Kundalini yoga benefits|yogi surprise

3 Mind Blowing Kundalini Yoga Benefits: Scratching the Surface of this Miraculous Practice

I was a skeptic. I'd heard all about how magical and transformative Kundalini yoga is, but somehow never felt compelled to give it a go.

Since I'm a writer and believe in writing from experience, I decided to finally take a Kundalini class.

It knocked me sideways and shocked my system. I have never left a yoga class or any other experience with such a lightness and giddy sense I'd stumbled into something that would irrevocably change my whole perspective on how I cope with and experience life.

Kundalini yoga really is that deep

And now I get why people often have trouble explaining Kundalini yoga. How do you find the words to label something that touches you on levels you've never quite located before? I'm very new at this, so perhaps the effects don't land quite so intensely after a while. Although, talking to others after class leads me to believe I'm not alone in my excitement. They too are thrilled they've found this practice and want to share it with as many other people as they can compel to try it.

Kundalini yoga basics

First, a brief primer about Kundalini, or 'The Yoga of Awareness'. There are no strict dogmas or philosophies. The goal of the Kundalini yoga practice is to help each individual reach their higher self and to connect on a deeper level. There's lots of room for interpretation and creativity in the delivery of a Kundalini yoga class. There are mantras, chanting, mudras, kriyas (Sanskrit for 'effort' or 'action' kriyas are a meditation technique of energy and breath control), asanas, and meditations to uplift us and encourage self-awareness and a stronger sense of connection to self and the world around us.

Kundalini yoga was brought to the U.S. by Yogi Bhajan in the late 60's. A basic Kundalini yoga class is typically structured by beginning with chanting, breath work, and gentle movement. The middle phase is more dynamic asana and breathing techniques. The last portion of the class is meditation and rest.

Sounds pretty fab, does it not? Attending a Kundalini yoga practice with others heightens the experience, as any class does. But chanting, mantras, mudras, and involved kriyas that aim to harmonize our energy systems have a powerful accumulative effect that's very different from other asana practices. Incorporating Kundalini into your home practice might be the very best way to get yourself to practice even more.

Kundalini is a Sanskrit word that translates into 'coiled snake'. The idea is to wake up dormant energy sources within and get them talking to one another and working together.

Kundalini yoga coiled snake|yogi surprise

There are numerous reasons Kundalini yoga is growing in popularity

Let's focus on just a few of the emotional benefits of this practice. Yes, we all want our central nervous system to function well. Of course, we care deeply about digestion and that everything works well there. This practice is credited with so much good and looking at all the ways it can benefit our health is both amazing and overwhelming.

We've come to grips with the fact that our emotional health is suffering. We know we need more effective ways for feeling as balanced and grateful as we possibly can find. Kundalini is focused on enlightenment and the obtainment of spiritual awakening. Here are just a few ways that plays into your happiness and contentment:

  • Calming energy goes hand in hand with a deeper understanding of ourselves. When we take on our truths and treat them with love and respect versus judgment and criticism, we can relax into who we truly are and connect with our dharma.
  • Effort pays off. When we try something new, we let go of old stories and they diminish in power. But this requires new ideas, practices, and an open mind. Removing obstacles creates new roads and clearer paths towards understanding and wisdom. Kundalini yoga is a very different type of yoga practice. Willingness to make room for a practice that encourages more emotional and spiritual work will bring you different gifts than those you receive from a more rigorous practice, such as Vinyasa yoga.
  • Meditation works. I promise. It works for everyone and you can move and chant while you meditate. It doesn't have to look one way. Many yoga practices don't prioritize meditation and the other practices that connect us to our more subtle bodies the way Kundalini yoga does.

The innumerable new experiences awaiting us beckons. You have everything to gain. Scratch the surface with us and share what you learn!


5 Interesting Facts You Didn't Know About Your Heart Chakra

The heart chakra is the fourth chakra in the chakra system, which represents the center of love, compassion, joy, and warmth. That might seem obvious, but the heart chakra goes far beyond just that.

Check out these five interesting facts that will help introduce you to the power of the heart chakra.


1. Your heart chakra is not located in your heart, but rather in the middle of your chest.

It’s easy to assume that the heart chakra is in the same place as the heart (the left side of your chest), but it’s actually located in the center of the chest, right beside the heart. The heart chakra is also the middle chakra where the three lower chakras of the solar plexus, the sacral, and the root meet the three higher chakras of the throat, third eye, and crown.


2. The heart chakra is associated with the color green.

Modern depictions of hearts are typically associated with the colors red and pink, but when it comes to the heart chakra, it resonates with the color green. This is because all the chakras are energy centers that vibrate at specific levels, which results in specific colors (and also musical notes—that of which is the note of F for the heart chakra).


3. The heart chakra’s Sanskrit word Anahata means “unstruck,” “unhurt,” and “unbeaten.”

The heart chakra governs your expression of unconditional love toward yourself and toward others. It’s also your source of compassion, helping you to cultivate love even through some of life’s most tragic events. No matter how you might have suffered in the past or what you might be going through right now, you can count on your heart chakra to radiate unconditional love through it all.


4. The heart chakra is not so much about romantic love as it is about unconditional love.

Many people conjure up images of fairy tales and Hollywood movies when they think of love, but this is not the type of unconditional love that the heart chakra governs. The romantic attraction that typically takes place during the beginning stages of relationships are often largely fueled by egoic desire, which may or may not transform into selfless, unconditional love via the heart chakra once the infatuation wears off.


5. Your heart chakra is your center for healing.

While all of the seven chakras in the chakra system are important in their own unique ways, the heart chakra plays an especially important role in healing since love is universally recognized as the highest force of healing across various religions and spiritual practices. The unconditional love of the heart chakra helps us become aware that we are all connected and expanding together with the universe in a way that inspires a sense of wholeness, harmony, and peace.


A balanced heart chakra will affect and enhance every part of your life—from the way you feel about yourself, to the relationships you have with others. Here are some things you can do to unblock and open your heart chakra if you suspect you might have an under active one.

3 Simple Ways to Unblock and Open Your Heart Chakra

3 Simple Ways to Unblock and Open Your Heart Chakra

With the start of a new year and Valentine’s Day well on its way, it’s natural to feel a strong desire to seek out connections with other people now perhaps more than ever—even if the task seems daunting and you fear the potential risks of vulnerability, awkwardness, disappointment, and even rejection that come with getting close to someone (and letting them get close to you too).

The heart chakra is the energy center that governs your sense of love, compassion, and beauty. Signs of a blocked heart chakra include relationships that feel draining, shyness, loneliness, difficulty forgiving, and difficulty empathizing with others.

By learning to heal and open your heart chakra, you’ll slowly begin to radiate more love, compassion, and beauty from the inside out—in addition to attracting these energetic qualities back to you from the people you surround yourself with.

Here are some things you can do to start clearing those blockages and opening your heart chakra, just in time for the eventual arrival of spring!


1. Accept your emotions, express them, and them let go.

At the root of a blocked heart chakra is emotional repression, so if you want to learn to love freely and openly, you have to get in touch with your emotions—including the ones you don’t want to feel. Once you’ve accepted that you’re feeling a certain way, try exploring and expressing them in some of the following ways:

  • Journaling or writing a letter to yourself
  • Meditating
  • Talking out loud to yourself (and you can even cry, scream, or punch a pillow if you need to)
  • Drawing, painting, or doodling
  • Listening to music
  • Creating art

It may take many bouts of emotional expression to fully get everything out, but beware of clinging to your emotions and getting stuck in a never-ending cycle of emotional turmoil rather than choosing to let them go. If the way you’re feeling and expressing yourself starts to feel more like a bad habit than a natural healing process, it’s time to consciously choose to put your emotions behind you so you can move forward.


2. Show your love to yourself, another person, animal, or Mother Nature in one small way every single day.

Small daily actions account for big changes over time. If you can strive to take just one small action every day that’s an expression of love, it can become a habit that has the power to completely transform your heart energy center for the better.

Here are a few suggested small daily actions you could take:

  • Hug your partner/spouse or tell them something you love about them
  • Call your mom or other relative
  • Check in with an old friend over Facebook or text message to see how they’re doing (and maybe ask to meet and catch up)
  • Play with your dog or take him/her for a nice long walk
  • Put a bird feeder out in a safe area of your yard
  • Pick up one piece of trash in any public place and bring it to the trash or recycle bin


3. Practice chest opening yoga poses.

When it comes to healing and opening your heart chakra, don’t forget to integrate it with your yoga practice! Since the heart chakra is located in the center of the chest, chest opening poses are ideal for opening and strengthening this energy center.

Poses you’ll want to incorporate into your practice include:

  • Sphinx pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)
  • Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)
  • Upward facing dog pose (Urdhva mukha svanasana)
  • Cow pose (Bitilasana)
  • Fish pose (Matsyasana)
  • Locust pose (Salabhasana)
  • Bow pose (Dhanurasana)
  • Camel pose (Ustrasana)
  • Upward bow pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana)

Crown Chakra

Crown Chakra - Unlock Your Inner Wisdom

“Within each of us is a light, awake, encoded in the fibers of our existence. Divine ecstasy is the totality of this marvelous creation experienced in the hearts of humanity.” ~Tony Samara


Since many yogis will undoubtedly feel the need to get back on track with contemplating, exploring, and fulfilling their life purpose as they continue on growing and improving themselves, the crown chakra is our focus for January. This chakra’s physical location is at the top of the head (the crown), connecting you with the Divine.

The crown chakra is connected to all the other chakras, so ensuring that these other energy centers are also balanced is essential to a well-balanced crown chakra. Energy is drawn up from the other chakras through the crown chakra, bringing you closer to higher levels of spiritual awareness and enlightenment.


The Importance of a Balanced Crown Chakra

When your crown chakra is open and balanced, you’ll experience connectedness to something greater than yourself and more joy in what you choose to do with your life. Instead of moving through life based on what you’ve been taught by others, what’s expected of you, or what will only serve you and you alone, you’ll be guided by your spirit to go beyond the constraints of your ego so you can serve your true purpose.

A balanced crown chakra is key to unlocking your inner wisdom in ways that drive you to pursue your purpose not for individual materialism, but for the greater good of everyone and everything that is connected to you. You’ll know that this chakra is balanced and opening when you feel a heightened sense of faith in the higher powers of the Universe and a humble sense of self-confidence in many aspects of your life.


Signs of an Unbalanced Crown Chakra

Crown chakra imbalances can reveal themselves in many different ways, but they all stem from one area of the body—the head. These are some of the most common signs of an unbalanced crown chakra:

  • Excessive thinking
  • Trouble analyzing thoughts
  • Brain fog
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Feelings of disconnection
  • Sleep problems and/or chronic fatigue
  • Headaches and migraine


Remedies to Help Balance Your Crown Chakra

Balancing your crown chakra is as simple as focusing on nurturing the spiritual aspects of your life. It involves removing yourself from activities and experiences that distract you and feed your ego.

Here are a few crown chakra-balancing things to focus on:

  • Silence
  • Relaxation
  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation or prayer
  • Light therapy
  • Music or sound recordings with deep, tonal sounds
  • Activities that you’re passionate about
  • Stones such as amethyst, selenite, clear quartz, and diamond
  • Essential oils such as lavender, rose, jasmine, frankincense, myrrh, and sandalwood


Yogi Surprise members are receiving a very special gift in their Lifestyle boxes this January to help them balance their crown chakras. Gemstone Organic's Mini Crown Chakra Bath Kit can be used in a ceremonial bath to help you calm your mind and body, call up a sense of gratitude, and expand your intuitive knowledge as you look toward 2018 with limitless hope and love.

Happy New Year, yogis!

3 Simple Ways to Open Your Crown Chakra

3 Simple Ways to Open Your Crown Chakra

The Crown Chakra is our source of spiritual connection. It connects us to something greater than ourselves, and in turn deepens our connection with our true self—a self that stems from beyond the ego.

When the Crown Chakra is unblocked, balanced, and strengthened, we open ourselves up to trust in the Universe. This is they key to finding inspiration and meaningful happiness in our lives, maintaining a positive outlook, and living out our purpose.

You don’t need to be a spiritual master or energy healer to balance your Crown Chakra. In fact, any of the following strategies will do—all of which are simple and versatile enough for any yogi to tackle!


Practice Crown-Activating Yoga Poses

The time that you spend on your mat is a perfect opportunity to work with opening your Crown Chakra. This Chakra is located at the crown of the head and is associated with the upper part of the brain/the element of thought, so poses that activate this area are especially helpful.

Half lotus pose (ardha padmasana) is a passive pose that is ideal for meditation, so you might consider starting or finishing your practice with this one. If you want a more advanced pose to try, supported headstand (salamba sirasana) would be a good one to integrate into your practice for grounding the crown to the earth and increasing blood flow toward the brain that comes from inverting the body.


Use Affirmations

Affirmations have the power to rewire our brains by consciously choosing to think what we want to think about ourselves and about our lives. If you want to balance and strengthen your Crown Chakra so that you can open up to receive more Divine energy and achieve higher states of consciousness, you can use specific affirmations.

Here are a few good examples of affirmations that attune to the Crown Chakra:

"I accept and love myself as I am."

"I am here to learn and grow."

"I am open to receiving Divine energy and knowledge."

"I am one with the Universe."

"I am pure light and love."

"I trust my intuition fully."

"I am grateful for all that I have."


Indulge in Your Favorite Sources of Inspiration

What inspires you? Whatever it may be, you should keep those things close to you. That wide open feeling of awe, wonder, and joy that extends beyond yourself is a sign of your Crown Chakra opening, letting you go beyond your ego and experience mystical oneness.

Here are a few ways you can get inspired:

  • Spend time in nature
  • Listen to music
  • Play with children or pets
  • Go to see an artistic performance
  • View works of art
  • Meet up with new or old friends to chat and laugh
  • Learn something new by taking a class, reading a book, watching a tutorial, etc.

Any yogi could do all three of these things nearly every day with a little conscious effort—even on a busy schedule. To start the New Year off right and get intentional about how you want 2018 to turn out, it’s certainly worth it!