Sacred Kundalini Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 6

Courage and Adaptability

55 min - Practice


The technology of Kundalini Yoga allows us to become more adaptable to change, bringing us out of resistance, reactivity, and fear and into awareness, harmony, and embracing of what is.  Kara leads a practice to cultivate energy for tolerance and adaptability. After our warm ups, we begin by charging our energy with breath of fire and Ego Erradicator, move into breath retention while employing Bear Grip to reset the navel point and tap into eponic energy, Sat Kriya in Rock pose to draw energy from the lower energy centers up through the highest crown chakra, and spinal flexes to find release in the upper body. You will feel balanced, uplifted, and empowered.
What You'll Need: Mat


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Sat Naam, welcome everybody to Sacred Kundalini with Karoluni on Yoga Anytime. I'm excited to have you here with me today. I've been really enjoying these practices with you guys and receiving the comments and the questions, recognizing that this is a valued practice in this yoga community here at Yoga Anytime. I'm really grateful for that. So thank you.

Please keep the questions and the comments coming. I'd love to hear from you. Today we will be working on adaptability, right? This is a skill set that is a very powerful skill set to promote evolution within our own being, right? Adaptability applies to the physical body, right, allowing the muscles and the whole physical body to adapt to the demand of the current set of circumstances.

We have adaptability within the mind, right? How the mind can adapt to the current demands or changes. We have emotional adaptability, energetic adaptability, and spiritual adaptability, right? It carries over through the whole spectrum of our being. And adaptability in short is our ability to respond instead of react, right?

Our ability to allow, to surrender, to embrace as opposed to resist and find ourselves caught up in fear of a particular set of circumstances. Now I will say that I believe that the past year has been a huge opportunity for all of us to tap into our skill sets as it relates to adaptability, right? Globally there has been such a profound amount of change in the way that we live our lives. And it's brought us up against an awareness or brought us up to face an awareness on how adaptable we might be or might not be in relation to an ever-changing environment. The reality is, is change is constant, right?

To think that things are going to stay the same always and stay comfortable and stay reliable is an illusion, right? The only reality is that things are always in change. So how can we prepare ourselves to be embracing of that undeniable reality? And that's what today's Kriya set is going to be about. We're going to be working with the physical body, we're going to be working with the mind, we're going to be working with the breath, the nervous system.

All of the work that we do today is going to be priming our system to be more adaptable, right? And more allowing, able to surrender and embrace change, okay? And in essence, it's going to help us rise above the vibration of fear, right? Fear and the emotion of fear tends to vibrate in our survivalistic energy centers. It's only when we reach up into the energy of the third chakra where we can tap into courage, we can tap up into the heart area where that courage can be embraced and moved into our lives, all right?

So I hope you're excited about the practice today. We're going to be doing a little breath of fire today. So people who are pregnant or on the first three days of your menstruation, please, instead of doing breath of fire, please do a longer, deeper breath. And we're also going to be doing some kumbakas today, right? Kumbakas are breath retention modalities.

We're going to be doing breath retention on the complete exhale. So and then holding out, and then we're going to be doing, that's called a bhaya kumbhaka. And we're going to be doing an antar kumbhaka, which is a breath hold on the full inhale. Now if you tend to have low blood pressure issues, a bhaya kumbhaka holding on the exhale is going to lower your blood pressure a little bit more. An antar kumbhaka, which is held on the inhale, is going to raise your blood pressure a little bit higher.

Okay? So just know that if you have either low or high blood pressure issues that each of these is going to affect the low and the high a little bit more. So just be mindful. You don't want to get dizzy. You don't want to kind of feel faint-ish.

If you do that, refrain from, if you feel that experience, please refrain from the kumbhakas. Okay? Let's tune in. Rubbing our hands together, stimulating 72,000 energy channels within our being, right? These energy channels begin in the navel center, and they meander throughout our whole body and end in the hands and the feet.

So when we rub the hands together, rub the soles of the feet together, we start to stimulate these energy channels, opening them up, charging them and getting them ready for the practice. Let's bring the thumbs into the sternum, gently pressing the knuckles to the center of the heart. With this gentle pressure of the thumbs into the sternum, we're kind of giving a little nudge to the vagus nerve. There's also a connection here to the thymus gland, okay? We're not missing a step here in Kundalini yoga.

It's all the glands, all the lymph nodes, all the nerves, all the lobes of the brain. This is a purely scientific and spiritual practice. Now we tune in with our invocational mantra, the ari mantra, ong namo, guru dev namo. It means I bow to the divine teacher within me. That living consciousness transcends beyond the constructs of the personality and brings us right into the living essence of our being, our true nature.

Let's take a deep breath in through the nose and begin this mantra three times through. Take a deep inhale. Om namo, guru dev namo. Om namo, guru dev namo. Take a deep inhale and release.

Now let's start with our warmups. These are spinal warmups. We have three very powerful energy channels in Kundalini yoga that we work with. We have the Ida energy channel that runs from the left nostril down to the base of the spine. It's our feminine energy channel.

We have the right nostril, the pingala energy channel that runs from the entrance to the nostril to the base of the spine. When those two energies unite, they're in balance and harmony, then they allow the Kundalini energy to rise up through the central channel. So we want to open up the spine, open up that central channel, make it alive, accessible, and we do that through these spinal warmups. Let's inhale forward and exhale back. Eyes are up at third eye center.

And I want you to allow yourself to release the thoughts that may have been running through your mind all day today, right? Usually thoughts related to something that occurred in the past or some anticipation of the future, I'd like you to drop those away and just connect to the present moment with your breath, with the movement of your body, how that feels. Feeling the eyes drawn up to third eye center, sensing the space around your physical body, the space that you're taking up in the room, and also gain awareness, and I think it's really helpful to gain awareness that you, in a macro cosmic sense, are living beings sitting on a planet, spinning through space, rotating around the sun, right? There's a larger reality that we are not necessarily visibly aware of on a regular basis, but when we can tap into that truth, into that reality, the things that tend to preoccupy our minds don't necessarily seem as important to the miracle of the nature of our existence. Let's take four more in this direction.

Inhale and exhale. Last two. Last one, inhale, hold center and reverse, leading through the heart and then rounding through the back, connecting to that cosmic reality, inhaling and exhaling. Let's go for four, three, two, and one. Inhale, hold center, flex the spine forward, exhale, round tuck the tail and dome the back.

Eyes are at third eye and let's really deepen that breath. I want you to breathe into the solar plexus, breathe into the belly. Let's go for four, three, two, and one. Further opening that spine, rising up through the crown of the head, inhale, exhale. Take those hands onto the shoulders, inhale, twist left, exhale, twist right.

Keep those eyes drawn up strong to third eye center. Feel this beautiful rotation in the spine, right, if you tend to have low back tension, chronic tension in the low back, these are a wonderful set of exercises to do on a regular basis to maintain openness, flexibility, and space in the back and in the spine. Let's lift those hands up off the shoulders, index finger and thumb, join into Gyan Mudra. Inhale, exhale, and please don't forget when we're practicing Kundalini Yoga, the powerful energy that exists at the tips of all of the fingers, right, these are energetically connected to the lobes of the brain. So when we hold mudras and affect these little fingertips, we're stimulating the lobes of the brain.

Exhaling, exhaling, eyes are at third eye. See if you can deepen that rotation as long as it feels good. And now let's reach those arms up 60 degrees, full wide expanse of the arms, shoulders are away from the ears, eyes are up at third eye center. Let's go for four, three, two, and one, inhale, hold center. Reach those arms up overhead, exhale, hinge, and bow forward, stretching through the low back.

Let's inhale, lift through the head, and coming on to Tabletop. Hands are under the shoulders, knees are under the hips. Let's begin a nice Cat-Cow, transferring and moving, chronic life force energy throughout the whole body. Inhale, chin and tail rise, exhale, round tuck and dome. We're also moving cerebral spinal fluid through the central channel of the spine.

It's when that cerebral spinal fluid rises and makes pressure up at the pineal gland that we can create these exalted states of experience. Our body is wired, our whole being is wired for evolution, for expansion, for exalted states of awareness. We can tap into those potentials within this practice of Kundalini Yoga. Let's go for four, three, two, and one. Inhale, chin and tail, exhale, round tuck and dome.

Gently sit the hips back to the heels, tip the head down, maybe allow the forehead to touch the ground, eyes are at third eye center and connect with that third eye space. Coming to that awareness of the reality that we are in a cosmic experience here. Planet Earth, our experience here on Planet Earth is just an aspect of our existence. We are still, in a larger sense, beings of the universe, beings of the cosmos, opening yourself up to those larger schemes. In doing so, we create more awareness.

Let's rise up and come up into a seated cross-leg position. Alright, let's start this practice with a little charging breath of fire with the ego eradicator. As I've mentioned before in previous class, ego eradicator is not necessarily the best name for this because we're not seeking to necessarily eradicate the ego. We want to instead align the ego with the high self. The ego can be under the direction of many things, the ego can be under the direction of our fear, the ego can be under the direction of our sex drive, the ego can be under the direction of ambition, among many other things.

But when we bring the ego under the direction of our highest spiritual self, of our living consciousness, that's when we can start to actually tap into Dharma. Alright, let's bring those arms up 60 degrees, shoulders are down away from the ears and I would like you to have those arms really powerfully energetic. Like there's electricity running through the arms, no bend in the elbows, fingers pull in toward the palms and the thumbs, direct their strong energy toward one another. And let's begin, a powerful breath of fire through the nose, pumping the belly, eyes to the third eye, here we go. Now you're going to start to feel maybe a little visceral tension in the shoulders, see if you can soften them, no gripping, feel as if energy is just moving and radiating through the body.

And any tension you create me, maybe consider that it's blocking the flow of that energy, allow yourself to be free and easy. I'm going at a pace that works for you. Let's go for 30 more seconds. Now take a deep inhale, root lock, suspend the breath, big belly, third eye focus, join those thumb tips to touch overhead, reach the fingers to the sky. Take the posture, exhale, again, root lock, big breath, suspend third eye, and exhale.

Hands come down through the energy field and just rest for a moment with the hands face up on the knees. Just bear witness to the shift in perspective, the shift in awareness and gently blink your eyes open. Now this is the time we're going to apply the Baya Kumbhaka. The mudra we're going to hold is what's called a bear grip. Okay, so I'm going to take my left hand on top of my right and lock the fingers.

I'm going to create a little tension in the hands by pulling my elbows away from each other, okay, and the left palm is facing the ground, the right palm is facing up and the fingers are interlocked. This is a bear grip, okay, and I'm going to take a nice deep inhale, I'm going to take a complete exhale, all the way out, all the way out, all the way out, empty, empty, empty. Push the belly, push the hands into the belly, suck the belly in on empty, and then inhale. Okay, so this is how we're going to do it, it's going to look like this. Pull in, keeping the root lock engaged, let's continue.

Suck that belly in, let's do three more. One more, one more, one more, one more. Last time. And release. Palms face up on the knees and just sit for a moment, regain connection to the breath, exhaling through the nose, exhaling through the nose, that helps us reset our naval point energy, helps with our elimination, our digestion, our uponic energy in general, and when it comes to being adaptable, there's a nature within us that has to be allowing and allow for things to leave our lives, right, not only does uponic energy allow for release on the physical level, but on an energetic level, mental and emotional level, it allows us to be more allowing and releasing in that concept and aspect as well.

So when we tap into that energy by way of that last set that we did, part of the set that we did, we really start to tap into that uponic energy and that allowing and releasing energy. Let's roll over onto our shins sitting in rock pose, please. Sitting on the heels, if you are tight in the knees or in the tops of the thighs, you can always take a pillow or bolster, put it between the heels and the hips to take some of the pressure off the knees. We're going to employ Sat Kriya, this is a practice that draws energy from the lower section or lower energy channels and draws it up through the highest chakra, the crown chakra. Okay, we're going to employ a mudra with the arms overhead.

And I'm going to chant the mantra Sat, and as I chant Sat, I engage my root lock and squeeze my bathroom muscles, draw my navel up and in. As I chant Nam, I release everything, okay? So it looks kind of like a pulsing and an engagement, an upward pulling and a releasing and allowing. Let's begin. Eyes are drawn up to third eye center, shoulders down away from the ears, long neck, here we go, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam.

I want you to keep doing this and envision as you pulse that energy upward, it rising up the spine, the mudra is holding that energy, directing it up and above through the crown of the head, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, you're projecting the sound, truth is my name, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat in it. Sat, Nam, Sat, Nam. Feel all the sensations, good, bad, and indifferent. Allow yourself to just stay in it. Sat, Nam, Sat, Nam, Sat, Nam, Sat, Nam, Sat, Nam, Sat, Nam, Sat, Nam, Nam, Sat, Nam, Sat, Nam, Sat, Nam, Sat, Nam, Sat, Nam. Inhale. Suspend the breath, root lock, third eye, reach those arms up, engage the whole body as if you're tower emitting a signal. Just reach, engage, and direct that energy. Keep the posture. Exhale. Again. Reach, direct, engage. And exhale. Hands come down around the energy field. Hands on the thigh and just take a moment to observe yourself internally. Gain awareness of the energy, the breath, acknowledging how in connection you are with that witness. Gently blink the eyes open. All right. Let's extend the legs out. I'm going to do a nice powerful naval clearing exercise. I'm going to take my hands with my fingertips turned away from my hips. I'm going to draw my naval in. I'm going to lift up through my bathroom muscles, and I'm going to lift my legs up to the sky. Okay? If this is a little challenging at the hip flexor area, feel free to bend the knees. That's okay. I'm going to draw my eyes up to third eye center, lift through the chest, shoulders draw back in a way, and I'm going to begin a breath of fire. Here we go. Again, go at a pace that works for you. My pace may be a little bit too rapid for you. You may want to just take it slower and more methodical. Pumping that belly. Legs and inner thighs are engaged. Stay in it. Let it get a little uncomfortable. Push those boundaries just a little. Inhale. Suspend. Engage root lock, third eye.

And exhale, release. Please come into cross-leg position. I think you guys are going to enjoy this next part. Before I was a yoga teacher, I was a martial arts instructor. I find a lot of symbiosis between yoga and martial arts, especially kundalini yoga and martial arts, in relation to one connection to naval energy. They call that the dantian, the naval energy, the source of our ability to act and move. When it comes to adaptability, so much of it lives here. We're going to employ another kumbaka. This one's going to be an antarakumbaka, which is on the inhale. We're going to take a big, deep inhale. Then we're going to, on the inhale, throw as many punches as we can from the chest and then exhale and release. I don't want you to hold it until you're blue in the face and anxious. I want you to apply reasonable amount of discernment when it comes to, okay, I've held it long enough, I'm going to release and continue. The fingers are going to be closed over the thumbs on these punches. As a former martial arts teacher, I find it necessary to first instruct you on the proper execution of a punch. We're not knocking on doors. We're not throwing the fist forward. We are articulating the arm outward, almost like we're corkscrewing it. The hands are in toward the armpits and then I turn my palm down to the ground and bring it right back in. So it looks like this. Corkscrew, corkscrew, corkscrew. Elbows stay in tight toward the ribs as opposed to out to the side. Okay, elbows are tight in. All right, here we go. Take a deep breath in through the nose. Big belly, now punch. Again. Eyes are at third eye. Keep going. Feel that charge. Feel that energy. Three more. Last time.

And relax. Gyan mudra. Eyes at third eye. And be relaxed and calm. You'll notice we're taking time in between each part of this Kriya today to relax, to reflect. There's purpose behind this. We're activating the sympathetic and the parasympathetic, interchanging between the two aspects of the nervous system to reeducate that ability for them to easily go from one to the other. Humans at this day and age, we're chronically stuck in the sympathetic fight or flight. The nervous system has a hard time transitioning into the parasympathetic. One of the main ways you can see this evident in oneself is if you have a hard time sitting still relaxed in reflection and meditation. If there's a constant buzzing agitation in your being, it's a good signifier that you're chronically stuck in the sympathetic. So we're reeducating the parasympathetic to just be still, be aware, and be still. Gently blink the eyes open. Hands come onto the shins. We're going to distribute all of that energy. All right. Hands on the shins. Powerful spinal flex. Flex through the spine. Eyes are up at third eye. Maybe put a little smile on your face. 30 more seconds. Spinal flex. Powerful breath. 10.

And inhale, lift through the heart. Suspend, root lock, third eye. And exhale. Palms face down on the knees. We move directly into shoulder shrugs. We're taking this energy. We're moving it up to throat, third eye, and crown. So I have those eyes up at third eye. Inhale, tense the shoulders up to the ear. Exhale. Drop them down like dead weight. Okay. Here we go. Root lock engaged, eyes third eye. This has an added benefit to release a lot of that chronic tension we hold in the upper crest of the shoulders and around the back of the neck from computers and devices. So really allow yourself to tense and release, getting those muscles to relax and reset. 10. And inhale. Suspend the shoulders up to the ears, root lock, third eye. And release. Into the chest, along through the back of the neck. Sitting at witness again. Noticing a adaptability, a flexibility, a crisp, clean awareness. When we can bring ourselves into the state on a regular basis, we can become more adaptable. We can become more allowing to change. There's an essence of our being that intimately knows the pattern of the universe. Create, organize, and destroy. And it continually repeats itself. It's only when we identify with ourselves as simply material beings, forgetting that we are also spiritual beings, that we forget about that universal truth. When we can take our material reality and allow the spiritual reality to infuse, then that law of the universe becomes intimate and real. Last part of this kriya set you're going to enjoy. This is a meditation separate from the kriya set. It's going to help us really vibrate that third eye center, center of intuition.

I'd like you to take the right hand and close off the right nostril with the right thumb. Left hand is going to be in giyan mudra. I'm going to take a deep inhale through my left nostril, rather. And then as I exhale, I chant and vibrate the sound, ong, O-N-G, ong. And I want you to allow the sinus cavity, the nasal area to vibrate. I'm going to do it a few times on the right side, a few times on the left. Long spine, eyes at third eye, O-N-G. Here we go. Ong. Ong. Ong.

Ong. Ong. Inhale. Suspend the breath, switch the hands. Right hand giyan mudra, left hand comes up, left thumb crosses left nostril. Exhale. Eyes at third eye and allow the head to vibrate like a beehive. Here we go. Ong.

Ong. Ong. Ong. Ong. Ong.

Ong. Release the hand, both hands in giyan mudra. Take a deep inhale. Suspend the breath through lock third eye and exhale. Take a few cleansing breaths in this meditative posture. Feeling a strong presence at the third eye space. Maybe noticing how that expands your perspective, your perception. Maybe you can even feel the energy around the head. And please gently come laying down onto your back. Even thighs turn out naturally. Palms face up next to the hips. I'd like you to take those shoulders and bring them down away from the ears. Chin gently tucks to the chest. Your jaw softens. Tongue relaxes in the mouth. Ears fall back. Eyes sink back. And please have a gentle awareness at the crown of your head.

Ears fall back. Ears fall back. Ears fall back. Melons ring. You You You You You You Gently wiggling your fingers and your toes Dry your knees into your chest Wrap your forearms around your shins The rock from side to side Adaptability is not just a series of actions that we take Adaptability is a matter of being Nervous system being Flexible nimble Body being able to act and relax Mind being receptive to present reality Not being necessarily governed by fear but instead being governed by openness by allowing Trusting and knowing that the universe is always giving us the tools and the messages that we need It's just a matter of remaining aware and receptive We can hone these skills with the practice of yoga Specifically in my opinion with the practice of Kundalini yoga Let's roll on to one side into fetal position While you're down there, please take a full deep cleansing breath into the nose Sigh it out One more time inhale nose Exhale sigh it out And gently using your top hand Press yourself up seated cross like position. Let's bring the hands to the heart center Thumbs gently press into the sternum with a few breaths cultivate a heart-centered awareness Feeling the energy at the heart center Let's tune out with our sacred tuning out mantra. It's a blessing. May the longtime Sun shine upon you all All love surround you the vibration of love the highest vibration surround you and the pure light within you guide your way on and then we close out with three long vibrational expressions of The mantra Satnam declaring truth is our identity. Let's take a deep breath into the nose to begin May the Long Time sunshine upon you all Surround you and The Pure light Within you Guide your way on Guide your way on Guide your way on Satnam Satnam Satnam Take a deep breath in through the nose, suspending the breath. Let's bring folded hands to third eye center, blessing that you'll be guided by intuition and have the wisdom and courage to follow it. Little bowing forward, Sat Naam, Namaste.

Thank you everybody. I'll see you next time.


Diane C
3 people like this.
Great class Kara. Two things I noticed. I had difficulty completing the pose where you lean back on the arms and lift the legs while doing breath of fire. I believe this has been my most challenging pose in Kundalini, perhaps due to my chronic low back pain, generally on right side. I also noticed quite an imbalance in the meditation with breathing through the left then right nostril. I do have a deviated septum. I noticed wonderful vibrations when holding the right nostril, and difficulty breathing with less vibrations when holding the left nostril. May I assume my right energy channel has blockages, possibly causing the right sided back pain? Very interesting observations today. Thank you so much for sharing your passion and wisdom.
Kara L
2 people like this.
Hi Diane!  Keep up the great work and continue doing what feels good and holding off on that which does not! This wonderful type of observation you are making is exactly the type of attention one is asked to pay to their state of being when practicing Kundalini Yoga.  The awarenesses you gain provides insight to where imbalances reside in your being to enable you to regain harmony.  The "Pingala" energy resides in the right nostril.  This is our masculine energy channel.  Perhaps there is an imbalance in your masculine energy that is resulting in some of the manifestations of imbalance/distress on your right side.  Ask your self if you tend to rely too heavily on your "masculine" qualities to navigate the world (logical, rational,  goal oriented, driven)  Perhaps the feminine energy "Ida" is under utilized causing an imbalance on the masculine right side.  I'm glad to explore this with you further, feel free to email me
2 people like this.
Wonderful practice! I found it essential. Thank you very very much! 
3 people like this.
I also found that pose very difficult! 
Kara L
1 person likes this.
AnaSofia Thanks for your note!  What a beautiful way to describe it "I found it essential".  Thats good that you and Diane C found it difficult.  It's often in the difficult aspects of the kriya that we can clear blocks and gain awareness around our nature of "resistance".  Lean in to the challenge with self love and balance, and ease up when it feels that it may be dis-serving. See you in next class!
Christel B
1 person likes this.
Loved your messages that we are universal beings in space and that the universe always provides the information we need if we stay aware. Also love feeling the tone of the bowls in my different chakra centers. Thanks for being on Yoga-Anytime and sharing this nourishing practice.
Kara L
Christel B Hello! thanks for your sweet message.  I'm glad the verbal and tonal offerings resonated with you - I look forward to knowing your experience with the other classes in the series! 
Carin D
A powerful & challenging practice. I don't have the strength to do the pose with the legs up straight (or bent) leaning back on arms with breath of fire. But I found modifying it with my feet supported up on my bed and still activating those muscles (shaking like a tree in a storm) I was able to participate - so I was very happy about that.  Savasana is so sweet when one has worked hard.  Working hard but in a relaxed, open & aware way: Eyes up to third eye effectively combats my tendency to scrunch up my face when I am trying really hard, and when that doesn't work adding a little smile does the trick.
I completely agree with Christel too - the image of the universe & being cosmic beings does help me tune in to a helpful reality bigger than myself and thereby become more aware of everything. What a helpful learning that if we can remain open & aware through change, we will find we have what we need to adapt.
Thanks so much Kara!
Kara L
1 person likes this.
Carin D I love your enthusiasm with these classes! Thanks for keeping me in the loop with your progress and perspective. A little smile to the practice always brings some charm :) This whole practice of Kundalini Yoga is about availing ourselves to the large expanse of reality! I'm so happy you're feeling good about it.

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