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How to Relieve Stress with Kundalini Yoga Kriyas

Joanne Moules
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What is a Kriya?

 
In Kundalini yoga, a kriya is a set of postures, movements or breath patterns which, when all performed as a sequence, lead mind and body to a specific desired outcome (whether that’s stress-relief, physical health and wellbeing, etc.).
 
Psst! Want to learn more about Kundalini yoga? You may want to read this:An Introduction to Kundalini Yoga
 
The following kriya will eliminate any stress in the body and lead to a deep relaxation. There are kriyas for all kinds of outcomes: to balance hormones, detoxify the body, balance glandular systems, and more . . . the list is endless.
 
Each standalone movement within the kriya will change how you feel, but by practicing the full set (kriya), you will physically change your entire body.
 

Each standalone movement within the kriya will change how you feel, but by practicing the full set (kriya), you will physically change your entire body.

 
As yogis, we are all aware of the importance of stress relief and overall self-care. Yet, if you’re anything like me, you have the tendency to put everyone else first, fall into bed at the end of the day, and realize that you have done barely anything for yourself.
 
You are not alone – we all fall victim to the demands of the outside world. Yet taking care of ourselves and keeping stress at a bare minimum is key for a healthy, happy lifestyle. Let’s face it – if you’re depleted, you have less to offer to the world. Fill yourself up first, and you’ll have so much more to offer.
 
This Kundalini kriya is specifically designed for self-care with an emphasis on relieving stress. I invite you to carve out some time for yourself, and do this kriya as a symbol of your dedication to taking care of y.o.u.!
 

Let’s get started with this Kundalini Kriya for Stress-Relief!

 
Step 1:
To begin, tune in by chanting Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo 3 times. Translated, this chant means, “bowing to divine wisdom, and bowing to the divine teacher within.” This chant connects us to teachers who have gone before us (the golden chain) and awakens our inner teacher and wisdom. It sets us up to focus in on ourselves and devote this time to our inner wellbeing.
 
Step 2:
Begin standing and wrap your arms around yourself so you are hugging your lower ribs as tight as you can. Begin extending alternate legs forward, and as you build momentum, make each extension a little jump. This lifts the heart rate, shakes out any tension in the legs, ankles and feet, and loosens up the hips.
 
Do this for 3-5 minutes.
Kundalini_step2
 
Step 3:
This exercise is the same as step 2, but now we add a forward bend to touch the toes after each leg kick (kick/kick/bend) and lift back up to continue. Keep the legs as straight as possible to stretch out the hamstrings. This is also beneficial for balancing the upper and lower chakras, as well as the central meridian line.
 
Do this for 2 minutes.
Kundalini_step3
 
Step 4:
Come into kneeling on your heels in rock pose. Clasp the hands together and rest them on the top of your head. Keeping the spine upright, begin to draw circles with the torso. This releases toxins from our cells (which is important because cell toxins often constrict blood flow).
 
Do this for 1 minute.
Kundalini_step4
 
Step 5:
Still kneeling, place your palms on the cheeks with the Venus Mound of the thumb pushing up under the cheekbones. Apply enough pressure to distort the face and make speaking difficult. Purse the lips and ‘drink’ your inhale in (as though slurping a long drink). Exhale powerfully through the nose.
 
Continue this for 2 minutes.
Kundalini_step5
 
Step 6:
Sit in a comfortable easy pose (cross legged) and continue the same breathing pattern from step 5. Bringing your hands to the knees, allow your torso to bend towards one side, then come back through center and bend towards the other side. Inhale one side – exhale the other. Try to bend as deeply as possible.
 
Do this for 2 minutes.
Kundalini_step6
 
Step 7:
Relax lying on your back, arms at your side with palms facing up. Relax and drift off to sleep for as much as an hour. If you don’t have the time for this, then 11 minutes will also have the desired effect. Listen to any music that calms and relaxes you. I recommend listening to music by Singh Kaur.
 
Stay here for 11-60 minutes.
Kundalini_step7
The kriyas above and below are ‘stand alone’ kriyas, so they can be done together or separately.
 

The following self-care breathing kriya compliments the above set perfectly, and helps to reduce stress quickly and effectively:

 
Self-Care Breathing Kriya

  • Sit comfortably in a meditation pose (either in a chair with feet flat on the floor, or crossed legged on the floor). Ensure your spine is straight and the crown of your head is reaching skyward.
  • Open the mouth and form a small circle – slightly bigger than if you were about to whistle.
  • Place left hand over your heart center, then right hand on top of left.
  • Close your eyes and breathe a steady, powerful inhale and exhale through the mouth (this is known as Cannon Breath), while focusing your awareness on the area under your palms.
  • Continue for 5 minutes.

Kundalini_step8_selfBreath

  • To end, inhale and suspend the breath.
  • Relax the mouth and mentally repeat ”I am beautiful, I am innocent, I am innocent, I am beautiful.”
  • Exhale through the nose.
  • Repeat this breath suspension and mantra 5 times.

Self-care is so vitally important to all of us. Think about how you could achieve a higher level of self-care in your daily routine to reduce your stress. Remember – the most important person in your life is YOU. If you aren’t ok, then how can you be ok for your friends, family, work and all the other wonderfulness in your life?!
 

Using the angles and triangles of the Asanas, fuelled by the Prana of the breath, re-tuned by the repetition of Mantra, and concentrated by eye-focus and body locks, you are physically different by the end of Kriya.

 
The 3HO Foundation, an organization dedicated to spreading the teachings of Kundalini Yoga, said it perfectly:
 

 
Using the angles and triangles of the Asanas, fuelled by the Prana of the breath, re-tuned by the repetition of Mantra, and concentrated by eye-focus and body locks, you are physically different by the end of Kriya.
 
Give yourself the opportunity to experience the kriyas here and enjoy them.
 
We’d love to know what you think of these kriyas and how they worked for you. Please comment below with how you are feeling and also any other great stress relief and self-care tips for us all to support and encourage each other.
 
Self care, Sisters!!!
 
Sat Nam.
 
Photography by craigpakesphotography.co.uk
 

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Joanne Moules

Inspired by her love of life and community, Jo specializes in teaching yoga to children with special needs and teens under 18. Also an online business coach, she mentors and supports other like-minded goddesses to achieve their goals. She will gladly admit that she is a Kundalini yoga chick but also enjoys and teaches a 'fusion' of different traditions - it's all yoga! When not teaching, coaching or writing, you'll find Jo at home in rural Lincolnshire, UK with her son playing at amateur dramatics and eating Indian food.

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