We all seek to be more self-disciplined and may have the best intentions to create more healthy habits, have more productive use of our time and a more ordered life. Yet how often have we embarked on a new direction or intention, only to find our ability to hold steady to it wane and eventually fail? Many of us have read a self-help book or started a new workout regimen and thought, “Ah, yes, I get it now–the new me has begun!” only to slip back into old habits and behavior.
I am writing this as an invitation to all BabyMama readers to embark together in committing to a 40 day yoga set. All I ask of each of us is a commitment of 3 minutes. As a Kundalini Yoga teacher, I have done a 40 day commitment many times through my training and practice. I have found each time to be a process of peeling back the layers of the subconscious mind like an onion. It is an uncovering of the ways that we can self-sabotage and pushing beyond them.
Kundalini Yoga is a practice of self-mastery through a combination of yoga poses, breath work and the recitation of mantra, it enables us to tap into our subconscious patterning and clear out any negative patterns. It is called the yoga of awareness.
Yogi Bhajan, who introduced Kundalini Yoga to the west, explained Kundalini as a technology for happiness. A fellow teacher of Brooklyn descent puts it most succinctly in layman’s terms, “kundalini yoga is positivity production and bullshit reduction!”
I have found this practice to be the most effective tool in my own spiritual journey, as it is simply about you communicating with your higher self. Meaning, all you need is your breath and your consciousness to return to a state of oneness. I know that may sound simplistic, but the beauty is, that it can be that simple! Remember simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy.
Kundalini Yoga is about the experience. It is through the experience of something new, that the shift in our consciousness can occur. A few years ago, I was teaching a class for beginners and a young Chinese woman came to my class. She told me she had studied all about the science and philosophy of Kundalini yoga, but never actually tried it. I was impressed but curious as to why she knew so much about it in theory yet never had actually felt the effects. I observed her throughout the hour and a half of class and was so moved by her very palpable expressions of joy, serenity, gratitude and bliss. I saw a tear run down her face as we sang the closing blessing.
Afterward, I asked about her experience. She said it was humbling to think she knew so much about it and yet realize that in truth she had no idea, because she had never had the experience for herself.
It is going through the process that we can re-form and be reborn to a better, brighter self. In the practice of Kundalini Yoga and meditation, the eyes are closed and tuned in and up to the third eye point which is the Pineal Gland in the brain and the source of our intuition. When we are in tune with our intuition, we are aligning ourselves with the power of our own inner truth.
Kundalini Yoga is a practice of self-mastery through a combination of yoga poses, breath work and the recitation of mantra, it enables us to tap into our subconscious patterning and clear out any negative patterns.
Through the breath work, the mantra and the poses, we are tapping into the power of the Kundalini Energy which lies dormant until activated, at the base of the spine. It is this life energy that runs up the chakra system, which are energy centers running along the torso from the root of the spine to the top of the skull.
To raise our Kundalini Energy is to move our energy out of the lower chakras, or more base and negative emotions, up through the heart center to ultimately access the higher centers in the body which correspond to higher states of being.
In doing so, we balance our entire energetic system and find the ultimate connection with the divine source. I offer this to my students as a kind or remembering; a returning to who we really are and from which we come and will return. It is the opportunity to enter into a clearer connection with whatever term you feel comfortable with to define The Source or The Divine or the Universe or God.
When we commit to something and ultimately accomplish it, we are giving ourselves an enormous reward. In pushing past our comfort zone, riding through the sometimes extreme discomfort inherent, we gain a new understanding of ourselves. We can see new possibilities and gain the strength to lift ourselves out of feelings of darkness and impossibility.
The tradition of a 40 day cycle has its root throughout many cultures and spiritual disciplines. The significance throughout Judeo-Christian tradition is evident throughout the scriptures regarding Jesus’ 40 days in the Wilderness, the flood of Noah where it rained for 40 days and nights, even the period of Lent is a 40 day cycle. In Sikhism and Hindu cultures, after a baby is born, the mother and child remain in the home to bond and heal for a period of 40 days. Buddha is said to have reached enlightenment after meditating and fasting under the Bodhi Tree for 40 days.
Yogi Bhajan explains that it takes 40 days to reset the subconscious patterning of our minds. If we keep up a practice of self- discipline for this time, or quit a bad habit, we are forming a new energetic patterning for ourselves.
To start a 40 day challenge, we can start with a commitment of just three minutes. This certainly seems reasonable, for even the busiest of us. To get started we need to set a few things in place:
- Set the goal and truly make a conviction based on your desire and intention and see yourself completing this goal.
- Create a space in your home. Perhaps create an altar with a candle, some flowers, a picture or anything that feels sacred and special to you.
- Begin a journal to write down your experience. Number it from one to forty and provide space to write your observations or even to vent frustrations.
- Keep up! Yogi Bhajan explained that when we extend our energy in a positive direction, the universe meets us halfway and extends its blessing. When we keep up, we are kept up!
The set below is a wonderful way to begin a 40 day challenge. I invite all BabyMama readers to join me on this journey and share your experience and thoughts!
Kirtan Kriya brings a total mental balance to the individual psyche.
Begin by sitting in a cross legged position or comfortably in a chair.
Close the eyes and meditate on the brow point.
Touch the thumb to thirst finger and chant “SA” (meaning infinity)
Touch the thumb to the middle finger and chant “TA” (meaning life)
Touch the thumb to the ring finger and chant “NA” (meaning death or transformation)
Touch the thumb to the pinky finger and chant “MA” (meaning rebirth)
Continue the chant at an easy and steady pace, keeping the eyes closed and focused and the breath long and deep.
Set a timer so that you know when 3 minutes are up.
Good luck and Sat Nam!