5 Kundalini techniques to harness your inner yogi anytime, anywhere. By Becca Powers
First it was 2020, and then it was 2021…both years brought about uncertainty, unknowns, and a whole lot of stress for even the most seasoned yogi. As a student and a teacher of Kundalini Yoga, I have missed sitting with my yogic brothers and sisters, being united in chants with the power of our mantra melting over the class, the cosmic boom of the gong, the sweet sense of transformation that’s in the air when everyone arises from Savasana, and the enlightened chats over tea with classmates. The lack of the physical experience impacted my spirit, for sure.
Fast forward to today, we can see that our yoga community has shifted; we are hybrid, a mix of in-person and online classes. With all the uncertainty of the times, came the need for flexibility. This shift has helped yoga teachers stay yoga teachers and yoga students stay sane. At the same time, there are many fellow yogis who feel more disconnected from their practice and the peace it once produced.
If that sounds like you, then here are five Kundalini Yoga techniques that really helped me to raise my vibration and energy. These are anytime, anywhere yogic life hacks for anyone.
1. Alternate Nostril Breathing
This is a neutralising breath that reduces stress and anxiety. It’s equal part inhale and exhale. To start, take your right thumb and press it against your right nostril preventing air getting in or out while allowing the inhale to come in through the left nostril. Next take the pointer finger of your right hand and close the left nostril allowing your exhale to come out from the right nostril. When that exhale is complete, keep your finger over your left nostril while you inhale through your right nostril. When that inhale is complete, use your right thumb to close the right nostril and release the exhale from the left nostril. Finally, keep alternating nostrils in equal inhales and exhales for 1 to 3 minutes.
2. The Magic Mantra: Ek Ong Kar Sat Gur Prasaad
This is known in the Kundalini Yoga community as the magic mantra. Just the very sound of listening to it can bring miracles into your life. Chant along with it and its magic increases. You can find several versions of it available on your favourite music streaming service or YouTube. It is said to only be in positive thought when listening to it, for it has the power to immediately manifest. This mantra is a mood and energy enhancer and highly recommended.
3. Box Breathing
Not only is this taught in Kundalini Yoga, but it is also taught to veterans suffering from PTSD. Our breath is our life force. Mindful breathing is very powerful and helps us to reduce the effects of stress, anxiety, and worry. It helps to increase positive emotions like peace, joy, and wellbeing. For this breath it’s four equal parts. I recommend starting with four seconds. Start by inhaling through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, then exhale for four seconds, ending with another breath hold for four seconds. Repeat for 1 to 3 minutes.
4. Alternate Thumb to Finger
This mudra awakens energy within you and brings your life force to you. Each finger represents a different energy and when all are done together it brings in peace and harmony.
With both hands to start, touch your thumbs to your pointer fingers (knowledge), then your thumbs to your middle fingers (patience), next your thumbs to you ring fingers (vitality), lastly touch your thumbs to your little fingers (clarity). Repeat for 1 to 3 minutes.
5. 1 Minute Breath of Fire
If you are feeling stuck, depressed, and/ or exhausted this breath is designed to bring in energy, vitality, and aliveness. Derived from the sun’s energy, breath of fire done consecutively for 1 minute a day for 40 days is said to clear depression, reconnecting you to your radiance. Start by placing your hand on your diaphragm and fill your lungs up with air, as you feel your diaphragm rise on the inhale - done through your nostrils and a closed mouth. Next, powerfully exhale your breath through your nostrils only until you feel your diaphragm completely empty. Now increase your pace as if you are a puppy panting, feeling the quickness of the diaphragm rising on the inhale and emptying on the exhale. Once you have completed a couple of practice rounds release your hands, close your eyes, sit straight with your spine erect either in a chair or cross-legged on the floor, and begin to powerfully inhale and exhale from the diaphragm as we practiced in quick in and out breaths. Continue for 1 to 3 minutes.