Happy Yoga Month everyone! Unfortunately, when I started my yoga journey, there was no Yoga Month. I had little in the way of yoga awareness, so I had to unleash my curiosity and hunt around for information. I read books, attended workshops and conferences, searched for popular classes, studios, and teachers, and kept an open mind in regards to what would happen when I unfurled my mat in yet another unfamiliar space with an unfamilar teacher.
At first I played it safe and stayed with the style of yoga that I was used to -- Vinyasa. After practicing yoga regularly for a few years, I decided that it was time to experiment and try new styles. My journey through yoga was quite fun and I found that I quite enjoyed a number of yoga styles. When I lived in Boston, I had trouble finding a Kundalini class. I had read a bit about Kundalini and was intrigued, but I continued to strike out when searching for a class. My first Kundalini experience was a DVD by Ana Brett and Ravi Singh . Because I lacked experience, I overdid it and wound up with a sore neck for 3 days. Ouch!
When I eventually found a class locally, I was a wee bit intimidated by all of the white, the head coverings, and the kurtas. When I walked into my first class, I was not wearing all white (nor was my head covered) and I felt as if I were somehow disrespecting the tradition. Luckily, the teacher and my fellow classmates (many of whom were also not wearing white) seemed tolerant of my lack of preparedness in the clothing department. For me Kundalini yoga was an acquired taste. I found the motto "push through the pain" to be a little off-putting as I'm firmly in the camp of "if there's pain, stop!" Still, there was something that had me coming back to Kundalini.
Years later I now practice Kundalini quite regularly. The difficulty in finding classes nearby hasn't changed though, so I've created my very own library of my favorite teachers/classes. If you're a Kundalini Yoga fan or if you'd like to add another style to your yoga repertoire, check out these online resources:
One of my favorite Kundalini teachers is YogaToday's Sarah Kline. Yoga Today offers a whole library of Sarah's classes, which you can download for only $3.99. There's a huge selection to choose from. Here are some highlights: Sequence to Eliminate Fear, Kundalini Practice for Optimum Health, Create Youthfulness, Your Emotional Health Is in Your Glands, The Warrior Workout, Awakening Creativity. The list goes on and on. The phrase "there's something for everyone" applies here. If you'd like to see Sarah in action, check out these free Kundalini Yoga classes on YouTube: Karmic Kundalini , Introduction to Kundalini Yoga , Renewing Our Rhythms , A Brain Balancing Kundalini Set . All of these free classes are excellent and no, Sarah doesn't wear white.
Yogi Jim offers a number of short Kundalini sets and meditations on his Web site. He also offers a longer class -- Flexibility, Weightloss and Strength . The videos on this site are perfect for anyone wanting a short Kundalini break. Click here to browse through the videos.
Guru Rattana offers Kundalini streaming video classes on the Yoga Technology Web site for a monthly fee of $7.95. These classes are akin to taking a class in a traditional Kundalini studio. Click here for more information.
YogaVibes offers only 1 Kundalini class, but it's a goodie! The Kriya for Morning Sadhana class runs just over an hour and includes 23 kriyas done for approximately 1 minute each along with a meditation and relaxation complete with gong. Click here for a preview of the class and purchasing instructions.
MyYogaOnline.com has a bigger selection of Kundalini videos than YogaVibes with the range running from full length practices to shorter practices that last anywhere from 9-15 minutes each. Some of the classes offer vigorous practices, so they are perfect for a Kundalini yogi looking for a challenge. The collection of Kundalini classes even includes Maya Fiennes' Kundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress, which was formerly offered in DVD format only.
If you don't need video and are happy with pictures and well-written descriptions of the poses, check out the free Kundalini Yoga Exercises and Kundalini Kriyas on Anmol Mehta's site. The sets include spinal warm-up, a beginner's set, core abdominal strengthening kriyas, a heart chakra balancing set, a fountain of youth set, and yoga exercises for eye care and vision problems. There are 21 sets in total. Click here to access them. KundaliniYoga.com also offers free online classes, laid out in the form of 24 lessons. The lessons are not limited to, but include kriyas. Click here to access them.
Yoga Month is about discovery for new students, yes, but it's also about exploration for existing students. Why not try something different -- a new style, a new teacher, a new studio, or perhaps, a new DVD. Some of my richest yoga experiences are when I have kept an open mind and tried something new.
Even though I've been practicing yoga regularly for over 12 years, my yoga journey is far from over. May your journey be a long one as well, filled with exciting and enlightening twists and turns. Happy Yoga Month everyone!