Infinite Worth: Intro to Kundalini Yoga

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Sara & Trisha pictured preparing for  Sat Kriya

Have you been wondering what all this Kundalini Yoga talk is all about? You aren’t alone!

While I had heard of and practiced Kundalini Yoga sparingly in the past, it wasn’t until 2 years ago when I completed my first 40 day Sadhana (spiritual practice – traditionally done in the very early morning hours) that I realized and witnessed how potent this practice could be. Within the first week I noticed I wasn’t reactive. I wasn’t getting overwhelmed with my small kids, we weren’t late for everything, my home was organized but most of all my MIND was at ease. I wasn’t stuck in a pity party over my circumstances anymore, and I was able to create big plans for how I wanted to move forward from a year of big changes. It was truly an incredible turning point in my life, practices, and teaching!

Have you ever experienced times in your life when you just FEEL stuck?

Low energy, lack of productivity or ambition?

Or maybe you’ve felt exhausted, stressed out, depressed, or struggled with addiction?

Addictions come in many forms, and if we’re honest with ourselves we can usually spot the tendencies to “checking out” with – substances, technology, shopping, food… the list goes on and on.

What does this have to do with Kundalini Yoga? This Style of practice is POWERFUL at creating shifts in our minds and tendencies, and being able to recognize that we are in the drivers seat of our lives. We get to watch, observe, and ACT with awareness instead of defaulting to our habits. Sounds nice right?

Kundalini Yoga is often referred to as Householder Yoga. Its designed to be EFFICIENT so that everyone living in these ultra busy times can benefit – in a short period of time.

Many Kriyas (a series of postures, breath, and sound that work towards a specific outcome) start with just 3 minutes! Making it easy to add to your current practices or to your morning routine.

Below is a kriya that takes about 9 minutes to complete – if you’re interested in exploring or getting started this set is for you. Try getting up 15 minutes earlier than you usually would, or when you know you won’t be interrupted. If you aren’t a morning person just set aside a small part of the day that you can commit to regularly. Give it a try for a week or more and see what happens!

Breath of Fire – 1-3 minutes

Breath of Fire is one of the commonly used pranayams in Kundalini Yoga. It accesses and stimulates the navel centre (take the first three fingers on your hand and place them just below the belly button, this is the navel centre!) which allows all of our energetic systems to WAKE UP and activate.

Here’s a link of Guru Jagat showing the technique for BoF:

 

2) Ego Eradicator

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Sara & Trisha in Ego Eradicator

Ego Eradicator is also popular in the tradition and happens to be one of my all time favourites! This pranayama, practiced with the mudra of our fingers curled into the pads of the hands and the thumbs turned upwards to the sky increases our lung capacity and magnetic field around us. When practiced regularly you start to enter a space of neutrality in the mind. Our doubts and fears often take a front seat in decisions, ego eradicator helps you to be clear and confident.

Arrange the hands in the mudra and then reach your arms up and out to 60 degrees. This will increase the lungs ability to expand.

Begin Breath of Fire, eyes closed and focused at your brow point.

Practice for 1-3 minutes. At the end of the 3 minutes, inhale, bring your thumbs together to touch overhead and reach your fingers upwards. Hold the breath. Exhale, sweeping your arms down and place the hands on the knees.

Sat Kriya – The everything Kriya  3- 11 minutes

This Kriya is said to be the everthing Kriya because it truly is a tune up for the entire energetic body (and its a good amount of work physically too!). This Kriya incorporates mudra, mantra, and a strong focus to get everthing in line.

Watch the video and practice along to keep rhythm until you feel more comfortable to practice on your own. In the beginning 3 minutes may feel like a very long time – start with 1 minute if needed and work your way up!

 

So, there it is! A mini set that will get you energized and clear in 16 minutes or less~ Give it a try and see how it goes! If you’re looking to join our growing community of Kundalini Yogi’s at Seva We have 5 classes during the week to get you started <3

Sat Nam

Sara

 

Stop Following – Start Leading

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There are no two ways around it – Technology is a huge part of our lives. Now, more than ever you have access to a world of information right at your fingertips. While we say that social media and the power of the world wide web connects us – its proving to not be quite that simple.

Here is a mindfulness moment exercise – take out your phone and head over to settings – depending on your phone, select battery or usage and scroll down to the last 24 hours- Now, do your best not to cringe when you see the sheer number of hours you spent on your phone in the last day. Shocking right?

In the last week, have you heard yourself say “I’m so busy”, “I don’t have time”,  or declined an invitation because your life is so full? I know I have! My phone on the other hand would prove that I DO have the time, I’m just not using it all wisely.

I feel quite lucky to have little human beings that keep me in the present moment, and also hold me accountable. Recently, my older Daughter has started telling me that I’m, “In phone village” when she sees me logged in and staring at my hand held device. Needless to say, its been an immediate mindful smack that reminds me REAL LIFE is not through the screen of a smartphone. So what was this little exercise for? In so many ways our physical practices and meditations bring awareness to our thoughts and patterns, checking in with how much time (which of course is energy) is being used on social media can keep us accountable to how we use the power of technology that we have been given in this age.

Now, I am not in any way saying that Social Media is bad and you need to rid yourselves of it completely. That is not only unrealistic, but would imply that we are not able to control our impulses and decisions. Your Mind is the most powerful resource available. You can most certainly decide to use media as it is intended and not be a slave to notifications, followers, and the ultra manufactured images you will without a doubt be seeing regularly.

The Yoga world is no exception to this. We’re seeing the super glossy, professional photos of yogis practicing asana in exotic locations, or the edited videos that show the blissful yogini getting out of bed to head to yoga, and we think “Hey, I want THAT” but you know what? Its not REAL either. No one is going to be waiting at your home to record you for your morning practice – Unless you hire them to at least! – So do we completely ignore all the manufactured “enlightenment”? Not if it inspires you to actually get up and practice! Is it important to create a barrier to receive these images and KNOW that it isn’t reality – but marketing? Yes! Its propaganda, and nothing more. Sure, it could create connection in a digital sense, and if it leads you to your mat I’ll go a step further and say it’s a good thing that style of marketing benefits some of us. I know when I started practicing yoga (over a decade ago! That went FAST!) the wallpaper on my desktop was an image of king pigeon pose. It motivated me! Can I still practice that way? Sure, I could force it, but its not my reality anymore.

On the other side of this conversation is the digital content that DOES elevate us. It is there if you look for it. My Teacher Tiaga Prem, (insta handle is @tiagaprem if you’re interested!) holds space every class he teaches on live video platforms of social media. Its such a gift to be able to tune in and listen along from wherever I am. Likewise, many of the Women I admire and am inspired by don’t live anywhere near me – seeing what they’re up to and getting those mindful boosts are so wonderful! The key for me is knowing and recognizing the difference. I keep my home clean for myself and family, I try to keep my digital world clean too. I don’t follow the accounts that create reactions of frustration (which are entirely mine and not the posters responsibility). If I am repeatedly seeing things that create these reactions I unfollow pretty quickly. Its not an “I don’t like you so I’m going to be spiteful” thought, its a mindful decision that is made to keep my mind free and clear.

There is very real science out there that the effects of social media are far reaching into our psyches and experiences here in todays world. While I don’t suggest turning to Google for everything in life, if you’re interested, head over and take a look at some of the studies available (yay for technology making THAT easy!). We can stay connected to real life, while using the tools we have available. We can take ownership of the things we allow into our mental real estate. You get to take the LEAD! If you’ve been struggling with self doubt, feelings of fatigue, stress or anxiety, or just feel you could bring a little more clarity, my invitation to you is this – see if staying unplugged for a day or weekend helps. See if you can notice your tendencies when it comes to scrolling, filtering, and “connecting” through the device. If you aren’t ready to let go of it all entirely, maybe choose one app to delete for 24 hours (I deleted Facebook yesterday!).

And of course, if you’re looking for a place to physically practice and connect with other human beings looking for the same thing – without the smart phone attached – come see us at Seva. We’ll be waiting <3

Sat Nam

Sara

 

 

3 Benefits of Consistent Practice

IMG_3957We know everyone has heard the very popular answer that Yoga is the union of Body, Mind, and Spirit, but for many of us, it doesn’t really feel like that – especially not in the beginning, or if we’ve been falling out of the routine of things.

So what does happen when we manage to make it to the mat regularly?

What can we count on experiencing, even if we don’t have a whole lot of time?

What can Yoga do for you?

Here are 3 of the big categories that Yoga can impact your life.

  1. Physical and Perceptual benefits: Practitioners who make it to the mat a minimum of 1 time per week, for 6 weeks or more, will start to feel differences in strength & flexibility. Often experiencing lower blood pressure, stress response, and health perception. We FEEL better when we practice!  (source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/physical-benefits-of-yoga)

2. Mental Health: 80% of Canadians experience some form of mental illness. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress are at an all time high and when studying the effect of yoga, researchers discovered that through even short, daily practices participants stated that yoga helped to alleviate some of these feelings and symptoms. (Source: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2017/08/yoga-depression.pdf)

3. Improved Sleep: If you ask most adults how much sleep they’re getting they either don’t know or the number is drastically lower than the recommended 8 hours per night. While many will say they don’t need quite that much the fact remains most of the population is running on low quantity (and sometimes quality) sleep schedules. Because of Yoga’s ability to help soothe the nervous system, lower heart rates, and improve breathing capacity yogi’s of today are enjoying a little more sleep! If you’re a regular sufferer of insomnia it pays big time to start a yoga practice! (Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleep-newzzz/201210/yoga-can-help-insomnia)

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While Yoga is not a miracle cure to all that can ail us in life, it does provide tools for elevating our experiences. Whether you want to reduce stress, or simply add a stretch to your week, there are tons of different styles to explore.

Even one class per week can help create shifts in your life – Why not get started now?