2021-10-23 | Kundalini Yoga Update
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The Playful Yogi
I discovered yoga and meditation in 1995, just as it was starting to rise in the mainstream. My passion for this ancient practise inspired me to become a certified teacher in 1999. Since then I have taught well over a thousand yoga classes to thousands of students across Canada and my enthusiasm for yoga is stronger than ever. I have a playful, but disciplined approach to teaching and frequently remind my students (and myself) that learning to lighten up is a key step on the road to enlightenment.
The Mother of All Yogas
Kundalini Yoga is sometimes dubbed “the mother of all yogas” as it integrates all aspects of yoga into a single practice. It has a strong physical component, with more of an emphasis on dynamic movements than on static postures, and draws on the power of the breath (pranayama). Meditations, both with and without mantras, help to build mental discipline and cleanse unhealthy mental patterns. I encourage students to practice Kundalini Yoga in all aspects of their life by being conscious of their breath, mind and posture and by adopting lifestyle choices that are abundant in this practice.
Kundalini Yoga Teaching Experience
I began my teaching career at the Rama Lotus Yoga Centre in Ottawa in 1999 and taught there regularly until I moved to Vancouver in 2004. I have taught at many retreats over the years including the annual Summer Solstice Celebration in New Mexico, the international 3HO Men’s Camp retreat on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast and at the Blue Osa retreat centre in Costa Rica. I have also had the opportunity to teach at community centres and at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
I’m currently a yoga teacher at Yoga West (Raj Yog Nivas) in Vancouver, one of the first and most recognized Kundalini Yoga centres in the world. I play an active in this community’s growth and prosperity and am an evaluator for Yoga West’s internationally recognized Yoga Teacher Training Program.
Kundalini Yoga: What to Expect
The class begins with the chanting of a short mantra (“Ong Namo, Guru Dev Namo”), a key component in setting the stage for a powerful experience during the class.
A set of warm-up exercises is followed by a yoga set, or “kriya”. A kriya is a sequence of exercises that are masterfully woven together to achieve a specific effect. There are hundreds of kriyas, each with a different focus.
The kriya is followed by a long, deep relaxation, to integrate the effects of the exercises, and a meditation. There are a wide variety of meditations that make use of various hand positions, or “mudras”. Some meditations are silent and others incorporate the repetitive chanting of a mantra.
Most mantras are chanted in Gurmukhi, a language born out of the ancient language of Sanskrit. What makes these mantras special is the effect that is achieved as these words are chanted. It’s something that must be experienced to be appreciated. Words will be provided and, while I encourage you to chant along to get the full impact of the meditation, listening is always an option.
Each class concludes with a short prayer and the chanting of “Sat Nam”, a mantra to call upon and acknowledge our inner truth. “Sat” means truth and “Nam” is the naming or calling upon of this truth.
A Multidisciplinary Approach
I have practised many forms of yoga over the years, including Ashtanga Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Classical Hatha Yoga, Power Yoga and Yin Yoga, and find that each style has something unique to offer. I served as a Director of YogaBC (formerly YABC) from 2004-2009 to help foster the development of yoga in British Columbia and encourage high standards of instruction.