DECEMBER 5, 2018
Both Marie and Krista generously offered their time to share with us what Kundalini yoga is, their own personal journeys, and what to expect in each of their classes. If you have never taken a Kundalini class they also offer some great insight into taking the plunge, or at least wading in!
I have taken the liberty to combine some of their individual answers for this blog post as well as to give space for them to answer individually.
What is Kundalini Yoga?
Kundalini Yoga shares the intention of knowing ourselves more deeply with other forms of yoga and also gets us there in a totally different way. It uses dynamic physical movements, meditation, breathwork and mantra to specifically target how our nervous systems and glandular systems function so that our wellness is supported from the ground up.
This practice is about awakening the 10 bodies (we have ten!), learning how to direct the life force energy in the body, stimulating reserves of energy, clearing and purifying the residue of the past, and developing the courage and strength to show up fully for this life as our most authentic selves.
Kundalini Yoga is a pragmatic approach to sustainable happiness designed for our fast-paced lifestyle.
What are the benefits?
Kundalini Yoga activates the glandular system, strengthens the nervous system, expands the lung capacity, purifies the bloodstream, reduces stress, regulates the hormones, and strengthens the electromagnetic field, to name a few! It is a full tune up for the entire body.
In practical terms, this can mean better sleep, a greater sense of ease and calm, increased concentration and focus, and balanced hormones, just to name a few. Ultimately Kundalini Yoga offers another way of knowing the deepest, clearest, most solid parts of ourselves and helps us develop the consistency and commitment to living life off the mat from that place as well.
Marie, can you share with us what inspired your passion for Kundalini Yoga?
I started practicing Kundalini Yoga in 2010 during a challenging moment in my life where a number of my relationships were in turmoil and I struggled with anxiety. The practice initially offered me relief from some pretty consuming emotional intensity, and eventually helped me find the places in myself that really were safe and whole in the midst of it. I am constantly amazed that the movement of body parts and breath and energy can support tangible shifts in our outward experience, so I trained to teach in 2013, and have a total soft spot for being with people as they experience the potency of Kundalini Yoga for the first time!
Marie can you share what people can expect when they come to your Monday evening Kundalini with Gong class?
I usually like to start the class with talking a bit about the specific practice we are going to do and why it is important so that you have some extra intention to fuel your movements. There are hundreds of different kriyas (combinations of poses/breath/meditations designed to deliver a specific outcome), and I usually choose based on relevant themes I’m noticing in my own life or in my work as a psychotherapist. After some brief discussion, we spend about 35 minutes doing poses – which can be dynamic or static, and are always connected to breath in various forms – and then we finish with at least 20 minutes of gong meditation. The gong piece is essentially a super luxurious sound bath, which you can remain seated or lie down for, and works to regulate the nervous system and lull you into a delicious deep relaxation.
Krista what inspired you to teach Kundalini yoga?
In 2011 I tried my first Kundalini yoga posture and knew I was going to be a teacher, but it wasn’t until 2016 that I began my teacher training. What I love about this practice is that it works. It is an internal journey that develops the neutral meditative mind to discover who you truly are by purifying the residue or density created from attachment to stories, wounds, traumas and the many masks one wears. There is no greater gift than knowing our true authentic selves: as we become more subtle, we get closer to our soul and our mission on this planet; to me, there is no greater gift.
Krista, what can people expect when they come to your Kundalini class on Thursdays?
Each class with me varies based on the energy we are working with collectively at that time, however one thing to expect is a merging of pragmatic principles that are tangible for the seen world, and esoteric information to weave our understanding of the unknown or unseen world; my background in psychology and psychosomatic intuitive healing creates a framework for this to take place. It is my intention to guide people to remember what they are, their inherent worth, and to empower them to live meaningful and vital lives. It is said that Yogi Bhajan brought 8,000 kriyas to the West before he died. So expect each class to be very different! I choose my classes based on the energy of the collective. I will lean into what needs clearing at the time and choose a class based on that.
Many people I have spoken to are a little intimidated to what they might experience or awaken in a class. Can you both please speak to this.
In terms of the intimidation piece, I totally get it – I was intimidated in my first few classes too. Above all else, know that you are welcome here simply by virtue of your wanting to be. There are some chants that are specific to Kundalini Yoga, which you’ll start to pick up, and you may notice that some people choose to wear white or cover their heads, because the technology of Kundalini Yoga teaches that these are easy tools to increase our inner radiance. Truly though, wear whatever feels good to YOU, chant (or not) to your own tune, and move to exactly the degree that feels right. This practice certainly can stir things up, so you may sometimes have feelings or body sensations that are interesting, and you’ll always be invited to both take it at your own pace and allow for the movement of energy through you. We are here to share the teachings bit by bit and your own inner wisdom gets to run the show. – Marie
It is normal to feel intimated by something new and often when we know we are on the precipice of change, we can sabotage ourselves in order to stay safe and feel secure; ultimately we are always safe and secure, this is a trick of one of the aspects of the mind that is just trying to protect us.
Some people say Kundalini yoga is dangerous and it is – it’s dangerous because it brings you closer to who you truly are and therefore you can’t be controlled or manipulated. Imagine a world where more people knew their inherent worth and weren’t afraid to follow their hearts and share their gifts! Because this practice targets the nervous system, we are actually strengthening parasympathetic dominance which means less negative side effects of experiencing our sensitivity and intuition. – Krista
Thank you both for your insight, wisdom and dedication to this powerful and transformative practice. Join Krista Reierson on Thursdays from 6:00-7:15 pm and Marie Simpson on Mondays from 8:45-10:00 pm.