As many of us know, continuous time spent at a desk can affect us physically, emotionally and even spiritually. Prior to becoming the experienced Yoga Centre owner, Kundalini Yoga Teacher and Trainer, Devinder spent a lot of her time in an office cubicle staring at a computer screen.
Devinder was feeling the effects of working at a desk for hours at a time. One day her friend suggested she try yoga. Around that time, Devinder found an ad for a weekly yoga class on a telephone pole outside her office, so she decided to give it a try. Before long, Devinder was practicing weekly.
“I was happy and I was feeling better,” Devinder recalls. “My shoulders were relaxed, I was more energetic and as yoga does, it started to affect other parts of my life.”
Experiencing the positive effects of yoga first-hand drove Devinder to pursue her first 200-hour Hatha Yoga Teacher Training. As part of the training, Devinder was required to try other styles of yoga. The same friend who had convinced Devinder to try yoga encouraged Devinder to try a Kundalini Yoga class. Having had such a positive first-time experience with yoga, Devinder was open to trying a new and different aspect of the practice.
This time, however, the experience wasn’t so positive. Her first thought after the class was, “This is 90 minutes of my life I will never get back.”
Devinder was frustrated. She had been unable to connect with what the teacher was saying, or understand why she was doing the poses the class was instructed to do. She left feeling pretty agitated by the whole experience and didn’t have any intention of trying this type of yoga again.
Cut to a few months later, Devinder waited in a yoga class for the teacher. Just seconds before the class began, the teacher walked in, dressed in the white clothing. Devinder wanted to leave the class, but she was in the far corner of the room, and couldn’t make a quiet exit without being noticed.
“I [was] trapped in this Kundalini Yoga class experience and [was] too shy to leave the room,” Devinder remembers. “So I stuck it out and gave it another try.”
This time, Devinder found herself enjoying the class a lot more. She left understanding there were more aspects of this practice to explore.
“It showed me the world of difference when different teachers teach the classes… It was an incredible teaching point, how much more you need to bring to this practice so people know what’s going on… I think it’s important for people to try this style of yoga more than once. These kinds of wisdom traditions are so rich that having a 90-minutes session is a tiny, tiny tip of the iceberg.”
As Devinder continued practicing this new style, she found so many aspects she really enjoyed. She appreciated Kundalini Yoga’s structure and prescriptive approach to yoga. Each class goes through a Kriya, which is a set of postures specifically designed for a particular theme or area of focus. These repeatable kriyas also make Kundalini Yoga a favorite by research scientists, who can use the consistency of the practice to achieve better research results.
“You can look up kriyas that help with particular things. Like for sleeping, detoxification, cleansing, or focusing on certain organs. The same thing happens with meditations. If you want to work on a specific area you’re struggling with, you select what you think you’d like to work on
It’s quite prescriptive that way. It’s almost like looking up a recipes!”
Devinder appreciates Kundalini Yoga’s spiritual aspect as well. Postures, breath, and mantras all come together to have an extremely powerful effect.
“A lot of the kriyas and meditations work on a totally different level. Not only our physical body here and now, but also the the energetic bodies, and the effects can last for days. Students come to class on Tuesday and are still feeling the effects by Friday.”
Needless to say, this effect was felt by Devinder. As she began teaching Hatha Yoga classes, she also began taking more Kundalini Yoga classes and took her first Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training. She followed that initial training with more advanced trainings in New Mexico—the hub of Kundalini Yoga.
Devinder recommends trying Kundalini Yoga classes at least three times before deciding whether or not it’s for you. Each teacher will select a different kriya and meditation for the class to practice and will also bring their own style and personality to the class. In fact, Devinder advocates trying new types of yoga whenever you can. Kundalini Yoga will open you up to new experiences.
“They say learning another language is a great exercise for the brain. Coming to a yoga class and chanting mantras helps you use a different part of your brain… They call Kundalini Yoga the yoga of awareness. It grounds you and gives you a powerful connection to your soul, spirit or divinity. Seeing people have that kind of experience is very inspiring. You see the yoga in action happening. Students come to class and learn and understand something more about themselves they wouldn’t have seen if they hadn’t walked through the door.”
Devinder is offering five terrific workshops at the Yoga Conference this year to give both beginner and experienced yogis a taste of what Kundalini Yoga has to offer. She says many of her students at past conferences have been Hatha Yoga teachers looking to better their Hatha practice through Kundalini Yoga. Devinder is also focused this year on showing teachers how to incorporate sound and vibration into their classes. She is offering a “How to Play the Gong Workshop” as an offering in the Conference.
So what do you have to lose? Open yourself up to a new experience. Devinder’s workshops at the Conference could be a great place to start!