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When our digestion is clear and healthy, it is reflected in our complexion and our radiance. The following set of exercises is amazing for the tummy. It balances the intestinal flora and aids digestion. It helps to prevent depression by eliminating unhealthy bacteria and clearing old toxins. It works wonders for losing weight. This is a great set to practice if you have stomach issues or are taking antibiotics. It gives energy to our radiance.
1. Tune In
Sit up in a cross-legged position. Slow your breathing down, feeling it flowing deeply into your abdomen and your ribs, expanding them with each inhale. When you are ready to begin, place your hands in prayer pose and chant the Adi Mantra, Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo, three or more times.
See also Kundalini Yoga for Better Digestion
2. Reclining Leg Lifts
Lie on your back with your arms alongside your body. Inhale through your mouth as you lift both legs straight up. Exhale through your nose as you lower the legs back to the ground. Keep the knees straight throughout. (Modification: If it is more comfortable, place a folded blanket beneath your hips and a higher blanket below your calves.) With a smooth motion, keep raising and lowering your legs, letting your breath lead the movement, for one to three minutes. The motion combined with the breathing alters the activity of the pituitary gland.
3. Rock Pose to Kneeling
Immediately after completing the leg lifts, sit on your heels in Rock Pose, with your hands on your shoulders. Inhale through your mouth and lift your hips up so you are in a kneeling position. As you come up, bring your hips forward and your elbows back, straightening the spine. Keep the head level and facing forward. Exhale through your nose and return to the original starting position. Continue the up-and-down motion and accompanying breath pattern vigorously for one to three and a half minutes. Increase the pace as you warm up.
4. The Divine Grind
Sit down in a cross-legged position. Place your hands on your knees. Begin to churn your lower torso, making big circles by moving your navel to the front, side, back, opposite side, and front again. Allow your chin to come up naturally as you churn your spine forward and down as you churn backward. Coordinate the movement with your breath by inhaling as you rotate your torso forward and exhaling as you arc it back. Continue for one to three and a half minutes. We suggest reversing the direction halfway through. This motion aids in digestion and helps remove toxins from the kidneys, gallbladder, liver, and spleen. It also balances the adrenal glands.
5. Active Yoga Mudra
The Venus Lock mudra channels sexual energy and helps balance the glands. Where the thumb connects into the palm is a raised mound called the Mound of Venus. The goddess Venus is the representative of beauty, grace, sensuality, and sexuality. The thumb represents the ego, or the falsely empowered identity of self as separate from the soul.
Sit up tall in Easy Pose. Interlock your hands behind you in Venus Lock, with the fingers interlaced. To do Venus Lock, fold your hands together, interlacing your fingers and resting one thumb on the Mound of Venus of the opposite hand. Traditionally, women place the thumb of their left hand upon the Mound of Venus of the right hand; for men, the right thumb rests on the left-hand Mound of Venus. It is a very balancing mudra that is often used in kundalini yoga exercises. You also can do it at any time during your day to generate vitality and a calm, knowing focus. Inhaling through the mouth, lower your forehead toward the floor in front of you while lifting the folded hands as high as possible behind you. Rise back up straight and tall as you exhale through the nose. Continue the movement and breathe for one to three minutes. The unusual breathing technique of inhaling on the forward bend will give a beneficial massage to the intestines and abdominal organs. (Modification: Sit on your heels, as pictured. You may find it helpful to straddle a folded blanket or a firm cushion by placing it between your heels to sit on.)
6. Relaxation with Navel Focus
Lie down on your back and bring your focus to your navel point, mentally directing your prana to the energy center there. The navel point is an essential part of your awakening. It is the power center of your consciousness. As you focus, relax with your palms face up alongside your body. Slow down your breath, relax every fiber of your body, and visualize your body melting into the earth’s gravity. Feel the light of the universe washing through your aura. Scan your entire body, from your feet to your head, and consciously relax every muscle. Continue resting for five to seven minutes.
Excerpted from ESSENTIAL KUNDALINI YOGA: An Invitation to Radiant Health, Unconditional Love, and the Awakening of Your Energetic Potential, by Karena Virginia & Dharm Khalsa. Sounds True, February 2017. Reprinted with permission.