In this second part of my interview with Eva Monova, who teaches Kundalini yoga classes at Yoga Tree’s Potrero Hill and 6th Avenue studios, we discuss what beginners should know before coming to their first Kundalini yoga class – so you’re not intimidated and won’t be confused! (Be sure to read the first part of the interview, where we talk about what Kundalini yoga is)
Kundalini Yoga Dictionary
Here are a list of commonly used words used in Kundalini yoga classes.
Prana: The Life force. The motion and coding of life energies through the realms of mind and body.
Apana: The eliminating force of the body.
Mudra: Postures of the hands.
Manrta: Sometimes beginners find it strange to chant mantras in a foreign language. Just being present and listening is already part of the practice, eventually it will all come naturally.
Nadis: Channels of flow of Prana.
Ida: The nadi that brings the cooling, mind-expanding energy of the moon.
Pingala: The nadi which brings the stimulating, heating energy of the sun.
Sushumna: The central nadi, or channel through which the kundalini ascends. The sushumna originates at the base of the spine where the three nadis(ida, pingala and sushumna) meet. IT travels up the center of the spine to the top of the head.
Long Deep Breathing: Breathing from the nose, relaxing the belly, filling the belly first, then the abdomen, lower and upper chest. Exhaling slowly through the nose emptying the belly last.
Breath of Fire: Breath in and out through the nose as you focus on the exhale. The breath is powered from the navel. It is rhythmic steady breath.
Easy Pose: Sit in any comfortable cross legged position.
Gyan Mudra: Index finger and thumb touching together, stimulates the nervous system.
Bandha: Body locks or muscular contractions applied to seal the energy. There are three bandhas in Kundalni Yoga – Mulabandha (Root lock), Uddiyana bandha (Diaphragm lock) and Jalandhara bandha (Neck lock) . When all these three are applied together it is called Mahabandha (Great Lock).
If it’s my first time, what should I expect? (during and after class) What do I need to know before hand? What should I wear?
In Kundalini class the breathing is through the nose unless otherwise stated. The focus of the eyes and the attention (Drishti) is on the third eye (the brow point). Drishti is the specific focal point where the gaze rests during asana and meditation.
It is important to practice on an empty stomach and not to have had any alcohol, drugs or stimulants. Make the teacher aware if any injury, condition, pain, if pregnant or any concern you may have.
I’ve heard about people wearing white. Why? Do I need to if I come to a Kundalini class?
The color white expands the aura protects from negative projections. A strong aura gives a strong and solid identity. It is recommended to wear white while practicing Kundalini to achieve better results, but it is not required.
“All the colors are in the white light. You can absorb from the white light just the frequencies you need regardless of who you are because all the frequencies are in it.” – Yogi Bhajan
How often should someone practice Kundalini?
Highly dedicated Kundalini yogis do Sadhana – daily practice. The morning Sadhana is before sunrise when there is much prana and the sun is at its most horizontal and beneficial angle for meditation. However, regardless of the frequency or the time, even every other day, practicing several times a week offers tremendous results. Even a busy person taking a class occasionally will receive the benefits. Usually the immediate effects encourages you to go back to the practice.
I would like to recommend taking at least 7 Kundalini classes as there are 7 corresponding chakras. Each class is different and has its own theme and projection as we work with different body parts and energy centers. That way the practitioner can get a full experience of Kundalini Yoga.