Yoga and Meditation can be lifesavers for the entire family, and only take a few minutes per day. We speak with a leading expert on how to incorporate this practice into your daily life!
I’ve never been a huge fan of yoga or meditation, but since my husband got into it a year ago and swears by it, I thought I’d give it a go. Especially when I heard that Guru Jagat, the personal yoga instructor to A-listers such as Alicia Keys and Kate Hudson was facilitating a mass yoga and meditation session at the Capella Singapore on Sentosa. If she’s good enough for Kate and Alicia – why not?!
All the way from Los Angeles, Guru Jagat is a leading Kundalini yoga instructor and founder of RA MA Institute, a leading yoga school in Venice, California and Mallorca that offers retreats and workshops. She has her own RA MA Record label as well as a TV channel which is dubbed “the Netflix of Kundalini Yoga.”
Unlike some meditation I’ve tried in the past where my mind tends to wander in all sorts of directions, Kundalini incorporates yoga movements, dynamic breathing techniques, meditation, and chanting of mantras which, when combined, I found really quite powerful. After two hours of listening to her soothing voice and expelling a lot of air, I came out of Capella light as a feather. It was the perfect way to start my week.
What is great about Kundalini yoga is that anyone can do it – kids to adults, young to old, different shapes and sizes. You don’t have to be super flexible or super fit. You can access any of Guru Jagat’s sessions on her website or YouTube channel (they are very easy to follow), and be sure to check out her book, Invincible Living.
I had a chance to interview Guru Jagat following the event, and she provided lots of helpful tips and advice on how stressed out parents and pregnant mamas can incorporate Kundalini meditation practices into their everyday lives to reduce stress and enhance mindfulness. She even provided some handy tips for kids! Read on for her lovely expert advice, mamas!
“Children do what we DO, not what we SAY. So one of the most amazing things you can do for your kids is your OWN yoga and meditation practice. They will be curious and interested and eventually copy your behavior! And then you can invite them to do some practices with you. One that I love to do with kids is a 3-minute moving breath meditation called Fists of Anger. Children are often frustrated because of all their energy, sophistication and the deep helplessness of an intelligent being in a smaller body who has to be dependent on others.”
Fists of Anger
POSTURE: Sit in an Easy Pose (crossed legged) or in Rock Pose (on the heels).
MUDRA: Touch each thumb to the base of the Mercury (pinky) fingers. Close the rest of the fingers over the thumbs to form fists. Raising the arms, begin a backstroke type movement over the head, alternating each side (right/left) as you swing up, over and back around again, just like you are doing the backstroke in a swimming pool.
BREATH: Through O-shaped mouth, begin strong, rhythmic inhale/exhale in sync with arm movements. The breath becomes a breath of fire through the mouth. Keep the lips in an O shape throughout the meditation. The mudra, movement and breathing are continuous and strong.
FOCUS: Intentionally think about anything and everything that makes you angry, weird, negative, or commotional. Continue this focus on bringing up the anger and negativity
throughout the meditation, increasing the movement and breath.
TIME: Continue this movement for 3 minutes.
TO END: Interlock the fingers, stretch the arms up over head, palms facing up, deep inhale through the O mouth– picture yourself surrounded in white, healing light– hold the breath for 10 seconds, exhale out the O mouth.
Repeat this ending breath 3 times.
How long should a mum meditate each day? Is there a best time of day?
Usually before children wake or after they’re in bed tends to be best time of day, and I am a big fan of consistency over quantity. I’d rather you meditate 3 minutes a day then 31 minutes once a week.
Here is a meditation you can do in the morning for just 3 minutes:
POSTURE: Sit in easy pose.
MUDRA: With both hands, curl your ﬁngers into the pads of your hands— not into ﬁsts, just down so that the ﬁngertips are resting right on top of the pads at the base of each ﬁnger. Leave your thumbs extended, and place them on your temples.
BREATH AND MANTRA: Breathe normally in and out. Mentally repeat the sounds Sa- Ta- Na- Ma. On each sound, press your back molars together. You should feel something move underneath your thumbs. Keep going.
TIME: 3 to 11 minutes.
TO END: Inhale, gently squeeze the back molars and focus on the center of the forehead through closed eyes. Exhale, and relax.
Here’s a meditation you can do in bed at night:
Kirtan Kriya For Female Balance (only for women)
POSTURE: Lie on the belly with the chin resting on the floor/mattress. Place the arms by the side with the palms facing up.
EYES: Closed and focused in between the eyebrows.
MANTRA AND MUDRA: Mentally chant the mantra SA TA NA MA. Silently vibrate SA as you press the thumb and index finger together, TA as you press the thumb and middle finger together, NA as you press the thumb and ring finger together, and MA as you press the thumb and pinky together. Keep going in sequence.
BREATH: Breathe through the nose and allow the breath to adjust itself
TIME: From 3 to 31 minutes.
What would you say to a young mama who is adjusting to the responsibility of a new child?
Right after you get permission to be active again from your doctor, it’s important to balance your pelvic bones so that the hormonal system can come back into balance.
Try these moves to balance you pelvic bones. When they stretch and open during pregnancy and child birth, the key to post-partum balance and rejuvenation is this.
Cat-Cow + Sat Kriya + Relaxation (3 minutes each)
POSTURE AND BREATH: Position the body on hands and knees. Inhale, lift the chest and the buttocks and drop the belly. Exhale, drop the head, curl the navel in. Move at a moderate to fast pace, increasing the speed as you gain flexibility for enhanced hormonal balance
EYES: Closed, looking in between the eyebrows
TIME: Continue for 3 minutes
TO END: Inhale and pause in the position. Exhale and pause in the exhale position. Inhale neutral and sit back on the heels and bring the forehead to the ground. Arms stretched out in front, palms together. Rest.
POSTURE: Sit in rock pose with your buttocks on the heels. Bring the arms overhead, stretching from the armpits, and then steeple the index ﬁngers, and interlace the other ﬁngers. Women cross the left thumb over the right; men do the opposite.
EYES: Keep your eyes closed, gently focusing up and in at the brow point.
BREATH AND MANTRA: Breathe naturally and chant the mantra Sat Nam out loud. On Sat, pull your rectum, sex organs, and navel point up and in. On Nam release the lock. Continue.
TIME: 3 to 11 minutes
TO END: Inhale, stretch more, and pull your rectum, sex organs, and navel point up and in. Exhale and release. Repeat. Then inhale, exhale, hold the breath out, and stretch more. Inhale and relax the arms and gently lower yourself onto your back.
POSTURE: Relax on the back, legs uncross, arms gently by the sides, palms facing up.
EYES: Closed and relaxed
BREATH: Unforced and natural.
TIME: 3 minutes
TO END: Gently move parts of your body to wake up. Bring the knees into the chest, roll on the spine and come out of the relaxation.
Being a new parent is a huge adjustment.
Use right nostril breath for helping with sleep deprivation, fatigue and patience.
Right Nostril Breathing
POSTURE: Wherever, whenever, however. OR if practicing classically, sitting in easy pose.
EYES: Open or closed depending on context.
MUDRA AND BREATH: Block the left nostril with the thumb and begin breathing at a quick, but steady and even pace through the right nostril.
TIME: Continue for 2-5 minutes.
TO END: Inhale, hold the breath briefly. Exhale, relax and go about your day.
What are the benefits of Kundalini breathing and meditation for pregnant mamas?
The Kundalini breathing and meditation are of HUGE benefit throughout pregnancy, from conscious planning of conception and onwards.
From conception to 120th Day, you are preparing your body for the big changes physically, mentally and emotionally. As much meditation, breathing, and yoga you can do in this time is VERY helpful.
Then from 120th Day (which is believed by the yogis when the soul comes into the physical body) to delivery, you are preparing your body for labor and the rigors of being a new parent. This is incredibly important. Everything yoga and meditation you do now are of deep benefit to you and the baby: emotionally, physically and psychologically
Labor can be powerfully enhanced through Kundalini Yoga. Giving birth is easier if your pituitary gland is secreting – this will ease the opening of the cervix. To stimulate pituitary gland secretion, try this breath:
Four-Stroke Breath for Balance
POSTURE : While in labor
EYES: Keep your eyes closed, gently focusing up and in at the brow point.
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.
An expecting mother can also practice this meditation from the 120th day onwards for a beautiful, peaceful and well-adjusted baby!
ADI SHAKTI MEDITATION FOR EXPECTNG MOTHERS
POSTURE: Sit in an easy, comfortable cross-legged position. Spine should be straight, chin slightly into the chest.
MUDRA: Make the hands into fists leaving the index finger extended out. Relax the elbows by the side and bring the hands up by the face so that the top of the index finger is at about the same level as your cheekbone
MANTRA: Chant aloud to the Adi Shakti mantra. Chant in monotone or follow a version sung by a spanish singer named Gurudass.
Aad Shakti, Aad Shakti, Aad Shakti, Namo, Namo.
Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Namo, Namo.
Pritum Bagvati, Pritam Bagvati, Pritam Bagvati, Namo, Namo.
Kundalini, Mat Shakti, Mat Shakti, Namo, Namo.
EYES: Closed, looking at the brow point.
Make the hands into fists, thumbs on the outside. Bend the elbows down by the sides, and bring the fists in front of each shoulder, palms facing forward, index fingers pointing straight up. Hold the position.
TIME: 3 – 11 minutes (up to 31 minutes or even 62 minutes for the ambitious mamas-to-be!)
TO END: Inhale, hold. Exhale and relax.
Thank you, Guru Jagat! For more information, check out www.ramayogainstitute.com!