Guest post by Julie Eisenberg
You may have heard about Lighthouse Yoga Center’s Kundalini Yoga classes lately from news stories. The Washington Post featured it in an article "A lesser-known yoga style focused on internal health is gaining popularity in the U.S.," some prominent Kundalini Yoga musicians have been in town lately, and the visibility of this ancient form of yoga has been growing quickly in recent years.
But what is Kundalini Yoga? And why is DC’s only Kundalini Yoga studio based in Petworth?
Kundalini Yoga (as taught by Yogi Bhajan) is a system that combines different forms of physical movement with meditation to create a sense of peace and elevation. The practice works to balance the glandular system, strengthen the nervous system, expand lung capacity and release tension and stress. It may also boost the immune system and help improve focus, concentration and mental well-being.
While Hatha Yoga is taught as a series of individual postures or sequences of postures, Kundalini Yoga is taught in kriyas. A kriya is a series of postures, breath and rhythm — often chanting — that work toward a specific outcome. Some kriyas are very gentle and meditative, with lots of long, slow breathing and beautiful chanting. Others will push you to your physical limit — and then some. 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.
Meditation is a key aspect of this practice. Some of the meditations can be practiced for a quick three minutes to give you an energy boost or help clear the mind to make an important decision. Others may last 11 minutes or longer. At Lighthouse, we offer monthly practices of 2-1/2 hours that will really take you deep! Even if you’re new to meditation and it seems like your mind is always wandering, you’ll benefit from these practices.
Kundalini Yoga can be practiced by everyone, regardless of age, flexibility, body shape or size, or other factors. Modifications are offered for many poses. If you can’t sit on the floor, there are chairs available for you to use. With a regular Kundalini Yoga practice, you will build your strength quickly, but in the meantime, take breaks as needed during the exercises.
Lighthouse Yoga Center is proud to be DC’s home for Kundalini Yoga. I opened Lighthouse in Petworth — 4 blocks from my home — as a way to bring all forms of yoga to my community and to share these powerful teachings. Kundalini Yoga empowers us to take action to make the world a better place, and it gives us the tools to stay calm and non-reactive. In current times, when we’re being called upon to stand up for truth and justice, the teachings of Kundalini Yoga can give us a power boost.
When we ask our students what draws them to Kundalini Yoga, they tell us that it gives them peace of mind and clarity. One of our regulars said, “I love Kundalini because it's giving me the body and outlook on life I always dreamt of but didn't know how to get.”
Another wrote “I feel Kundalini yoga is saving my life. I am better. I am stronger. Respond rather than react.” Wow.
Kundalini Yoga is a practice more easily experienced than described, and we invite you to join us at Lighthouse for one of our seven weekly Kundalini Yoga classes. It can be challenging, relaxing, fun, uplifting, and more than just a little bit weird. Sort of like life!
Give it a try and let us know what you think.
You can learn more about Kundalini Yoga on the Lighthouse Yoga page.
Ed note: Petworth News is pleased to present an article by Julie Eisenberg, owner of Lighthouse Yoga on 9th Street and Upshur, a long-time sponsor and supporter of this blog. Julie wrote this sponsored article on behalf of her studio's latest yoga class Kundalini Yoga.
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