It's pretty well known that people in L.A. do some weird shit in the health/wellness and spirituality area.
There are meditation meet-ups for days, crystal shops on every corner, juice potions and elixirs everywhere and almost everyone's a vegan. 1 out of 2 people is a yoga instructor, and energy healing is a legit profession.
*I've never felt so at home* hehe
When I moved to Los Angeles, I knew that I wanted to become a part of a weird hippie community, and really explore more of what there is to offer as it relates to spirituality. Sort of an ode to the spiritual, inspiration seeking, diverse relationship building, witch-in-training, voodoo magic side of my personality.
Thinking it was 'regular' yoga, I roll up LuLu Lemon'ed the f out like a Yoga betch that I am, ready to like crow pose my face off, and get into weird binds that make me want to pass out.
Needless to say, we did none of the above, but at times I did feel like I was going to faint.
What I realized, a few moments after walking into the room, was that this was not regular yoga.
First, every person in the class, was head to toe in white garb. Relaxed fit, linen pants, flowy large white long sleeves and various white head wraps covering their hair completely. Some wearing beads, some wearing crystals, all of various ages and physical levels. Attendees around me were like yoga trailblazers, hipsters, and longtime devotees to the practice.
Not to mention the Golden Bridge studio is gorgeous. The inside is super colorful, Eastern inspired and, again very different than just normal mirrors or something that I'm used to.
Outside of the attendees, the class began with a teaching, where for around 10 minutes we're talking about things happening in the universe (we learned that Wednesday is the day of Jupiter, which means you can manifest good luck better on Wednesday than any other day).
The structure of the class was like this:
10-15 minutes of spiritual teachings from the instructor
30 minutes of the actual 'workout' called kriya
5 minutes of Savasana
15 minutes of chanting/singing
So the workout, kriya, isn't flow at all. You're doing various poses through classes, for between 3-5 minutes each. It ranges from stretching, even screaming.
Kundalini Yoga a kriya is a series of postures, breath, and sound that work toward a specific outcome. Practicing a kriya initiates a sequence of physical and mental changes that affect the body, mind, and spirit simultaneously. There are kriyas that support the liver, balance the glandular system, make you radiant, stimulate the pituitary, increase the flexibility of the spine, and many more. Each kriya has a different effect, but all work on all levels of your being.
I wouldn't say I was sweating per say, but the fact you incorporate breath, and the holding of poses for long periods of time, make it challenging.
The difference between kundalini yoga and other yogas is explained well by Heaven Meets Earth Yoga:
Hatha yoga focuses on the asana, or postures. It focuses on the angles and triangles of the body; to get the angles in correct alignment so that energy can flow freely through the pathways.
Kundalini yoga uses not just asanas. It uses mudra (hand positions that guide energy flow to the brain). It uses mantra – what we vibrate is what we attract. It uses sound to vibrate the Highest Self. It uses drishti (eye focus) to stimulate the glands, which secrete hormones. And it uses pranayama as its fundamental tool and is practiced in depth. Consider the reasons for practicing yoga: peace, stress management, clarity, self-reference, focus, joy, etc. This synergy gets you there faster, making it very practical for individuals with relationships and careers.
Basically, it's less physical, more mental and more spiritual.
So why do people even do kundalini? Like why do the white clothes, why do the chanting, and weird postures. It's believed to be an ancient 'technology', that's believed to help:
- Improve mood
- Decrease anxiety
- Help with exhaustion (even fertility issues)
- Cleanse your subconscious and your conscious mind
- Feel happier, healthier, be more productive, more creative
- Transform your life and relationships, and feel more fulfilled and satisfied
- Boost your energy levels and enjoy greater levels of physical well-being
- Become more intuitive and able to attract new opportunities
*girl with her hand up emoji* Yes please!
But all that aside, you do weird shit in class.
Like in all seriousness, my first class, I spent the majority of the time trying to catch on to the songs we were singing, and the phrase being said in a language I didn't know. Also, to chant for longer than 5 minutes is difficult because I'm so all over the place ADD.
Things to know before going into your first class:
- You also do most poses for around 2 minutes. Whether stagnant or moving, you're going to have to get comfortable doing whatever interesting pose, for a long period of time.
- At the beginning of class, there's a teaching, which can range from something related to the kundalini community to super hippie things like moon cycles.
- Each 'pose' is completely different. In one of them, we screamed for 2 minutes, in another you hang over your legs just limp, in another you propel your arms forward like you're flying (to cleanse your auric field) and in most you do 'breath of fire' to increase pranha.
- Everyone's in white, or wearing a linen to cover their head, like I said earlier. I read up on this to see what it was about, and the linen on your head is to "move energy in the body upward during practice then keep it there" rather than have it leave through the head, or crown center. For the clothes, it's to protect from negative projections, and expand the aura.
Basically, the vibe, is just less focused on physical and more on spiritual, ya know?
I've been doing it for like three weeks now (yay!) and have weirdly noticed that I am happier and feel more centered than before. I also have fallen out of yoga in NYC, so it could be that I'm getting back into it...but whatever it is, that I can't really put my finger on, I like.
I'll keep you posted on whether I rock the all white soon, fo sho and let me know if you've ever tried it?
Where you can go for kundalini in:
New York City
Also what is everyone doing this weekend? I'm excited to see everyone's Labor Day Activities! I'll be in Joshua Tree, with friends, so hoping to get some good hiking and photos in. Will post soon!