KRIYA — CONDITIONING SERIES

(The Art, Science & Application of Kundalini Yoga, Nirvair Singh Khalsa, pp. 203-209)

  1. Basic Spine Flex. Place the hands on the shins right above the ankles. Grasp the shins firmly and now inhale through the nose and lift the chest high and tilt the pelvis forward. Now exhale through the nose and gently tilt the pelvis the opposite way. Inhale up and exhale back. Continue. Remember to keep the chest high and keep the chin level to the ground in both positions (3 minutes).

(Strengthens and stretches the lower back. It changes brain wave patterns after 3 minutes to make you calm.)

  1. Front Stretch Left. Stretch your left leg out in front of you straight; right foot against the inner thigh of the left leg. With both hands, stretch forward and then down over the left leg. Hold on to your thigh, knee, shin, ankle or foot (whatever you can reach) with both hands. Keep the chin at a right angle to the chest. Stretch forward and then down, until you feel gently challenged by the stretch. No bouncing. We like to do static stretching in Kundalini Yoga. Long, slow deep, breathing (2 minutes).

(Stretches the life nerve (sciatic nerve). Also good for the lower back, stretching the hamstrings and relaxing the quads.) 

  1. Front Stretch Right. Stretch your right leg out in front of you straight, left foot against the inner thigh of the right leg. With both hands, stretch forward and then down over the left leg. Hold on to your thigh, knee, shin, ankle or foot (whatever you can reach) with both hands. Keep the chin at a right angle to the chest. Stretch forward and then down until you feel gently challenged by the stretch. Long, slow, deep breathing (2 minutes).

  1. Side Stretch Left. Stretch your left leg out in front of you straight; right foot against the inner thigh of the left leg. Take your left hand and catch the thigh, shin, ankle or foot of the left leg. Take the right arm and place it behind the back. Tilt the pelvis forward so that it lifts the chest up high. The chin will be turned toward the right shoulder, don’t let the head flop over so that the left ear is near the left shoulder. Stretch sideways over the left leg a little ways. You will feel the stretch in the left hamstring as well as the right hip. Hold it steady. Long, slow, deep breathing (90 seconds).

(Life nerve (sciatic) energizer. Opens rib cage and clears lymphatic system. Good for the lower back.)

  1. Side Stretch Right. Stretch your right leg out in front of you straight, left foot against the inner thigh of the right leg. Take your right hand and catch the thigh, shin, ankle or foot of the right leg. Take the left arm and place it behind the back. Tilt the pelvis forward so that it lifts the chest up high. The chin will be turned toward the right shoulder, don’t let the head flop over so that the left ear is near the right shoulder. Stretch sideways over the right leg a little ways. You will fell the stretch in the right hamstring as well as the left hip. Long, slow, deep breathing (90 seconds).

  1. Half-Plow. Laying flat on your back with the arms by the sides palms down, slowly bend the knees and raise the legs up and over the body until the legs are parallel to the ground. If you feel unstable then support the back with the hands. Long, slow, deep breathing (90 seconds).

(Opens the spine and brings extra circulation into the head and higher glands. Has an anti-gravity effect on the body and is very soothing after you relax out of position. Note: For women on their menstrual cycle, it is generally recommended that all inverted positions not be practiced.) 

  1. Three Quarter Shoulder Stand. Start from the plow position. Support the back with the hands. Raise the legs up straight into shoulder stand. Keep the legs together and point the toes to the ceiling. Keep the back at a forty-five degree angle to the ground. If your position is slightly jack-knifed, it is OK. Long, slow, deep breathing (90 seconds).

(Opens up the higher glands, i.e., pituitary & pineal, and brings extra circulation into the head and higher glands. Has an anti-gravity effect on the body and is very soothing after you relax out of position. Note: For women on their menstrual cycle, it is generally recommended that all inverted positions not be practiced.) 

  1. Shoulder Stand Leg Lifts. Bring the legs back over the body into plow and inhale and lift the left leg up to the ceiling keeping the right leg back. Exhale and lower the left leg back down. Now raise the right leg. Inhale up, exhale down. Long, slow, deep breaths (2 minutes). Come out of the position by returning to plow pose and then keeping the head on the ground throughout, bring the knees close to the face and lower your self, in control, vertebra by vertebra and until you are back into laying flat on the floor.

(Has all the benefits of shoulder stand and, in addition, is very good for the hips and lower back.) 

  1. Yoga Crunch. After you are lying flat on the floor, bring your knees up. Have your feet flat against the floor. Make the hands into a basket by interlacing them and placing them behind the head. We will do a six-count movement both up and down. Lift the head off the ground and remember to just support the head with the hands. Don’t pull the head with the hands or arms. Tilt the pelvis so that the lower back is flat against the floor. We want to keep the lower back flat throughout the exercise. In this position, inhale slowly and now exhale and slowly curl up tightening the abdominal muscles…One, two, three, four, five, six. Now inhale and slowly loosen the abdominals as you go back…One, two, three, four, five, six. Keep the head up in both positions. This will help you keep the lower back flat against the floor. Continue, go slow and concentrate your breath’s energy right at your navel point. Imagine as though you are breathing in and out through the navel. This will help you concentrate on this area of the body (2 minutes).

(Energizes the navel center, strengthens the abdominal muscles while being easy on the lower back.) 

  1. Stretch Pose. Lie flat on the back. Keep the feet together. Flatten the lower back into the ground. Put the hands wherever it feels most natural, either palms facing the thighs alongside the body or hands over the thighs, palms down. Lift the head up by lifting the heart up. Apply Neck Lock. Look at the toes. Lift the feet up by 6 inches. An acceptable variation is to keep the heels resting lightly on the ground, if needed. Or, you may use one leg at a time. You may use hands under the buttocks or sacrum to support the lower back. Breath of Fire (2 minutes).

(Centers the navel center. Strengthens the entire nervous system.) 

  1. Frog Pose. Slowly stand up and place the feet close together with the heels touching and the feet out at an angle. Squat down on tiptoes with the fingertips on the ground in between the legs. Knees are wide apart. Head is up and back. Inhale and straighten the legs, staying on the tiptoes and keeping the fingertips on the ground. Bring the chin to the chest. Exhale down into the original position. Continue for 26 repetitions. VARIATION: Standing Toe/Knee Raises. Slowly come standing up. Have the feet shoulder width apart with the feet at a right angle to the body. Bring the arms up parallel to the ground with the palms flat and shoulder width apart. Rise up on the tiptoes. This is the inhale position. Exhale and staying on the toes, push the seat out and keep the chest lifted, bend the knees until the thighs are at about parallel to the floor. Inhale up and exhale down, stay high on the toes as best you can (2 minutes).

(Frog Pose stretches the entire spine. Good for overall circulation. Strengthens the quads and energizes the sex nerve and life nerve. VARIATION: Those with knee problems should use the Standing Toe/Knee Raise instead. This is also good for overall circulation. It strengthens the quads and is also good for strengthening weak knees. It too energizes the sex nerve and life nerve.)  

  1. Archer Pose Left. Slowly come standing up. Bring the left foot forward with the right foot back. The front foot is pointing forward with knee bent so that the shin is at a 90-degree angle to the ground. The back foot is at a 90-degree angle to the plane of the body. The distance between the feet is such that two thirds of the weight is on the front foot. Hips are parallel to the ground. Left arm is extended over the left leg as though holding a bow with the shoulder rolled back and down and the chest lifted high. Right hand holds the string, elbow bent and pulled back so you feel a stretch across the chest. Chin is over the left shoulder with the eyes open and gazing at an imaginary target. Long, slow, deep breathing (2 minutes).


(Good for total body stretching and strengthening. Builds confidence and courage.)

  1. Archer Pose Right. Remain standing and bring the right foot forward with the left foot back. The front foot is pointing forward with knee bent so that the shin is at a 90-degree angle to the ground. The back foot is at a 90-degree angle to the plane of the body. The distance between the feet is such that two thirds of the weight is on the front foot. Hips are parallel to the ground. Right arm is extended over the right leg as though holding a bow with the shoulder rolled back and down and the chest lifted high. Left hand holds the string, elbow bent and pulled back so you feel a stretch across the chest. Chin is over the right shoulder with the eyes open and gazing at an imaginary target. Long, slow, deep breathing (2 minutes).

  2. Back and Heart Kriya Part One. The next four exercises constitute a kriya. These four exercises can be practiced alone. The kriya builds upper body strength, adjusts the entire spine and strengthens the valves of the heart. Come standing up and have the feet close together, heels touching, with the toes wide. Bring the hands on the ground, shoulder width apart. Rear end is up high and the pelvis is tilted forward. Inhale and rise up on the toes. Exhale the heels flat.

  1. Back and Heart Kriya Part Two. With the heels flat, inhale and then exhale bringing the nose to the ground, keeping the rear up high and bending the elbows as though you were going to lay the forearms flat against the ground.

  1. Back and Heart Kriya Part Three. Keeping the elbows bent and the nose to the ground, inhale and then exhale by sliding the body forward into a modified Cobra Pose. Your body will be completely off the ground with the curled toes touching and the palms with straight arms supporting the body.

  1. Back and Heart Kriya Part Four. Staying in modified Cobra Pose, inhale and exhale back up into the original position on the toes. Continue with all four parts for six to ten complete repetitions.

  1. Bow Pose. Come lying on your stomach. Reach back and catch the tops of the feet or the ankles with the hands. Push out with the shins and pull in with the arms keeping the elbows straight. Lift the chest off the ground, and, if you are able, lift the thighs off the ground. Head is up and back. Hold the position steady. Long, slow, deep breathing (3 minutes).

Opens the diaphragm and chest. Energizes the sex nerve. Good for the pelvis, hips and entire spine. 

  1. Half-Spinal Twist Left. Come out of position, rise up, sit down and stretch your legs out in front of you straight. Bring the left knee up. Now cross the left foot over the right leg placing the foot flat on the floor. Take the left hand and bring it all the way back down and behind you on the left side. Take the right arm and wrap it around the left leg. Straighten up. Keeping the chin level to the ground, turn the chin all the way left. Chest up high, left shoulder and chin all the way left. Long, slow, deep breathing (1 minute).

Opens up the hips and energizes the spine. 

  1. Half-Spinal Twist Right. Slowly unwind and stretch your legs out in front of you again. Bring the right knee up. Cross the right foot over the left leg placing the foot flat on the floor. Take the right hand and bring it all the way back down and behind you on the right side. Take the left arm and wrap it around the right leg. Straighten up. Keeping the chin level to the ground, turn the chin all the way right. Chest up high, right shoulder and chin all the way right. Long, slow, deep breathing (1 minute).

  1. Sat Kriya. Sit in Easy Pose or preferably on the knees and heels in Rock Pose. Arms are held up overhead with the upper arms hugging the ears. Fingers are clasped together with the index fingers pointing straight up and palms touching. Recite the word “Sat” as you sharply pull the navel point in, while at the same time contracting the muscles of the rectum and sex organ (also called “Root Lock”). Release this contraction and recite the word “Nam.” Concentrate the word “Sat” at the navel point; concentrate the word “Nam” at the brow point. Let the breath regulate itself. Eyes are closed and focused at the brow point (3 minutes).

  1. Neck Rolls. Sitting in Easy Pose with your hands on your knees, slowly begin rolling the head in a large smooth circle in one direction, the breath is relaxed. If you are not comfortable with rolling your head you can turn your head from side to side, keeping the chin level to the ground. Normal breath (1 minute). Consciously relax the neck, throat and shoulders as you roll. Then reverse direction. Normal breath (1 minute).

Relaxes the neck and shoulders and back of the head. Opens up the higher glands. 

  1. Deep Relaxation. Come out of position and rest on your back. Lie down flat, have the arms by the sides, palms facing up, with the eyes gently closed and the breath soft and normal. Have the knees up slightly for comfort, if needed (3 to 11 minutes).

Allows the body to be rebalanced and the mind to refresh itself. This is the position at the end of every series of exercises (or kriya).