Flexibility and the Spine is a popular energizing Kundalini Yoga set that can be enjoyed by practitioners of all levels. The practice includes both forward and back bends. The set also includes Sat Kriya (completed action) which balances the navel, strengthens the nerves and elevates your energy. The practice concludes with a 3 minute calming and cooling pranayam (breath exercise) for stress reduction as well as 3 minutes of chanting "GURU GURU WAHE GURU GURU RAM DAS GURU" with a group.
Set on a beautiful lake on a natural rock ledge, this video invites you to leave your world behind and take yourself to a place of physical and mental elevation and relaxation.
Donna (Amrita) has been teaching Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan since 1985. She produced the video Strength and Serenity in 1990 and The Challenge in 1996. The Awakening was released in 2004. Since 1997 she has taught yoga in a retreat setting in Northern Maine and New York City.
In this video, Donna Davidge Amrita offers a Kundalini yoga practice that she calls as the Flexibility and the Spine set. During her brief introduction, she describes Kundalini energy as being like a serpent moving up the spine, and recommends performing this type of yoga with your eyes closed. Throughout the routine, Amrita is shown practicing alone on a rocky outcrop alongside a picturesque lakeside setting. She starts the practice by tuning in with the classic chant of “ong namo guru dev namo.” She then leads the viewer through approximately 13 minutes of traditional Kundalini warm-up moves such as neck rolls, stomach grinds, spinal rolls, spinal twists, a sun salutation, and finally, sustained practice of Breath of Fire while holding several different postures. (Note: Amrita does not provide detailed instruction on how to perform Breath of Fire.)From here Amrita moves into the Flexibility and the Spine set. For these movements, she utilizes long deep breathing (Breath of Fire is not used again during this practice). She begins standing for a bow and arrow warrior, then moves to the floor for a leg hold in a lying position and locus and bow poses. Coming back to standing, Amrita begins a series of several dynamic movements: windmill down side-to-side, upward reach to forward bend, and side bend side-to-side. This is followed by several dynamic series on the floor. First, Amrita performs side-to-side reaches in a wide angle seated forward bend; then, she does a full seated forward bend moving back-and-forth. The next challenging series begins in plow pose, moves to shoulderstand, comes back to wide plow, and then rolls between plow and full seated forward bend.At this point, Amrita pauses for a brief relaxation followed by a seated sat kriya in which she chants “sat nam”; she then bows forward for a short “sa ta na ma” meditation. Amrita continues to remain seated for a pumping the air exercise with the arms. Next, she returns to standing for crow squats, and then (without cuing the transition) moves back down to hands and knees for cat/cow. To conclude the set, there is another brief relaxation and, in a standing position, a cycle of left nostril breathing. With about seven minutes left, the scene shifts to an indoor studio, where live guitar music is played by Amrita’s husband, Kent Bonham, while a group class follows along with the chant “guru guru wahe guru ram das guru” for approximately two minutes. As the music fades, the video returns to the lakeside setting, where Amrita concludes with a short final relaxation. She comes out of this relaxation with a few mobility movements, ending in a seated position with a final “sat nam.”Overall, Flexibility and the Spine is a nice traditional Kundalini yoga practice. Because of it includes some challenging sequences, however (for example, the rolling between plow and seated forward bend), I would suggest this practice for experienced yoga students only. I would also caution anyone with back, neck, or shoulder injuries to take particular care. This routine might be appropriate for those new to Kundalini yoga provided that 1) as mentioned above, they are already are experienced with yoga asana, and 2) they already know how to perform the Breath of Fire, which is not taught here.