(Keeping Up! As taught by Yogi Bhajan, pp. 10-13 and The Aquarian Teacher, K.R.I. International Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training Level One Yoga Manual, Yogi Bhajan, Ph.D., pp. 343-344.)
Ego Eradicator. Sit in Easy Pose. Extend the arms up to a 60 degree angle. Curl the fingertips onto the pads of the palms (just below the base of the fingers). Thumbs aim at each other above the head. Eyes closed, concentrate above the head. Breath of Fire for 1-3 minutes. To end, inhale deeply and hold the breath as you bring the thumb tips together slowly above your head and open the fingers. Exhale and apply Mulbandh. Hold the breath out briefly, then inhale and relax.
This exercise opens the lungs, brings the hemispheres of the brain to a state of alertness and consolidates the magnetic field.
Spinal Flex. Sit in Easy Pose. Grasp the shins with both hands. As you inhale, flex the spine forward. As you exhale, flex the spine back, keeping the shoulders relaxed and the head straight. Continue rhythmically with deep breaths for 1-3 minutes. Then inhale, exhale and relax.
This exercise stimulates and stretches the lower and mid-spine.
Spinal Twist. In Easy Pose, grab the shoulders with the thumbs in the back and the fingers in the front. Keep the elbows high with the arms parallel to the ground. Inhale as you twist the head and torso to the left. Exhale as you twist to the right. Continue for 1-4 minutes. To end, inhale, facing straight forward. Exhale and relax.
This exercise stimulates and stretches the lower and mid-spine.
Front Life Nerve Stretch. Stretch both legs straight out in front. Grab the toes in finger lock (index finger and middle finger pull the big toe and the thumb presses the nail of the big toe). If you cannot reach the toes, grab the ankles, shins or thighs. Exhale as you lengthen the core of the spine (i.e., stretch the spine straight by pulling Mulbandh (root lock) andJalandhar Bandh (neck lock), bending forward from the navel, continuing to lengthen the spine. Inhale, use the legs to push up. The head follows last. Continue with deep powerful breathing for 1-3 minutes. To end, inhale up and hold the breath briefly. Stay up and exhale completely, holding the breath out briefly. Inhale and relax.
This exercise works on the lower and upper spine.
Modified Maha Mudra. Sit on the right heel with the left leg extended forward. Grasp the big toe of the left foot with both hands in finger lock, applying pressure against the toenail. (If you cannot reach the toes, grab the ankles, shins or thighs.) Exhale, bring the elbows to the ground as you lengthen the core of the spine, bending forward from the navel, continuing to lengthen the spine. Lastly, bring the head to the knee. Hold, with Breath of Fire for 1-2 minutes. To end, inhale, exhale and stretch the head and torso forward and down. Hold the breath out briefly. Inhale, switch legs and repeat the exercise. Relax.
This exercise helps elimination, stretches the sciatic nerve and brings circulation to the upper torso.
Life Nerve Stretch. Spread the legs wide, grasping the toes as in Exercise 4. Inhale and stretch the spine straight, pulling back on the toes. Exhale and bending at the waist, bring the head down to the left knee. Inhale up in the center position and exhale down, bringing up the head to the right knee. Continue with powerful breathing for 1-2 minutes. Then inhale up in the center position and exhale, bending straight forward from the waist touching the forehead to the floor. Continue this up and down motion for 1 minute, then inhale up stretching the spine straight. Exhale, bringing the forehead to the floor. Hold the breath out briefly as you stretch forward and down. Inhale and relax.
This exercise develops flexibility of the lower spine and sacrum and charges the magnetic field.
Cobra Pose. Lie on the stomach with the palms flat on the floor under the shoulders. The heels are together with the soles of the feet facing up. Apply Mulbandh, rotate the pelvis, elongate the lower back and arch the chest upward as you inhale into Cobra Pose, arching the spine, vertebra by vertebra, from the neck to the base of the spine until the arms are straight. The shoulder blades move down the back to leverage the lifting of the chest. Only rise up as far as you can without compressing the lower back. It is perfectly acceptable to a) keep the pelvis off the ground and/or b) rest on the forearms like a “sphinx.”
Begin Breath of Fire. Continue for 1-3 minutes. Then inhale, arching the spine to the maximum. Exhale and hold the breath out briefly, apply Mulbandh. Inhale. Exhaling slowly, lower the arms and relax the spine, vertebra by vertebra, from the base of the spine to the top. Relax, lying on the stomach with the chin in the floor and the arms by the sides.
(From Divine Alignment by Guru Prem Khalsa, p. 98: Keep the fronts of the thighs rolled toward each other to protect the sacrum and keep your feet touching. It sometimes is helpful to place a yoga block between your thighs. The thighs have to press together to keep the block in place and this makes it difficult to compress the sacrum as you arch backward.)
This exercise balances the sexual energy and draws the prana to balance apana so that the Kundalini energy can circulate to the higher centers in the following exercises.
Shoulder Shrugs. Sit in Easy Pose. Place the hands on the knees. Inhale and shrug the shoulders up toward the ears. Exhale and drop the shoulders down. Continue rhythmically with powerful breathing for 1-2 minutes. Inhale. Exhale and relax.
This exercise balances the upper chakras and opens the hormonal gate to the higher brain centers.
Neck Rolls. Sit in Easy Pose. Begin rolling the neck clockwise in a circular motion, bringing the right ear toward the right shoulder, the back of the head toward the back of the neck, the left ear toward the left shoulder and the chin toward the chest. The shoulders remain relaxed and motionless. The neck should be allowed to gently stretch as the head circles around. Continue for 1-2 minutes, then reverse the direction and continue for 1-2 minutes more. Bring the head to a central position and relax.
Sat Kriya. Sit on the heels with the arms overhead and the palms together. Interlace the fingers except for the index fingers, which point straight up. Men cross the right thumb over the left thumb; women cross the left thumb over the right. Begin to chant “Sat Nam” emphatically in a constant rhythm about 8 times per 10 seconds. Chant the sound “Sat” from the navel point and solar plexus and pull the navel all the way in and up. On “Nam” relax the navel. Continue for 3-7 minutes, then inhale and squeeze the muscles tight from the buttocks all the way up the back past the shoulders. Mentally allow the energy to flow through the top of the skull. Exhale. Inhale deeply. Exhale completely and apply Mulbandh with the breath held out. Inhale and relax.