Warning: What you're about to read may make you feel happier and hotter.
Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo -- what sounds like the beginning of a Silicon Valley CEO’s password could also be the secret of her success: Kundalini Yoga.
Kundalini is a type of yoga that uses the power of breath, mantra, and movement to unleash our life force. Ancient meets modern, “weird” meets practical as the tools shared in the Kundalini tradition strengthen our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies to adapt to today’s challenges and thrive.
Guru Jagat, a vibrant Kundalini teacher from Venice, CA, makes the world of Sanskrit chants, breathing exercises, and energy-moving moments accessible to you and me. Personally, I’m new to this type of yoga (and living ‘cuz really it’s all life, plump ’n’ juicy), and I’m excited to dive into her new book Invincible Living: The Technology of Yoga, The Power of Breath, and Other Tools to Amplify Your Life. Let’s grab a cup of tea, get comfy, and chat with this down-to-earth yoga rebel. Here’s to high-vibe livin’!
Invincible Living is a bold title — how can anyone ever be invincible? Unpack that for us, please.
There’s so much stress in the world. So many depleted adrenal glands and so many fried nervous systems. This level and consistency of deep stress contributes to a lot of life disatisfaction.
The power of Kundalini Yoga is that it detoxes the stress in the blood-system and strengthens the nerves so that we can release the anxiety and also have the stamina for high-intensity situations.
Invincible Living is when you meet the stress of the times with courage, creativity, and humanity. You can’t run away or avoid challenge. But if your’re tempered for it, and you’ve developed your nervous system, cleared your mind and balanced your glands, then your system can do what it actually does best: which is be happy, healthy, creative, serve others and thrive.
We live in high pressure times, but we all want to feel liberated and alive - aka invincible. This is why, in my opinion, yogic practice is no longer a luxury.
What’s the key wisdom you’re sharing in the book?
The big take-away I hope readers get from this book is that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve been, how much money you have, if you’re bendy like a rubber band or if you have matching spandex coordinates. You don’t have to know mantras, be “spiritual” or even like yoga that much. You can and will still get something out of Kundalini Yoga that will uplift your life in a profound and powerfully noticeable way!
Kundalini Yoga is for householders. People with jobs, families, cars, creative practices, etc. In Kundalini Yoga, the path of the ordinary is the path to majesty.
Why did you decide to write Invincible Living?
For the over fifteen years, I’ve watched the pressure of the age consume so much of the human attention span and vitality. With it, I’ve seen a skyrocketing increase in the need for real self-knowledge—beyond ephemeral material gain and loss, sex, work promotions, social niceties—as well as the need for a system for an individual to be able to thrive within the beauty of that material world.
I wanted people to know that there are options. There are ways of vitality that a more long lasting than a cocktail, more effective than popping a pill. And you don’t need to subscribe to any religion or touch your toes.
Kundalini Yoga is easy, it’s powerful and brings you into deeper resonance and harmony with all that is, while giving you the energy and response time to enjoyable navigate a thriving material life.
How did you find Kundalini and what made you love it so much that you’ve devoted your life to it?
When I stumbled across Kundalini Yoga during post 9-11 in New York City, I had already had a child-hood thick with the new-age, had studied the works of the masters and was practicing Ashtanga yoga every morning for two-hours. But Kundalini Yoga was different.
In my first a class, after twenty seconds of some weird arm-pumping posture, I had a physical experience of elevation and clarity that no other spiritual or new-age modality had even come close to touching. Of course I wanted to know more and experience more.
The quick, effective, simple and profound results is what keeps me hooked and still wanting to learn and practice as much a I can.
What differentiates Kundalini from other yoga traditions?
Kundalini Yoga is a highly sophisticated and systematic. It works on your glands, your nerves, your meridians and and your energy centers in a very biologically sophisticated way. It gives you, what the Dalai Lama is so passionate about right now, which is a physiological experience of compassion, wholeness, beauty, humanity, etc. Which is very different from other yogas.
What’s a powerful, practical practice people can incorporate into their lives right now?
One of my favorite practices that anyone can do anywhere is called the Four-Stroke Breath for Balance.
FOUR STROKE BREATH BALANCE
NOTES : This technique will actually reset the hormonal coding response in your endocrine system and allow for the energy to move past the re-creation of suffering or unhappiness in your daily life. We have suffered enough, haven’t we?
POSTURE : Sit in easy pose. Alternatively, you can do this at your desk, on the train or subway, in the car, or wherever you are.
EYES : Keep your eyes closed, gently focusing up and in at the brow point (or open and relaxed if you are in a public space).
BREATH: Inhale in four equal strokes through the nose. Exhale in four equal strokes through the nose. Continue.
TIME : 3 to 11 minutes
TO END: Inhale, hold the breath. Exhale and relax.
How do you define gratitude, and what are you grateful for?
Gratitude is a visceral experience of revelation and relaxation. It is a state of understanding that gives you reverence. It can’t be explained. It can only be felt.
I’m so grateful for my teacher, Harijiwan, the master of lineage, Yogi Bhajan, and the golden chain of teachers that makes it possible for me to stand in my own inherent birthright of dignity and grace with a definitive connection to my own organic rhythmic heart and intelligence. What an amazing life.
Thank you, Guru Jagat!