The two most life changing forms of yoga for me have been Kundalini yoga and Yin yoga. They are both incredibly different, but very powerful and personally transformative.
Yogi Bhajan brought Kundalini yoga to the western world in the 1960’s and made it his goal to teach these technologies to us so that we could have tools to help us with the change and intensity that he fortetold about the 21st century. It is one of the most comprehensive of yoga traditions, using mantra, meditation and movement and working with our energy bodies and chakras. It is over 5000 years old and is mentioned in the sacred vedic texts knows as the Upanishads.
You will feel its power immediately.
Its effect upon the body-mind system is nearly instantaneous; even after a single class or meditation, you’ll feel the difference. You will radiate energy like the Lion/Lioness of God that you are and people will notice. Yogi Bhajan said that “if Hatha Yoga is akin to walking across the country, Kundalini Yoga is akin to taking a plane.”
It is a comprehensive system of yogic practice that encompasses all eight limbs of Patanjali’s yogic path. Rather than focusing just on physical conditioning (asana), breathwork (pranayam), and occasional meditation (dyana), it aligns the practitioner with the full spectrum of evolutionary work. As such, it also delves into holistic lifestyle design (yamas and niyamas), sacred sound technology (mantra), manifestation and subtle awareness (pratyahar), deep preparatory work for meditation (dharana), and transpersonal immersion (samadhi).
I love teaching Kundalini yoga and encouraging others to focus their inner gaze and direct energy to whatever point the kriya calls for. It is a privilege to guide a student and watch them receive immediate benefit from this practice.
Yin yoga slows things way down and brings me back to the fundamentals of yoga – each posture is held for several minutes and gives me an opportunity to stay in a deep meditative state while practicing. I concentrate on my inhale and exhale, breathing oxygen to wherever sensation is felt. I often keep my eyes closed the entire time, in order to go within and connect with my senses and my breath as well as give in to the deep stretching in my ligaments and joints. After I practice Yin yoga, I float across the floor. It evokes a blissful state of grace in me.
I love teaching Yin yoga and encouraging others to quiet their mind and relax in to the postures. Each posture has a physical benefit to it as well as a calming effect on the nervous system and glandular system.
In one year of practicing yin yoga, I was able to achieve results with certain postures that had eluded me after 12 years of hatha yoga. The deep stretching I allowed my body to relax into gave way to a more limber me. Instead of firing my muscles in a vinyasa flow, and moving in quick, repetitive ways, my body lengthened and loosened, releasing years of stored tension and muscle memories. A friend of mine, in his late 50’s, had never practiced yoga before and began to practice Yin yoga with me. Several months later, at his annual physical, he discovered he had “grown” three quarters of an inch! His body had become more limber and decompressed as a result of his practice.
Yin yoga can be done by all types of people at all different levels of experience and flexibility because you are relying on your own body’s wisdom to let you know how far to go. Sharp pain should never be allowed and is a signal to back off of the posture. For every Yin yoga posture, there are several modifications to reference so that all flexibility levels can be accommodated.