Tuesday, March 3, 2009

O.k., I'll admit it. I think I am becoming addicted, but at least to something good.

So it isn't Twizzlers, Outrageous Tyra episodes, or facebook that I am addicted to now, it actually happens to be something good for me, Kundalini Yoga. I have been waiting to blog about this, because I really wanted to see if I was addicted or not. I have tried many workout regimes in the past and Yoga had been one of them, either through classes or books, but it had never quite stuck with me. It always felt way to slow paced for my energy. I loved the way my body felt when doing the stretches, but my mind and body didn't feel like they were really getting the workout that they needed. So a little over a year ago I was getting really bored with going to the gym and just felt like I was in a rut. I wanted to start doing a workout routine that I could do at home. I started looking into some different exercise methods and videos on the internet and that is when I came upon Kundalini Yoga.

Kundalini Yoga is different than other forms of yoga in that it "blends breathing, movement, stretching, meditation, chanting and the science of sequence" and it is much faster paced. It encourages a cardiovascular workout, which enhances the mind. According to Wikipedia, Kundalini Yoga is, "sometimes called "the yoga of awareness" because it awakens the "kundalini" which is the unlimited potential that already exists within every human being. Practitioners believe that when the infinite potential energy is raised in the body it stimulates the higher centers, giving the individual enhanced intuition and mental clarity and creative potential. As such, kundalini was considered a dangerous practice by ruling powers and so, was historically practiced in secret. Only after a lengthy initiation process was the knowledge handed down from Master to student."

I have to admit that knowing that alone already had me convinced that it is pretty much the shit, but I don't think I have quite achieved that status. After doing some research I came upon two sets of videos that I wanted to try. The first video was "Kundalini Yoga with Gurmukh". Well who is Gurmukh you ask? "Gurmukh is the co-founder and director of Golden Bridge, the premier center for the study and practice of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation in Los Angeles, CA, and New York City. Gurmukh was given her Sikh spiritual name by Yogi Bhajan, her Spiritual Teacher since 1970, meaning “one who helps thousands of people across the world ocean." Since then, Gurmukh has dedicated her life to fulfilling her namesake. For over three decades, students in Los Angeles and around the world have sought her classes in Kundalini yoga and meditation" according to the Golden Bridge website. So she is kind of the Guru of the Kundalini world. There is no better way to describe Gurmukh than to humorlessly say that proof of her work is in the lack of pudding.

The woman is in her seventies and has the most flawless, natural, glowing, radiance about her that it literally seems as if she must have drank from the fountain of youth. In the beginning of the video she speaks about the Kundalini practice and the health and beauty attributes that it can have with consistent use and it is awe inspiring. I felt intrigued and I loved her and the video instantly, but I wasn't quite hooked yet, until I ordered my first video from the Ravi Singh and Ana Brett series.

Ravi Singh and Ana Brett are Kundalini Yoga followers and experts. Through their practice they have created a set of DVD's that give you breathing exercises, stretches, work outs, and meditations that are faster paced and provide motivating positive energy. They have had their clients such as Modonna, Donna Karan, and the Red Hot Chile Peppers all praise their expertise. I had a very hard time at first with the work outs in the videos and I had been working out and running consistently for years. I felt sore in places I know I had never worked out before. However, I instantly began seeing results in my body, especially in my posture. I also had feelings that I had never got from just exercise before. I actually felt energized and I began feeling strong. I found that the combination of the mantras and the breathing excercises, along with meditating really helped to get me through the more difficult stretches, until I was finally doing things I was amazed I could. Along with the physical compensations, the words of power and the self actualizing meditations raised my sense of awareness and yet made me feel more comfortable and relaxed with myself.

As I have progressed through many of the videos now I have changed my focus from practicing Kundalini Yoga for just a work out and it has become much more of a support system for me. I feel like it has been the inhibitor in the process of my wanting a more healthy and spiritually fulfilled life. Personally, religion had never filled the spiritual need in my life, because it always felt that I was looking to something or someone else to answer life's questions. Through, with this practice I don't feel like those questions are not there, but it has taught me to look inside myself for the answers not to someone else. I do not want to get spiritual, because I think everyone has their beliefs and they all matter equally, but for me Yoga is also so much more powerful than just a religion. It combines a practice of the mind, body, and spirit and grants you the power to control your own health in a proactive way. I have been doing it for over a year now and I know I feel better every day that I do it and I can't say that about bad Tyra episodes or pints of Ben and Jerry's.