What You May Need
Getting yourself set up to practice can be as simple or as elaborate and ceremonial as you wish. In truth, yoga requires very little of us- if you can breathe, you can practice! That said, these additional suggested materials might help you to settle in.
How To: Tune In (The Adi Mantra)
The Adi Mantra is key to all Kundalini Yoga practices. It is used to “tune in,” setting the stage for a practice of aligning us with our highest selves and intentions.
If you’re unaccustomed to chanting, the idea of using mantra can initially feel uncomfortable or intimidating. That’s completely normal and okay! Consider that not many of us are in the habit of opening our voices and expression. There is no way around the discomfort— can’t go around it or over it, the only way is through!
There are many benefits to the ancient science of mantra. Naad, one particular system of yoga, is based on the premise that everything that exists (including us), consists of sound vibration. From one sound, the whole world evolves, “Aum.”
Everything in our Universe corresponds to sound. By vibrating at a particular frequency, we attune ourselves to particular situations, people, and levels of consciousness. Think of the Adi Mantra as the “phone number” that dials you into the god of your own understanding.
You’re encouraged to expand yourself beyond your perceived limitations.
If chanting makes you uncomfortable, remember that this is just a piece of a story. The goal in our awakening and ascension is to move past our old stories.
How To: Breath of Fire
The Breath of Fire is a breath technique often used in the Kundalini Yoga tradition. It is all at once invigorating, cleansing, and balancing.
Often, pranayams are designed to either relax or “fire us up,” working with rhythm, segmented breathing, holding the breath in or out, and eye focus. Depending on the exact formula, they target either the parasympathetic response or the sympathetic response.
The really sweet thing about Breath of Fire is that it balances out both our relaxation response and our get-up-and-go. A regular practice of it detoxes the blood and reboots the system.
This video is designed to introduce you to it, as it is regularly used in pranayam meditations or within kriya practices themselves. You could practice Breath of Fire on its own as a quick way to reset.
Please note that as there is a pumping motion of the navel, Breath of Fire is not recommended during pregnancy. You are also advised to be gentle while on your menstrual cycle. Some women like to avoid it altogether during their moon time, while others avoid it during the heavy flow days or take it a bit more slowly. If you choose to opt out, you can sub with long deep breathing.
It is normal to get a bit dizzy when first getting accustomed to this practice. If that is the case, slow down or stop, and proceed when you’re ready again.
Simple Warm Ups
This practice can be done on its own, to oxygenate the blood and warm the spine. It’s also great to use before a sadhana practice.