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i’ve now attended two kundalini gong & mantra events. essentially kundalini yoga classes.

kundalini yoga was brought to north america by yogi bhajan in the late 1960’s and is a practice which frees the energy locked in the lower body (base of the spine) in order to move that energy upward, eventually to reach enlightenment.

the description from about.com provides an accurate description of each of the two events i attended:

What to Expect in a Kundalini Class

A Kundalini class begins with a short chant followed by a warm-up to stretch the spine and improve flexibility. The main work of the class is called a kriya, which is a proscribed sequence of poses and pranayama that focuses on a specific area of the body. The teacher typically does not make manual adjustments. The class ends with a meditation, which may be accompanied by the teacher playing a large gong, and a closing song. Kundalini devotees often wear flowing white robes and head wraps.

i was attracted to the first event by the gong. as a shambhala buddhist, the gong is an integral part of my practice. i connect strongly with the deep resonance of the gong.

i was not disappointed. in both instances, the 31 minutes of gong meditation were a vehicle of transportation.

the entire evening provides high repetition of sounds and movements. the mantra meditation, with its finger movements and vocalizations interrupted my usual meditation practice. they offered busy-ness, noise and nonsense, while i prefer stillness and awareness.

all is good. the gong bath was an amazing experience and i can endure the, to me distracting, activity of the mantras.

 

 

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It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Occupy[Wall Street] movement, it occurs to me, is a refreshing testament to basic wisdom and goodness.

It is a movement of people who, having experienced sufficient injustice and inequality in their lives, sufficient frustration of their basic needs, sufficient deprivation of honesty and integrity in government, stepped into courage.

They have found and are expressing a shared compassion; an understanding of each other’s pain.

When circumstances exist that seem to threaten us, we just might harden our hearts. We construct barriers to protect; armour placed around our hearts, blinding us and numbing us.  But within all this fortification there remains a soft spot, a spot which can love and be compassionate.

It is this spot which we must occupy. 

Occupy your heart.

When everyone finds the courage to occupy their heart, the world will be a safe, peaceful, just place.

The thousands upon thousands of people expressing themselves through the Occupy movement are true everyday warriors. I am grateful to them, for the rawness of their bravery, for the vulnerability they have willingly exposed, for their collective challenge to protected hearts.

There are many paths to opening a protected heart. Social justice work, pivotal life experiences, spiritual exploration, meditation and yoga are but a few.

Daily meditation to open your heart will not only go a  long way toward creating a more just and peaceful world, it can decrease risk factors for coronary disease. Profound in its simplicity, meditation is a gift and a fully accessible means of personal and social change.

If you need help with a daily practice, try the following:

  • Stand or sit in a place where you feel comfortable. Close your eyes.
  • Place your finger tips onto your low back if standing or onto the floor behind you if sitting.
  • Begin opening and lifting the chest, drawing the sternum upwards, pulling your shoulder blades together in back.
  • Breathe into your chest, lengthening and deepening your breath as you settle in to the expansiveness across your heart centre.
  • Keep your focus on your breath while you feel your heart beat steady, strong and calm.
  • Maintain this sense of opening for up to five minutes.
  • Gently open your eyes, smile, and return to a natural breath.

You can get a visual of this practice in the following video. The first three minutes is sufficient to derive great benefit from a daily practice. Should you wish to move further into the pose, enjoy the colours.

 

And, if you wish to go further in opening your heart and balancing heart energies, Anmol Mehta has shared this wonderful Kundalini Yoga Kriya.

 

A further sign of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling, but we take it as a message that it’s time to stop struggling and look directly at what’s threatening us.           ~ Pema Chodron

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