Yoga can Decrease the Stress Response in Pregnant Women

Pregnant women can encourage life long health in their children by being relaxed during pregnancy. When women are stressed, their cortisol levels increase, which can have detrimental effects on the fetus, priming them to a lifelong exaggerated response to stress, and perhaps a susceptibility to addictive behaviour patterns to diffuse the stress response. Yoga and meditation are effective tools in pregnancy to decrease the stress response, protecting mother and child. A 2009 study published in the Int J Gynaecol Obstet Mar;104(3) explored the effect of yoga on stress and heart rate variability in pregnant women. One hundred and twenty-two healthy women between the 18th and 20th week of pregnancy in Bangalore, India, were randomized to practicing yoga and deep relaxation or standard prenatal exercises 1-hour daily. The results revealed that perceived stress decreased by 31.57% in the yoga group and increased by 6.60% in the control group. During a guided … Continued

The Yogi’s Prayer

The Yogi’s Prayer Relinquish desire and attachment Enjoy “what is” right now. Accept pain and pleasure Equally in peace. Release selfishness and pride Cultivate humility, and a generous heart. Surrender doubt Trusting the architecture of undivided wholeness. Let the words of enlightened beings guide thoughts and actions. Do not be drawn by the senses into craving or aversion, Sleep just enough, Eat lightly, Apply the principle of moderation. Let truth, contentment and self-discipline be your companions. Neither dwell in fear, nor animosity Be meticulously conscious While living in the world, Keep the connection to God intact. Dedicate each thought, word and deed to the Infinite. Override the ego. Love the Beloved all hours of night and day, Even among family activity, work and play. Maintain your yogic postures with deep internal silence Purity exists beyond thought. Lovingly attune to the sound current of Infinity Vibrate the unstruck melody. Listen with … Continued

Pranayams in Kundalini Yoga: Suspending the Exhale

Yogi Bhajan rarely cautioned against doing any of the exercises, for any population group. In fact, he taught many yoga sets and meditations specifically for anxiety and depression. When you suspend the exhale in a pranayam, it sometimes brings up fear (for anyone) linked to fear of death, that may cause panic. This is something that is good to practice in a gradual way (ie holding it a few seconds longer over time while practicing it every day) to allow fear to come up in a safe environment and be released, through calm neutral observation, acceptance and concentrated moment-by-moment absorption on the breath itself. In this way, fears that might come up in life may be diminished. In general if any technique causes a person to feel uncomfortable in an unmanageable way, it should be stopped. However, discomfort while beginning a technique is acceptable, and indeed often behind that discomfort … Continued

Kundalini Yoga Meditation Practice: 40 Days of Long Chant

This is a journal from an experience doing 40 days of Long Chant, for 2.5 hours each day.   Day 12: This morning I chanted for 2 1/2 hours with a woman who is also a saxophone player. We had an incredible time. Matching tones perfectly, even before we heard each other, projecting from the navel, using lots of breath. At one point during the chant I burst out laughing because there was a tortoise looking at me, turning his head to see me better, just in front of my face, some kind of inter-species communication. Time passed very quickly. I zoned into the sound and became totally (almost) present with each syllable, as though surfing a wave, synchronizing with the other voice and person behind it. Engaging fully moment by moment. Feeling the tones in my body, enjoying each new sound. I had the experience that the sounds already exist; … Continued

Let the Kriya Carry You

Insight from a Toronto Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training Student: In my practice of Kundalini Yoga I often cannot complete a particular posture within a specific Kriya. I also view K-yoga as an advanced yoga and my practice level is at a beginner level. So in order for me to participate it is important to do my best (level of effort, active is crucial) so that I am actively in the process and all my systems are engaged. Once that is taking place at a physical level I ask what is the intent of this posture process etc. I imagine that I am being held in that posture by “spiritual helpers (a force greater than me)”. I open to whatever the effects are within the design of the kriya. I have found that each posture or process takes me from one state to the next. No matter how “difficult” or “easy” … Continued

Sadhana Inspired

The discipline of early morning sadhana is sometimes difficult to maintain. We try with will, with guilt, with habit, with group consciousness, with commitment to maintain it. I find the attitude that works best for me (as a bhakti yogi), is to think of it as a date with my soul. Recently I have been very inspired by Guru Nanak, and this morning these words of his woke me up at 3:30 a.m.: “the day of the marriage of the soul-bride with her Lord has dawned. O friends, pour the oil of love down upon the threshold, and give me all your blessings, that I may know a perfect union with my Lord. This call is being sent to all homes each day – so forget not the One who calls. O Nanak, the day is drawing near for everyone.” These lines are part of the Sikh prayer called Kirtan … Continued

Kundalini Yoga is Suitable for All Ayurvedic Constitutional Types

Kundalini Yoga consists of a wide variety of pranayams, mantras, and kriyas that can be tailored to fit Ayurvedic constitutional types. For example, while a set that uses a lot of breath of fire or Sat Kriya may be too stimulating for SOME pitta types, another kriya that uses left nostril breathing, sitali breathing and less breath of fire can be perfect. For the pitta and vata constitutions, the relaxation breaks that are used between exercises help balance any heating effect of an exercise, so that one does not overheat. The way Kundalini Yoga is practiced can also be adjusted – a vata type can go more slowly through the exercises, a kapha type can be encouraged to push through it and pitta can be guided to relax more between exercises. In short, absolutely everyone can benefit from Kundalini Yoga, but guidance may be required to select suitable practices for … Continued

Bhakti Yoga in Action

Bhakti Yoga is the yoga of devotion. It can be practiced in the following ways. 1) being with the company of saints 2) a fondness for divine stories 3) serving your spiritual teacher 4) sincerely singing God’s praises 5) repeating a Divine name of God with faith 6) practicing self-control and virtues 7) seeing God in all without distinction 8) having gratitude for all that you have and receive 9) overlooking others faults 10) being honest in dealings with others 11) unwavering faith in God.