How to be a Kundalini Yoga Babe

Sure we look to the ancient yoga masters to help us unlock the secrets of our bodies and lives, but consider that there may be some modern masters, just as wise, who are more accessible then you think. In fact, you may be playing host to one right now in your very own household!

Babies! They are veritable yogic sages! We spend the first part of our lives "Open to the Universe," and then the rest of our lives trying to get back to that pure state. If you have access to one (a baby), pull out your yoga notebook and mat and get ready to learn.

1. Core Connection. The first and most obvious lesson we can take from babies is the way in which they are so connected to their cores. Okay, so they are short and their extremities are inches away from their cores so they make this connection seem easy, but we can emulate that "hooked in," feeling and sense of connection by creating the habit of always pulling the navel in strongly and using it as the power behind any exercise. Observe how a baby naturally does Kundalini Lotus, raising its toes in the air and joyfully playing with them. It's a baby's natural core connection which makes it seem so weightless. You can get it back! the next time you find yourself in Kundalini Lotus, holding on for dear life, try sucking in your navel and visualizing a baby's lightness in that pose, and "Fake it 'til you make it!"

2.Curiousity. It's said that babies develop their forward bending in the womb. They develop their backbends outside the womb as they push up off of their hands (cobra pose) in an effort to see what's going on around them. Where mommy or daddy or family is. We can use this "curiosity technique" to very good advantage too! Next time you take a twist, or do cobra pose, let your eyes lead the movement. Really look to see what's there, and what's a little beyond that. This gazing technique, called dhristi in yoga, is a powerful tool!

3. Repetition. Isn't it amazing how babies never get tired of repeating the same game over and over. Throwing a bottle and watching you return it, throwing a bottle, watching you return it, throwing a bottle... They are meanwhile developing hand eye coordination and at the same time developing arm/core strength (and learning a little about you and your endurance!). On top of this they do every repetition with absolute delight! On and on. One more forever as we say in our classes and DVDs. They are so, "in the moment." Ever hear yogis speak of beginners mind? Try to feel this same delight and sense of the "first time everytime," in each repetition, next time you do one of those never ending exercises in your KY practice! Thats how you get the real benefits in KY, by "Keeping Up" for the duration!

4. No Place Else But Here. Notice how babies have such an easy time focusing on one thing? The ball. The cat. Daddy. You throwing the bottle... When they become enthralled with something it becomes their whole world and they become one with that thing. Total immersion. Then when the next thing beckons they become one with that. This connection with their surrounding universe and those in it develops a feeling of connectedness. When we maintain a similar fierce focus, it helps us to be where we are and who we are and be successful in life!

5. Never Say Die! Babies never get discouraged. When they see someone walking or running they never say, "Oh forget it. I'll never be able to do something like that," and give up! No! Even though they may fall and fall again a hundred times, still, they never ever even consider defeat! Everything is possible, and so it is! Be an open minded KY Babe and consider that everything is possible in your practice (keep up!) and in life for you too! That old adage, "If at first you don't succeed, try and try again," goes way back, in this case literally!

6. Be Open to the New! Have you ever seen a baby turn up its nose at any new activity? Toss it a shoe and it will explore that shoe's potential by banging it, tossing it (maybe you'll return it?), tasting it... Initiate the first game of peekaboo and a baby is beyond delighted! They are creating new neural pathways, new connections in their brains and forging a deeper connection to their world. They are also learning things that will feed their creative and intuitive processes later on in life. When we stay open to trying new things life is never dull!

7. Stress Release. Sure babies have upsets like everyone else, but they don't hold onto that tension, most likely because their diaphragms are so elastic and they are still "breathing like the babies they are (Long Deep Breathing, of course!). See the Breath Primer on any of our DVDs to learn to breathe like a KY babe!

8. Little Einsteins. Babies are natural physicists, masters of balance and opposition. Watch how they stack their own bodies to sit. Ribs over hips and crown of the head right over the ribs. Just like stacking blocks. Focus on stacking your building blocks during your next practice session and feel balanced as a baby, your body the perfect Tinker Toy.

9. Using Only the Muscles Required. Watch a baby do yoga, and they do! They will do cobra pose as they are learning to get up from the floor. Cat / cow once they've come onto their knees, trying to figure out this whole crawling gig, and forward bending and down dog as they are learning to stand on two feet. Notice their complete lack of tension, how their joints stay soft. They are using balance and opposition and gravity and not just muscle tension, and never ever are they moving from their joints! Instead, energy moves through those relaxed junctures. Be a conduit for energy by using only the muscles necessary. Cultivate straight lines and length!

10. Nap Time. Babies play hard but nap time is an equal opportunity pursuit. Just like when we do Sat Kriya we take the same amount of time to lie on our backs. Also, when we do a meditation, we always take a minute of silence at the end before jumping up and resuming/beginning our day. Play time is when babies live and nap time is when babies grow!

11. Sa-Ta-Ma-Ma. Babies quickly find that they can move the Universe with sound and make things happen. Every one of a baby's utterances is a mantra. From Ma to La to Waaaahh! May our use of mantras in our KY practice become as powerful as a baby's!