Many people know Kundalini Yoga as a celebrity-friendly practice, scientifically proven to promote health, fitness and relaxation. But there is much more to Kundalini Yoga than meditation and breath work.
Innate to the practice of Kundalini Yoga is a dedication to selfless service called “seva.” Seva is simply defined as acts of compassion and care for others. These can be random acts or organized ones, small acts or large. From a smile to a stranger, to opening a soup kitchen.
Members of 3HO, a global community dedicated to sharing the teachings of Kundalini Yoga, recently announced that in 2021 its practitioners participated in 25 dedicated programs spanning more than 12 countries.
Seva projects ranged from leading meditation workshops at Fundación Alcorcón University Hospital in Spain; to teaching yoga to prisoners at the La Rioja Women’s Prison in Argentina, to distributing meals to homebound elderly in Chile, to offering creative writing workshops to at-risk youth in Washington, D.C.
In Kundalini Yoga, service is as important as any yoga position.
But practitioners also understand that they must take care of themselves in order to have the spiritual health to serve their communities.
Even these devotees of service understand the importance of self-care.
We can all learn a lesson from that.
If you find yourself overwhelmed this holiday season, be kind to yourself so that you can be kind to others.
Meditation is an easy and effective place to start. 3HO has collected dozens of meditations, to suit almost every situation. Here’s an example.
Sit upright, in a comfortable position. Curl your ring finger and little finger into your palms. Bend your thumbs over the top of them to hold them into place. Make the first two fingers straight and stiff. Move your hands to shoulder level with the palms facing forward and the first two fingers pointing up. Your elbows will be tucked at your sides. Don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Press your shoulders and elbows back firmly but comfortably. Your palms should face forward.
Close your eyes. Let your eyes roll up gently and concentrate on the top of your nose between your eyebrows.
Create a steady, slow, deep, and complete breath.
Silently repeat the following mantra in your head: Saa taa naa maa
Try to practice this for three minutes and increase to 11 minutes as you get the hang of it.
When you are finished, inhale and exhale deeply three times. Relax your hands into your lap.
Sit for a while and enjoy. You’re okay.