "experience" community in celebration of your own life. Thank you!

YOU are an amazing Teacher indeed. Sat Nam.

May you have every thing you want and need!

Kasbah Restaurant said...

How wonderful! Thank you for this amazing & original way to celebrate your birthday Rosan and so happy to have been a part of it! More blessings your way!