How Kundalini Yoga and Mantra Meditation benefit mental health

Most of us understand that mental health is hugely important and it’s finally getting the recognition it deserves. Because it seems to have taken so long for mainstream doctors to accept this fact it seems the general population is taking time to catch up as well. My goal is to bring an easy-to-understand explanation of how taking responsibility for the mind, body, spirit connection with purposeful action can help mental health and their whole being.

It’s already proven that moving the body increases endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin and all the feel-good hormones! I understand those with depression often find it hard to exercise or do yoga. Even the words can be triggering. Many people convince themselves they can’t do yoga. “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga.” To me that’s like saying. “I’m just too dirty to take a bath.” It doesn’t make any sense! You do yoga to increase flexibility, mobility, and balance.

I believe that everybody has a yoga body. The type of yoga I love the most is Kundalini yoga because it is accessible to most everyone. It focuses on spinal health and flexibility in the spine. If you think about it, all the most important functions we need to live run through the spinal column. Vital nerves, arteries and spinal fluid need to flow freely to have the brain and body function at their best.

This type of yoga also does a great job incorporating mindfulness into each practice. This will help clients be more in their body and less in the headspace. I love to add mindful guided meditation directed towards bringing awareness to the energy and feelings of the body. When you are aware of how you feel you take your power back to transform lower emotions into better feeling ones.

My teaching style explains why we are doing what we are doing so that the students understand the benefits of each movement. I often speak about the science of chakra system which are the energy centers in the body connected to organs, functions, meridians, feelings, and emotions. The Kundalini Kriyas are often designed to open the energetic flow of the chakras.

For example, a client with depression may have a difficult time with the lower chakra system.  The root chakra is connected to feelings of safety and security. It is where the fight or flight instincts for survival are stored. Right above that is the sacral Chakra where we hold our willpower, ambition, creativity, sexuality, and ability to persist. The next chakra is the solar plexus in the area above the belly button and that is where self-esteem and personality live.

If these chakras are out of balance a person can become lethargic and sometimes even connected to overeating because they are trying to ground themselves with the feeling of being full. A Kundalini set for depression will focus on a gentle practice that is able to bring mindfulness into their bodies while increasing energy flow. I teach folks how to activate the energy in the body by stimulating the chakras and the systems connected to them with movement most everyone can do.

Even if you have limited mobility, closing your eyes and visualizing yourself doing the posture/practice will give your brain some of the same benefits as if you were doing them physically! The mind, body, spirit connection is quite magical!

We will address the whole body and use pranayama breathing to increase the heart rate and energy flow. One of the best ways to get out of the head and into the body is to focus on the breath. Another way to address the intimidation of ‘meditation’ is to offer mantra meditation songs with hand mudras designed for specific topic we are working on. In these mantra meditations we use a variety of specific instructions for the body and the mind to keep focused.

This takes the pressure off just lying there and not thinking! I don’t know about you but lying there trying not to think has the opposite effect for me. That’s perfect conditions for a whole lot of monkey mind to get going!

Which is why the instructions for mantra meditation help me get in the zone and out of my head. It also has health benefits such as applying Root lock/Muladhara Bonda which means we squeeze the perineum, sex organs and pelvic bowl muscles pulling them up and in holding the root lock! This is very healthy to do with both women and men as we age.

Next, we do hand mudras designed to stimulate meridians connected to the body’s internal systems. We then close the eyes and bring our gaze to the third eye, the space where the intuition lives. Not only does the third eye gaze connect to intuition, but it also puts pressure on the optic nerve connected to the pituitary gland.

The pituitary is the master gland that stimulates the feel-good hormones! We do all these things at the same time we chant and sing mantra songs. Singing stimulates the vagus nerve, one of the biggest nerves in the body and the only one that connects the gut to the brain.  We all know by now how gut health greatly affects brain function. Singing, chanting, humming are all wonderful ways to stimulate the vagus nerve!

Most of the practices will focus on bringing the chakras into alignment and increasing energy inside the body in different ways. It is designed to increase flow and flexibility in the spinal column where all the nerves and spinal fluid need to flow freely for optimal brain health. The more flow you have going to the brain the better the brain is going to function and the better you feel. My yoga teacher Jeanie O’Neill often reiterated that you are only as young as your spine is supple. Makes a lot of sense if you think about it!

The practice for anxiety may be a little more physical and pull in the breath of fire to burn off some of the excess energy in the chakras causing anxiousness. The practice of guided meditation or Yoga Nidra will help bring the consciousness of the mind inside the body. This practice truly helps a person feel their energy inside the body and teaches them how to check in with what’s going on inside. Allowing each yogi to better understand how to help themselves feel better in their body. Yoga Nidra is proven to calm the nervous system while affecting the theta and beta waves of the brain.

Pulling this all together means when the body feels good, the brain feels better, and that can bring you to a peaceful state of being. Mind, body, spirit connection is not just a popular phrase. It is a real and true part of living your best life. If one of these areas is out of balance so are the rest of them. It is why I love Kundalini Yoga and Kriya meditations so much. It truly addresses all the areas we need to feel good about ourselves.

Yoga is not a religion. It is personal mind, body, and spirit practice. When I speak of connecting to spirit. I mean we are connecting to our own higher energy. If you choose to bring your preferred religion into your practice that is okay too. However, when I teach, we usually talk about connecting to our own higher self. Which is basically the part of you that knows better. The part of your spirit that is the inner voice of love, the pure soul inside of you.

Talking with a trained mental health practitioner can help guide you in the direction of where you need to heal. It can shine a light on the area you most need to focus on to feel better. Yet deep down we know that nobody can heal you but you.

Getting to know yourself better means quieting the mind, checking in with the spirit to see what it is you truly need. Then trust yourself to be able to make those changes by taking action towards healing.

The daily practice of Kundalini yoga helps facilitate self-awareness, physical movement, and connection to yourself that truly benefits mental health. It has been a life changing experience for me, and I had to share with you!

Much love and many blessings,

Emy Minzel

CMT – 500RYT

Spirit River Yoga and Massage LLC

On-Line Classes available!

FaceBook/BWCA Adventure Sister

What is Sound Healing anyway?

Have you heard of sound healing? What does it do? And how does it work? The concept may sound a little “woo woo” to you but really… It’s a thing! Sound therapy has been proven to lower anxiety, stress and promote feelings of all over wellness. We talk about feeling vibes from other people all the time, right? Right.

Well sound healing is the same concept. During Sound Healing the body absorbs vibrations of the musical instrument that resonate at a vibration so delicious that feels like these vibes are what your body wants to consume. It’s like the body digesting… Vibe Vitamins. The resonance of the vibes give the body an extra boost!

When we put ourselves in places that feel good to our soul the nervous system feels it. Vibrations of the sound healing music is played with the intention of balancing the energetic centers in the body called the Chakras. The chakras are connected to organs in the body, the nervous system, the physical body and the energetic body.

Yogi Bhajan taught that there are 10 Energetic Light Bodies with different functions radiating from our actual physical bodies. None of them more important than the other yet all connected. Once identified, healed, and harnessed correctly, they can be used as tools in your spiritual growth and development. The ten bodies Yogi Bhajan identifies are:

The Soul Body – The soul of your divine embodied existence that carries with you throughout many lifetimes and reincarnations. The way you express yourself as you grow on the path of awareness and personal growth. Connected to your dharma/purpose and destiny. Personal growth or stagnation. Related to the skeletal system.

Negative Mind – helps you to practice the self with discernment for self-protection. It warns of fears real or invented. The negative mind can be over active which produces feelings of unwarranted fear, anxiety, and stress. Connected to the Urinary System.

The Positive Mind – Leaves room for hope and encouragement while looking and seeing positive possibilities in life. Seeing the silver lining. When overactive can lead to unrealistic expectations or skewed assessments of reality. Rose colored glasses. Also connected to the Urinary system.

The Neutral Mind – Is the outcome of equal balance between the negative and positive minds. Finds the win/win in situations, while keeping open mind to others’ views and feelings. Usually has the outcome of making decisions for the greater good of yourself and others. Acting with integrity. When out of balance we have trouble making decisions or using discernment. Related to Circulatory System.

The Physical Body – The core of the other light bodies. It contains the mind, body, spirit and the shell the colorful fruit of aura projects from. The physical body protects the nut inside the shell of the physical body. It is protected by the arc-line, aura, pranic body and the radiant body. When the physical body is balanced the other nine bodies can blossom. Connected to the musculoskeletal system.

The Light Body – The line of energy that arcs over the head from ear to ear often portrayed as a halo. Women have a second arc-line that crosses the front of the body connected from nipple to nipple. The energy provides a safe, encouraging, and nurturing energy often with the calling to serve humanity. Weak arc lines fail to protect us leading to feelings of vulnerability, misery and overwhelm by the world around you. Arc-line is related to the immune system and reproductive system.  

The Aura – The electromagnetic field of energy around the physical body the projects the vibrations of all the energetic bodies. Holds the “vibes” other people feel when they meet you. When balanced it creates a lovely presence and magnetism. Unbalanced auras tend to pull energy from other auric fields to feel fulfilled with a false sense of security. Addictions live in the aura. Related to the endocrine and digestive system.

The Pranic Body – Prana is the breath of life. The pranic body is entirely fed and nourished with each breath you to take. The breath is able to shift the body and mind into a meditative or stressed state depending on how it is flowing. Unbalanced energies relate to the emotions of greed, panic or not having enough. Connected to the Respiratory System.

The Subtle Body – The nut inside the shell of the physical body. The stillness within that notice’s subtle energies and supplies intuition. This is the other of the 9 energetic bodies that travels with the soul throughout lifetimes. It is said that the Subtle Body carries the soul through time and space into eternal liberation. Must be cultivated with consistent discipline that could lead to self-mastery. The Subtle body energetically connected to the Reproductive System.

The Radiant Body – Contains all the light bodies above. It seals in the energy of the bodies entire energetic system. The other nine bodies are for individual awareness of the world. The Radiant body is a projection of the self to the world. A strong radiant body will produce a well-balanced and authentic life. An unbalance in the Radiant body creates all or nothing and black or white philosophy in life. Connected to the Nervous System.

All of these energetic bodies have a vibration and the tunes played with singing bowl, gongs, rattles, drums or any musical instrument at all help to bring them into balance. Physically helping the energetic body attune to the higher vibrations of the instruments. Essentially tuning the bodies energy like you would piano or guitar strings.

The effect of the tune up results in feeling really, really, good. Like walking on shine kind of good vibes! Once the body is able to intergrade the healing the Chakras and the Ten Energetic Bodies are able to function as they should. Resulting in the feeling of a whole-body wellness. Who doesn’t need more good vibes? HMmmm? That’s what I thought.

There are many ways to experience sound healing. We do it intuitively with our favorite songs that inspire different feelings of emotion. But those don’t always promote healing. The easiest way to try sound healing is by listening to binaural beats with headphones. You could try a session with tuning forks or seek out other sound healing artist in your area.

However, I suggest that join us at Spirit River Yoga and Massage to get your own vibe vitamins at the upcoming sound healing concert! See for yourself how it feels to tune up and nurture your energetic body.

Sound Healing Preformed by Yogi Tanya Rice of Azitala

January 9th at 12:00 (please be a little early so we can start on time!)

$30.00 per person

Register at

Bring a yoga mat, blanket and even a bolster to promote complete comfort and relaxation during the concert. I hope to see you there!

Wishing you an abundance of blessings and love,

Emy Minzel

Source; Enlightened Bodies Exploring Physical & Subtle Human Anatomy

By Nirmal Lumpkin LMT, Japa Kaur Khalsa, DOM

What you should know about Energetic Emotional Release

Did you know yoga moves more than just your body?!

As a yogi teacher and massage therapist I have come to see and believe that we hold and store emotions in our physical body. Stress shows in headaches just at the base of the scull, sometimes we lose hair or have digestive issues. Tension, worry and anxiety are often stored in the gut which is part of the solar plexus chakra and moves up to the heart chakra and upper shoulders.

If we are being stubborn and inflexible in life, we sometimes have neck and shoulder pain. This manifests into having low range of motion in the neck from not being able to see another point of view. We hold fear in our psoas and low back, guilt in the middle back and anger in our hearts. The burn of anger radiates from the heart through the upper back and shoulders.

When tragedy happens like losing a loved one or an unexpected loss of a job this affects our security related to the root chakra and often the foundation of our bodies, the feet. When we fear moving forward in life our knees take a hit and when we just can’t figure out how to get enjoyment out of life, we store misery in our hips.

It’s quite intriguing to me how often we dismiss our bodies signals as nothing more than a physical injury. Yet even accidents like falling are a metaphysical symptom of not valuing ourselves or not feeling valued so we are careless and absent minded and that causes accidents.

Louise Hay has a book called Heal Yourself. It has mantras that relate to the reasons behind our physical symptoms. Each time I have a seemingly ‘random’ pain or ailment I check this book to see if it is real… Or is it a physical manifestation of my inner emotion? In yoga we say that Emotions are Energy in motion. If we are stuck on one or more painful emotion, our body will kindly hold it for us!

Sometimes during or after Yoga practice or body work, we have an emotional release. When we move certain parts of the body that have been storing our emotions it can be spontaneous. Often, we have already been feeling pain or tension in those same areas of our neck, back, knees, ect… for years! During regular practice we inadvertently move those emotions up and out! It sounds intensely therapeutic, and truly is!!!

However, it usually comes out in very messy emotional way like a crying break down or eruption of uncharacteristic anger or outburst so you can allow those emotions to break through. There is more room out than in, so it its best to let it all come out where you can see them and heal them.

I feel compelled to write and tell you of this phenomenon because it just recently happened to me again after a wonderful yoga set, I called Heart Openers. It’s funny to me that I really enjoyed creating and teaching this class! And yet, four hours after that practice I was huddled under the covers in my bed bawling my eyeballs out because I had moved those stuck emotions in my heart with a powerful heart opening yoga practice.

I laid there allowing myself to really feel all the icky emotions I was storing and weighing heavy on my heart. I didn’t hold back, I used a hundred Kleenexes and dehydrated myself allowing the abundant tears to fall freely. Finally, I fell asleep and allowed myself to rest after my big emotional purge.

When I woke up, I felt better. The emotions that I kept stuffed had dissipated and I felt lighter. It took me a few hours to realize what had just happened. Since my breakdown seemingly came out of nowhere being pushed over the edge by a small minor inconvenience. It was clear to me it was my body purging in uncontrollable emotional release.

Now this Emotional Release phenomenon does not happen after every yoga practice or massage! LOL So don’t fret. It happens when your body is ready to release what no longer serves it. It is an energetic letting go of all those stuffed down emotions so the body can move into healing.

There are times I’ve had massage clients crying on the table for these same reasons. I felt honored to be able to hold space for them while they allow those messy emotions go. I felt that it was important to remind people that this can and does happen and that it is okay to let it out. It is a step towards allowing healing in the mind, body, and spirit.

This is why, self-care techniques like yoga and massage therapy are so important to incorporate into your life. I’ve come to believe our bodies are quite magical! Our bodies are always communicating and it’s up to us to take the time to listen to its needs and the nagging aches and pains to see what they are trying to tell us. What emotions do we need to heal and release so we can feel better in our own skin?

I hope this article is helpful in some why so that when it happens to you. You are now able to identify it as the healing opportunity it is. Instead of thinking it’s an out of the blue break down, you will now see that is a therapeutic break through! Which is very healthy and healing to the energetic and emotional body.

So now you know the magic of movement! How cool is that?!

Sending you all so much love and wishing you an abundance of blessings,


Emy Minzel


How Kundalini Yoga taught me what it really means to love myself.

I used to think that self-love was taking time for long baths, getting a massage, going the spa, or some kind of timeout from the world to focus on myself. Yes! These are all wonderful and necessary things to do for yourself. However, if you really think about it. These things are just bodily upkeep, not self-love.

It occurred to me the thought of routine maintenance was sort of radical to me and so it felt like it was self-love. And in some ways, it was, because it showed me that taking time for myself was just not something I put on my list of high priorities.

Like many women I was conditioned to give, give, give until I crashed. I would get to the point where I literally got sick because my body was revolting from the lack of care. Does this sound familiar? The self-love I speak of is the kind that nurtures and heals the mind, body, and spirit in a healthy way.

Maybe some people even think of self-love as selfish or something that comes from the ego. “Oh, I’m so great! I’m the best! I am much better than you!” (Inserting sarcasm here.) There are people like this yes, but this is not the kind of self-love I am referring to. Also, I advise you to keep your distance from those folks for many reasons we can discuss another day.

Over the years my thoughts on self-love have swayed from one extreme to the other. None of them were sustainable. As a massage therapist, yoga studio owner and teacher, wife, mother, volunteer, advocate and so much more… I have finally come to realize from experience and witnessing how others do life, what it really means to love yourself.

Trust me, it took many years of learning what self-love NOT was, to see what it truly was. One of my favorite quotes says. “To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid.” This is just a funny way to say how we can and do learn from mistakes. It is important to laugh at yourself and show just as much compassion in the way you speak to yourself as you would to a dear friend.

My journey to actualizing self-love is continuous, as I keep learning more about myself and what I truly need to be balanced. What I have come to see is that self-love is more about parenting yourself with kind discipline. Listen… If you know me at all. The word discipline makes my skin crawl.

My body and mind even react to the word discipline with disgust. I am now able to see that I’ve stored previous traumas from experiencing abuse of power in the name of discipline that makes me react this way. Probably this is the reason I rebelled against ‘self-discipline’ for so darn long!

Once I became a young adult, I had allowed myself way too much freedom frequently rocking it till the wheels fell off. The only regular bodily maintenance I did was, so I stayed clean and didn’t die! Sadly, but not uncommon for lots of folks. This was my only self-care back then. Mind, and spirit health were not even on my radar.

Which put me on the path to heal trauma caused by others and now trauma I had inadvertently caused to myself. I know I am not alone here. So, I have done myself a favor and reframed the word discipline in my mind by changing it to self-love. This means doing the things you don’t want to do just because you know it’s good for you.

Like when a parent teaches you brushing your teeth twice a day is important maintenance. I needed to reframe my thoughts on parenting myself to do the same with my lifestyle choices, my time, and my focus.

I have learned self-love looks like getting up early or eating dinner a little later to get some exercise in because it’s great for my entire being. It is proven exercise has a profound positive effect on your entire being. I’ve learned exercising the body makes the internal systems flow better, it produces endorphins and hormones that boost my mental health, which in turn naturally lifts my spirit. Exercise is truly mind, body, spirit self-love.

When I was able to see exercise that I enjoyed like yoga was not a duty or a bad word. It is truly a gift I can give myself when I make self-love a priority. In yoga we use asana/physical exercise to stress the body then we have savasana which is the rest at the end of our practice. Just like children and puppies… It’s much easier as an adult to rest the body and mind after we have exercised!

Some of us have very physical jobs, like me. Occasionally just to get up when the house is quiet and have meditative time to myself with my coffee feels like self-love. Peace, stillness, and rest are just as important as exercise for the mind, body, spirit.

Meditation is really useful if you have an over active mind that likes to chatter. We call that the monkey mind in yoga. Mantra Meditations, Guided meditation or Yoga Nidra are excellent tools to get into the practice of quieting the mind. Being mindful of your inner dialog is also important. Your body hears what you say about it and so does your spirit. Practicing Ahimsa/non-violence and maintaining a kind inner voice can help stabilize your emotional state.

After several 40-day continuous practices of Kundalini yoga kriyas. This discipline showed me that putting my needs and goals first is self-love! Sometimes self-love/discipline looks like saying no to social functions that sound fun but will throw off my schedule or bump into the priorities that are important. If saying yes, makes me feel guilty about letting myself down by not getting what I desire done. It’s not worth it. My needs are important.

Reframing discipline in this way has really changed my outlook on what self-love truly is.

It looks like boundaries on my time, energy, emotional state in my relationships or work life. It looks like putting off chores to fulfill the needs of my body, mind and spirit. Chores are always going to be there. So what if the house is a bit cluttered! People live here gosh darn it! I learned I was able to tackle it better when I was in a balanced state anyway.

Sometimes we think caring for our spirit only happens on Sunday at church. That is not true at all. Caring for your spirit means you feel peaceful, and content. If the other parts of your life are out of tune, there is no way our soul is serene. You can have feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, or exhaustion just from a neglected spirit!  

Maybe self-love means you must take time to heal relationships with your body, people, work, money, time, rest, play or even your creativity. Maybe you need to get your veggies in or subtract something from your diet. The list is endless. Only you know where you are off balance. Your heart and spirit always know.

Taking the time to get quiet and tune into your mind, body and spirit can really scare some people. It doesn’t have to be scary if you reframe the intention behind it into an act of self-love. Going within to ask yourself the introspective questions that matter most is a good place to start when you are feeling uncomfortable inside.

Just ask yourself why am I uncomfortable today? What do I need most to get back into balance? Where can I start? Practicing listening to your intuition connects you to your higher self. The higher self is another way to speak of the inner voice inside of you that knows better. Yet is often overridden by the ego or outside expectations.

When life gets busy or there is just so much going on I must prioritize. I have a few mantras I have given myself that help me give myself permission to take time I need to care for my mind, body, and spirit.

These ones are my favorite.

“I keep the promises I make to myself, because I am worthy of the life I desire.”

“I give myself permission to make time, to create and heal.”

“I get to make the rules for my life!”

“My body is loved, my mind meditated, and life is balanced. I help my soul to smile.”

“I am important. My needs are important. I matter too.”

I have a great friend and kundalini warrior partner. We do the 40-day kriyas together and check in daily with each other to keep track. Even when those kriya challenges are done we often check in almost daily and ask each other. “What have you done today to make yourself feel loved? What are you proud of today?”

It can look like a walk on a nature path with my dog. A long Epsom salt bath and dry brushing to stimulate lymph flow. It can look like taking a nap if that is what I feel I need most that day. It can even look like getting my annoying taxes done so I can move forward and get that off the to-do list! Maybe you need to go out and play with friends, have some tea and connect. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

The point is we make sure to do something for ourselves daily because our health matters to our mental state, and the mental state matters to our spiritual contentment. These habits and rituals did not come naturally to me until I started practicing yoga. Asana yoga was great for my body but finding kundalini yoga changed my life. Encouraging consistency, discipline/self-love, and dedication to my spiritual practice.

It was the yoga that I felt most encompassed a practice that I could do and enjoy doing daily. Kriyas can be extremely challenging or very gentle depending on which kriya you practice. There is so much variety I am never bored. The way it encompassed the mind, body, and spirit part is what got me hooked. If you are interested in finding out more, I welcome you to try it! I offer classes in the studio and online at

It felt important to me to share with you how yoga changed my life. It was not all at once, not in one day, or a week. I look forward to seeing how it will continue to transform me from the inside out as I continue down the yoga path. I hope that this article inspires you in some way to see self-love in a different way. May it help propel a positive change of any kind for you.

Much love and many blessings,

Emy Minzel

CMT – 500RYT

Spirit River Yoga and Massage LLC

BWCA Adventure Sister

What is Kundalini Yoga?

I get this question all the time.

So, I’d like to explain to you what I’ve found Kundalini Yoga to be like.

Kundalini is not your typical yoga poses with sun salutations and warrior series. Although these poses can be integrated into a Kundalini fusion set it is not what a typical practice looks like. Kundalini is very focused on spinal health. All the nerves and most important arteries run through the spine so it’s important to keep it healthy. There will be flexing, bending, twisting of the spine so to keep the energy flowing through the whole spinal column for optimal health.

My friend once called it yoga for people who don’t yoga. Others say it is a yoga practice you can do until your 90!

I suggest you try kundalini at least one time. Just come with an open mind on what your practice will be like. I’ll do my best to describe a typical Kundalini yoga set so you do have some idea what to expect.

First, we connect with our breath and “tune in” by singing the Adi mantra at least three times.

‘Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo’

It means, infinite wisdom I call on you. Divine wisdom I call on you.

You are calling in the intention to bring the wisdom of your higher self to your practice. It is said to be connected to the ‘Golden chain of teachers’ you’ve had in this life and others.

Then I also like to chant the Charn mantra of protection four times. The number four refers to pillars of boundaries of the four directions and elements. This chant offers protection on the spiritual level as we open our energy to healing.

Aad Guray Nameh
I bow to (or call upon) the primal Guru (wisdom)
Jugaad Guray Nameh
I bow (or call upon) to the Truth that has existed throughout the ages.
Sat Guray Nameh
I bow to (or call upon) True Wisdom.
Siri Guru Dayvay Nameh
I bow to (or call upon) the Great Divine Wisdom within.

Chanting is an important part of Kundalini practice because it stimulates your vagus nerve which is one of the longest nerve in the body. It connects the digestive system and the brain which is pretty important. Stimulating this nerve activates the energy of the upper Chakras. (p.s. I promise nobody cares if you can’t sing! Just allow yourself to do it.)

I’d like to add that Yoga is not a religion; it is a philosophy and physical science that we use to encourage you to just tap into your own intuition and wisdom of your unique spirit.

Then we go into a Kundalini set which is called a Kriya. These exercises are deeply incorporated with the breath. Most of the exercises we do will be matched with the breath. If we are doing a leg lift, we will inhale up, exhale down. If we are doing cat cow, we inhale cow/exhale cat.

In this way it is sort of like a hatha yoga. Very connected to the breath work. Instead of flowing from one pose to the next we do a moving posture for a specific length of time. If we do leg lifts for 2 minutes we will also do cat/cow for two minutes which continues for the rest of the kriya set for each posture.

It differs from asana yoga because during the kriya I will ask you to speed up the breath and the movements to a rapid pace. This really stirs up the prana and energy in the body.

If you’ve not heard of the breath of fire, it is a rapid pace breath that creates heat and stirs energy/prana/lifeforce in the lower Chakras pulling it up to the upper body. It can be strenuous, but the effects leave you feeling energized and lighter!

Typically, we build heat then rest, build heat then rest, until it is time for savasana. After savasana we have exercised the body which is an important step. Once the body is tired the mind is more able to come into a peaceful state while we continue into a singing meditation like the Kirtan Kriya.

The Kirtan Kriya was brought to the west by Yogi Bhajan and is one of the most popular meditations used in Kundalini.

This simple yet powerful meditation uses, pranayama/breathing, mudras/hand gestures, mantras/powerful words (specifically Sat Nam), locks/root lock, and dristi (3rd eye focus.) giving the body and the mind something to do while you sing the mantra and lift the spirit. Each mantra has a specific meaning, and the singing creates vibrations in the body that promote peace and calming feelings we desire.

The Kirtan Kriya is said to promote internal peace, it is a mantra you can use to help you release habits or behaviors you no longer desire to keep. It is good for improving memory and mental clarity by increasing your ability to focus.

In short Kundalini can be intense but in short bursts. It is also very powerful physically and spiritually lifting practice.  

If you have blockages in the Chakras, a Kundalini practice could help you to heal them. Just like other types of healing physical or mental, this is not always comfortable. You may have an emotional release because you are moving those stuck energies up and out of the body. You can read more about energetic emotional release here.

What you should know about Energetic Emotional Release – Emy Minzel

I hope this clarifies any questions you have about kundalini yoga, and I hope it intrigues you enough to come and try a Kundalini class at Spirit River Yoga and Massage!

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Emy Minzel


CEO of Spirit River Yoga and Massage