In the second story studio of Reflections Yoga, Sarah Bernier told us to make our movements beautiful. Yoga was art, our bodies capable of any intention. In a series of leg lifts from all fours, we felt, well, not our most graceful selves. But with Greatist pals Perry, Alex, Katie, Anna, and Laura by our side (in what was our first ever open Gractivity!), we vigorously swept our legs up and back in rapid-fire succession. Below us, the buses and taxis screeched down 49th street; our breath intensified. Our bodies detoxified.
In Kundalini yoga,sequences (also known as kriyas) consist of rapid, repetitive movements intended to awaken the mind, body, and spiritual strength. So by that 25th frog pose— springing from a low amphibious crouch to a long, lean pike— a certain awareness can’t help but sneak into our overcrowded, overstressed, and overstuffed minds. Plus, with a few other minute-long sequences like leg raises, we strengthened our core— and apparently our resolve, too.
Brought to the U.S. in the 1960s,Kundalini yoga creates spiritual awareness (or for the spiritually disinclined, relaxation) faster and more powerfully than other forms of yoga, Sarah explained. Oh, and at its highest form, the practice is said to bring divine bliss. No big deal or anything. By the relaxation portion of the class, our bodies melted into the yoga mats, and a funny feeling came over us: calm.
Sure, with its emphasis on breathing, meditation, and chanting, Kundalini yoga might be a little weird (Sarah’s words— not ours!). But isn’t normal overrated? At Greatist, it turns out we prefer our relaxation with that extra little somethin’ somethin’.