What a homecoming.
It’s been about 2 years since I attended a Kundalini yoga class ~ last time was back in Canada where we used to live. This was also my first formal class for 2014 and the first class of my new baby – The 52 Yoga Project.
The class was special. The intimate studio was very quiet, no traffic noise outside and had a high ceilinged, almost cave-like quality. The sense of one-ness wasn’t as strong with the students as I’ve experienced elsewhere (but Kundalini is quite new to Adelaide I’m told).
Kelley our teacher was so engaged, giving and confident in her teaching. I felt welcomed instantly and her instructions/demonstrations were really attentive and detailed, she gave a lot to her students…..
Once you find a style you love, it becomes very easy to overlook the quirks, stereotypes and individual nuances of a particular form. This type of yoga is no exception – students either adore or ridicule it. I am one of very few moderates, a pragmatic fan. There are things about it that frustrate me, but I am also slightly nuts about what it delivers to me. Here’s a summary about what to expect from the style……
The classic features of this style were all there – references to the founder, Yogi Bhajan, some very long and deeply meditative movements (long, slow pranayama breathing sets of 20 minutes duration !) juxtaposed against some wild breath-of-fire arm-numbing kriyas (set sequences). In addition, along came the sweet chants (the hook) by Snatum Kaur et. al. These always prove a treat, even when my mind argues with itself as I move through what feels like ridiculous-looking exercises. Sometimes Kundalini seems to put you into the craziest physical manoeuvres. And the terms, while correct, seem a little trite (the “ego-eradicator” exercise for example). There are lots of rules in Kundalini and the sequences for a class are always as was set out by Mr Master Bhajan himself decades ago.
If you have never tried the Kundalini Yoga style, it’s OK to:
* Leave out the white dress. Many find the KY “uniform” a little too cult-like. Personally, I love it, I feel clean, summery and fit.
* Leave behind the need to understand the Ghurmuki language, the meaning behind the chants. Just enjoy the space the resonating voices take up inside your normally busy monkey minds!
* Stop rather than push through some of the more demanding arm raising kriyas. I find Kundalini a little light on alignment and anatomy, so pay close attention to spinal alignment during active movements. Resting is crucial. You can join back in at any time.
The benefits of this type of class are that they are quite the torso workout ! Your lung cavity, diaphragm are nourished and so your lung capacity feels greatly increased and you get a surge of mental vitality soon afterwards. And who doesn’t love to sing !?
Thank you Exhale Yoga for the opportunity to join in this space. While only a fledgling style in Australia, Kunalini has great relevance and Kelley’s success will only continue to grow in coming years. One request? I have been indulged by my last community, we always contributed snacks and yogi tea, etc. I guess I have been a little spoilt.
I tell you what, if this blog can encourage a few more students out, perhaps their hook can be an exquisite raw bliss ball treat, or small offering of golden milk. Just some small rewards to encourage this lovely, emerging community.
Kelley can be found at Exhale Yoga Studio. Her details are:
Kelley Watson King William Road Goodwood SA
Exhale Studio is a multi-discipline studio based in the Unley/Goodwood area, south of Adelaide City.