Kriya - Working the Total Self

(Taught by Yogi Bhajan, July 10, 1975. Located in Kundalini Yoga Manual, edited by Rama Kirn Singh, pp. 37-41)

Stand Up. Raise the arms straight over the head with the hands interlocked and the first finger pointing straight. Begin bending slightly back and then forward, balancing on the second vertebra. You will feel the entire pressure on your calves if you are balanced. Continue for 3 minutes.

Still Standing. Bend forward and let the arms extend out to the sides with the fingers stretching apart. Hold for 3 minutes with long, deep breathing.

Still Standing. In the same position as in Exercise 1, raise the arms straight over the head with the hands interlocked and the first finger pointing straight. Bend, beginning with the right side and hold for 3 minutes with long, slow, deep breathing. Then, go forward, moving to the left side and hold for 3 minutes as you continue with long, slow, deep breathing.

Still Standing. In the same position, begin rotating to the right in complete circle, grinding on the buttocks. Bend as far as possible in each direction for 3 minutes. Then repeat the exercise, rotating to the left for 3 minutes.

Still Standing. Stand with the legs about 18 inches apart and the arms parallel to the ground, palms down. Twist from side to side, inhaling to the left, exhaling to the right. Continue for 3-5 minutes.

Still Standing. Standing in the same position, raise the arms up to 60 degrees. The hands are in Gyan Mudra. Begin lowering the torso by bending the knees. Do not squat completely to the ground. Continue this motion for 3 minutes.

Still Standing. Bring the heels together and continue in the same motion as Exercise 6. Begin chanting “SA” as you go down, “TA” as you come up, “NA” as you go down, “MA” as you come up. Continue for 3 minutes. (SA=Infinity; TA=Life; NA=Death; MA=Rebirth).

Triangle Pose. From a standing position, place the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet flat on the ground. The feet are approximately hip-width apart. Roll the armpits together. The chin is pulled in. Raise the left leg up. With long, slow, deep breathing, hold this position for 2 minutes. Switch legs and then repeat each leg one more time.

Triangle Pose. In the same position, begin kicking the buttocks with the raised leg. Continue for 1 minute with each leg.

Hands & Knees. Come down on your hands and knees. Lift the lower half of the legs up in the air and cross them. Begin criss-crossing the legs in a rapid motion. Continue for 3 minutes.

Camel Pose (for beginners). Begin by kneeling with your thighs at right angles to the floor with your weight on your knees and the bottom surface of your flexed toes. Place the hands on the hips, fingers down. Stretch the pelvis forward, keeping enough tension in your thigh muscles to keep you from falling backward. At this point, look and reach back with one hand, swinging the other hand forward for balance, grabbing the top of the heel (or ankle, if it is easy for you). Do the same with the other side. To come out of this position, push up asymmetrically from one side. It is harder to come up on both thighs at the same time. When you can come in and out of this gracefully, either one side at a time or from both sides at the same time, then you can do Camel Pose with the toes extended and the tops of the feet on the floor. (An alternative way to come out of Camel Pose is to sit down through the position and lift the head.) While in Camel, concentration should be on lengthening the entire spinal column rather than letting your head hang down which can strain the neck. (Camel Pose opens the diaphragm and chest. It energizes the navel and heart centers and adjusts the internal organs.) Do not have the knees too far apart in Camel. It is better to have the knees approximately two fists apart. Hold Camel with

long, slow, deep breathing for 3 minutes.

Locust Pose. Come down lying on the stomach. Cross the legs at the heels, place the fists under the groin (between the pelvis and hip bones) and lift the legs coming up into Locust Pose. Continue for 3-5 minutes. (Locust is an extension exercise. In order to lengthen your spine, roll your hips and knees in toward each other. Otherwise, you just compress your lower back, and you want to be able to use the power of the back muscles to create the lift.)

Relax for one minute.

Bow Pose. Still lying down flat on your stomach, bend your knees and push them toward your back. Catch hold of your ankles with both hands, keeping the feet together. Lift up your head and chest. Hold for 1 minute. (Ideally, the body is balanced on the abdomen only and the neck is stretched back up as in Cobra. Don’t put pressure on y