Explanation of the different components involved in a kundalini yoga class
Asanas are stretches or physical postures designed to ease and release physical or muscular tension, as well as to activate different body systems such as the digestive system, circulatory system or nervous system. Body awareness is achieved by establishing communication between mind and body and the mind is silenced to prepare for meditation. The asanas sistematically apply pressure on the intermal organs thereby improving circulation to these organs and achieving rejuvenation and renovation of all the body systems.
The practice of chanting Mantras is considered the “yoga of the mind”. A mantra is a word or a syllable or a phrase in one of the sacred languages like Sanskrit or Ghurmuki or sometimes in English, which elevates or modifies consciousness through its meaning, the sound itself, rhythm, tone and even the reflexology of the tongue on the palate.
Mantras can be chanted in a normal strong voice, or in a whisper or mentally or silently.
Pranayama or breathing exercises are practiced to channel and direct the flow of prana and thereby alter consciousness and the physical state. The most common yoga breath is calming in nature and is a slow, deep, full breath, the breath of fire, energizing and detoxifying (2-3 breaths per second), alternate nostril breathing (left is tranquilizing and right is energizing) to create balance and harmony in the hemispheres of the brain.
Meditation involves the stilling of the rational, reasoning dualistic egotistical mind to allow the neutral mind to focus awareness on inner reality beyond intellectual concepts, and on outer reality beyond physical, earthly objects. Meditation uses many techniques to achieve this purpose, and produces a calm, sensitive, less emotional, alert, intuitive, effective, efficient and self controlled personality and an enhanced sense of being and consciousness. Meditation practice may take many forms, utilizing different components such as the mantras, mudras, pranayama, gazing, visualization and silence.
Consistent meditation promotes inner peace, happiness and higher consciousness or a transcending of the limitations of normal consciousness.
A gesture or position of the fingers or hands, that locks and guides energy flow and reflexes to the brain.
The Bandhas are the locks applied to body areas, which direct the prana and the apana. The locks are the basic techniques that accumulate the effect of the asana or kriya. They allow an equilibrium to be established, that has enormous impact on the entire system of the body and the mind. Each body ock has the function to change the circulation, the nervous system and the flow of cerebral fluid in the spine.
Jalandhara Bandha - Neck Lock
Uddiyana Bandha - Diaphragm Lock
Mulbhanda - Root Lock
Mahabhanda - All three locks are applied together