Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Are you ready to discover your life’s purpose and activate your fullest potential? Kundalini Yoga is an ancient practice that helps you channel powerful energy and transform your life. And now there is an accessible, easy way to learn how to incorporate these practices into your practice and life. Yoga Journal’s 6-week online course, Kundalini 101: Create the Life You Want, offers you mantras, mudras, meditations, and kriyas that you’ll want to practice every day. Sign up now!
The vitality of body and mind can be enhanced by the deep wisdom we gain as the years tick by. Work these seven practices, inspired by Kundalini Yoga, into your daily routine to stay healthy, lively, and bright.
1. Mini yoga breaks
Getting up and stretching even for a few minutes every hour or two will stimulate a cascade of health responses and the wondrous effects of the parasympathetic nervous system. Set a timer on your phone to help you remember. Try simple neck rolls or Frog Pose. Frog Pose gets your cardiovascular system going, regenerates your cerebrospinal fluid, and brings energy to your life nerve, which gets squished by too much sitting. You can do this right next to your desk.
Squat down onto your toes, with heels touching and raised off the floor, knees spread wide, and your fingertips on the floor between your thighs. Keep your head level and looking forward. Inhale as you lift your buttocks up toward the sky, keeping your hands and balls of feet on the ground. Allow the top of your head to tip down toward the floor. Exhale as you return to the starting position. Continue for 26 breaths, then inhale deeply into the up position and hold your breath. Then exhale, come down, and relax. Feel that your cells are invigorated and full of light.
2. Vagus nerve–stimulating whistle breath
This slow, conscious breath will release mood-boosting hormones, keep you energized and clear-headed during the day, and relaxed to sleep deeply at night. The movement of the diaphragm helps massage your heart and descending aorta.
Sit tall, pucker your lips and whistle as you inhale and exhale very slowly, fully filling and emptying your lungs. Inhale deeply and hold your breath. Exhale. Don’t worry if you can’t make the whistle sound—just pucker your lips as though you were whistling.
3. Full relaxation
At least once per day, relax fully the yogic way. Set a timer for 3–11 minutes. Focus on relaxing, disregarding any mini-emergencies or inspirations that may call upon you to jump up and tend to them during this time—continue to relax. It can all wait 11 minutes.
Lie down on your back with palms up and legs spread comfortably. Close your eyes and slow down your breathing. Consciously relax your limbs, torso, and any other part of your body allowing you to surrender to the pull of gravity. Sink deeply into your mat.
4. Evening fast
Whenever possible have your largest meal in the middle of the day and skip evening meals. The energy normally devoted to digestion will be available to your body as you sleep, boosting cellular repair. You will wake up more refreshed and dynamic; over time, you will see profound shifts in your skin and body. In the Kundalini Yoga tradition, the prescription for vibrant health is to avoid eating after 4PM. The body can then switch into a rejuvenation mode, concentrating on the healing power of prana, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
In modern scientific terms, our hormones and circulation go through a natural daily cycle of circadian rhythms which depend on daylight, sleep habits, food intake, and other factors. Our natural cortisol levels are highest in the morning, giving us energy for activity; they fall below a threshold in the afternoon, which is why people often feel a lull in the late afternoon. By giving our digestive system a break in the evening, your body is able to readjust its natural hormonal cycle to generate an extended release of energy for activity in the daytime and internal energy for healing, cleansing, and cellular rejuvenation in the evening. Circadian rhythms take time to readjust, and therefore, this energizing effect starts to kick in more strongly after several days or weeks.
5. Facial lymph massages
A facial lymph massage is an easy way to help keep your internal system clean and clear, brighten your skin, and boost your immunity. Lymph is a constantly regenerating internal bath, clearing away toxins from around your cells. But lymphatic flow can become sluggish as we age or if we are sick. Just as you feel refreshed and alive after a bath, a lymphatic massage helps wash away toxins to create an environment that boosts cellular growth. Lymphatic massage also stimulates the moon center of the chin, which helps regulate our sensitivity and intuition, according to Kundalini Yoga master Yogi Bhajan.
Starting inside your jawline behind your chin, gently massage the junction where your neck meets your jawbone with a soft pulsing motion. Continue massaging just behind the jawbone, working your way back toward your ears. Massage your neck with the same motion from your ears down to your collarbone with gentle pressure. Feel that you are moving the liquid beneath the skin down from your head toward your chest.
6. Panting Lion Breath
Besides being fun to practice, this breath removes toxins from your bloodstream and increases the molecular exchange through your lungs. It stimulates your thyroid to boost your energy. Drink lots of water throughout the day to flush away released toxins.
Open your eyes and mouth wide. Extend your tongue out and down and begin a panting breath through your mouth, focusing on each exhalation. Draw your navel sharply back with each exhalation, and relax it on the inhalation. Continue for 1–3 minutes, then close your mouth, close your eyes, and inhale deeply into your abdomen. Hold this breath for as long as you reasonably can. Allow your focus to rest at your third eye, the point between your eyebrows.
See also Is a Kundalini Awakening Safe?
7. Chamomile Tea Poultice
One of the most wonderful anti-aging and ancient healing herbs is chamomile. It delivers healing energy to all your cells. But do not throw away your teabag. Let the teabag cool to a comfortable warmth, squeeze most of the moisture out then gently press the bag to your face and neck, drawing it slowly across your skin. Moisten all areas, but avoid getting the liquid in your eyes. Allow the moisture to air dry. Feel that the wisdom of the chamomile is washing away tension, stress and energetic toxins, leaving you clear, bright and beautiful.
About Our Expert
Dharm Khalsa is the co-author of ESSENTIAL KUNDALINI YOGA: An Invitation to Radiant Health, Unconditional Love, and the Awakening of Your Energetic Potential (Sounds True) with Karena Virginia. A yoga teacher, author, musician and spiritual counselor, Khalsa believes that we are souls in human bodies, each of us with a unique inner spark calling to be actualized. He started practicing yoga at 8 years old, and in his youth studied under several renowned teachers. He spent many years as sevadar on the staff of Yogi Bhajan, serving from the heart, and learning kundalini yoga, naad yoga, and devotion at the feet of his spiritual teacher. Khalsa holds a degree in psychology from the University of Rochester, is a certified instructor by the Kundalini Research Institute and has been teaching yoga for over 36 years. He has recorded four albums of sacred mantra. He is a Sikh minister and serves on the Boards of Directors of 3HO Foundation and the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation. Khalsa lives in the ashram community of Hacienda de Guru Ram Das, Espanola NM, USA, and often travels to lead workshops, classes and concerts that are infused with joy, depth and a vibration of love. For more information, please visit www.dharmji.com.