KRIYA – WARM UP STRETCHING SERIES

(The Art, Science & Application of Kundalini Yoga, Nirvair Singh Khalsa, pp. 71-79)

  1. Ankle Roll Left. Sit on the floor. Pull Neck Lock and Root Lock. Lift the left leg so that the shin is parallel to the ground, foot close to the chest. Roll the ankle (10-15 seconds).

  1. Ankle Roll Right. Lift the right leg so that the shin is parallel to the ground, foot close to the chest. Roll the right ankle (10-15 seconds).

  1. Knee Lift Left. Holding Neck Lock and Root Lock, lift the left knee with hands on the left shin, held below the knee. Gently pull the knee across the chest to the right shoulder, keeping the shoulders squared. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

  1. Knee Lift Right. Lift the right knee with hands on the right shin held below the knee. Gently pull the knee across the chest to the left shoulder, keeping the shoulders squared. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

  1. Butterfly. Keep Neck Lock and Root Lock gently pulled. Put the soles of the feet together. Hold on to the feet with the hands, lean forward keeping the back straight and the chin at a right angle to the chest. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

  1. Front Stretch Left. Stretch the left leg out in front of you straight; right foot against the inner thigh of the left leg, heel held close to the groin. Hold on to the shin or foot with both hands. Keep the foot at a right angle to the ground. Gently stretch forward and then down, using your back like a hinge. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

  1. Front Stretch Right. Stretch the right leg out in front of you straight; left foot against the inner thigh of the right leg, heel held close to the groin. Pull Neck Lock and Root Lock. Keep the foot at a right angle to the ground. Gently stretch forward and then down. Hold the position steady for 10-15 seconds.

Exercises #6 and #7 stretch the life nerve (inner thigh). They are also good for the lower back, stretching the hamstrings and relaxing the quads. Front stretch right is part of the liver series. It is one of several positions that places pressure on the lobes of the liver. 

  1. Thigh Stretch Left. Keep the right leg out in front of you straight. Place the left foot by the left hip, top of the foot on the ground. Lean back on the hands. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

  2. Thigh Stretch Right. Stretch the left leg out in front of you straight. Place the right foot by the right hip, top of the foot on the ground. Lean back on the hands and hold for 10-15 seconds.

  1. Hip Lift Left. Switch legs with the right leg out in front of you straight. Place the left foot by the left hip, top of the foot on the ground. Now, lift the left hip, twisting the lower torso. Keep the shoulders back and hold for 10-15 seconds.

  1. Hip Lift Right. Switch legs with the left leg out in front of you straight. Place the right foot by the right hip, top of the foot on the ground. Now, lift the right hip, twisting the lower torso. Keep the shoulders back and hold for 10-15 seconds.

  1. Butterfly. Pull Neck Lock and Root Lock gently. Put the soles of the feet together. Hold on to the feet with the hands, lean forward keeping the back straight and the chin at a right angle to the chest. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

This exercise opens the hips, stretches the inner thigh and life (sciatic) nerve. 

  1. Relaxing Frog. Keep the soles of the feet together; lie down flat on your back, arms by the side palms up. Allow gravity to pull the knees apart. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

This exercise opens the hips and stretches the sex nerve. It also helps align the lower back. 

  1. Torso Twist Left. Have the knees up and the feet flat. Pull a slight Mulbandh (Root Lock). Cross the left leg all the way over the right leg. Then bring both knees down to the left side of the body. The closer the knees are to the chest, the deeper the bend (10-15 seconds).

  1. Torso Twist Right. Switch sides. Have the knees up and the feet flat. Cross the right leg all the way over the left leg. Bring both knees down to the right side of the body. The closer the knees are to the chest, the deeper the bend (10-15 seconds).

Exercises #14 and #15 are good for the lower back and also stretch the hips. 

  1. Head Lift. Keep the knees up and feet flat. Pull Root Lock (Mulbandh). Make a basket out of the hands. Place the hands behind the head and then lift the head off the ground. Tuck the chin down to the collarbone. Keep the lower back flat against the ground. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

  1. Shoulder Pinch. Keep knees up and feet flat with a slight Mulbandh (Root Lock). Keep the hands behind the head with the elbows against the ground, shoulder blades pinched together and chest lifted high. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

  1. Flat Stretch. Stretch your legs out in front of you straight. Point the toes. Arms are on the ground overhead. Stretch up and down for 10-15 seconds.

  1. Nose to Knees. Draw the knees up to the chest, head up and nose between the knees. Hold it briefly and then rock a few times on the spine and rock yourself up.

Stretches and relaxes the neck muscles, the area where you store the most psychic tension. Also good for relieving gas. Moving distributes pranic energy throughout your body and relaxes your back muscles. 

  1. Cow. Come up into Cow Pose. Place the hands on the ground, shoulder width apart, fingers pointing forward. If your wrists bother you, make your hands into fists. Knees are straight down from the hips, slightly apart with your feet touching. Press the spine down by tilting the pelvis and lifting the head up and back. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

Stretches the lower back, opens pelvis and chest. 

  1. Cat. Push up through the shoulders and arch the back up with the chin close to the chest. Tilt your pelvis the opposite way from Cow. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

Good for the lower and upper back and shoulders. It is a total spine exercise when used in combination with cow position. 

  1. Sixty-Degree Arm Stretch. Sit in Easy Pose. Make a basket out of the hands and invert the grip so the palms face outward and the arms are about a sixty-degree angle to the body. Push out from the shoulders for 10-15 seconds.

  1. Straight Up Arm Stretch. Still in Easy Pose, stretch the arms straight up and hold for 10-15 seconds.

  1. Torso Stretch Left. Let go of the hands, then catch the right hand with the left and lean left. Gently pull left without twisting the torso. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

  1. Torso Stretch Right. Switch hands and catch the left hand with the right and lean right. Gently pull right without twisting the torso. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

  1. Behind Head Stretch Left. Let go of the hands and catch the left elbow with the right hand. Arms are behind the head. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

  1. Behind Head Stretch Right. Switch arms by catching the right elbow with the left hand. Arms are behind the head. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

  1. Chest Lift Elbows Back. Make the hands into a basket and place them behind the head, elbows back and chest out (10-15 seconds.

Opens up the upper chest and shoulders. 

  1. Arm Across Left Stretch. In front of the body, catch the left elbow with the right hand and pull the left arm across the chest (10-15 seconds).

  1. Arm Across Right Stretch. In front of the body, catch the right elbow with the left hand and pull the right arm across the chest (10-15 seconds).

  1. Neck Rolls. Roll the head in a huge, slow, smooth circle in one direction. This can be a full or three-quarter roll. Change directions with the head and continue to roll slowly and smoothly (10-15 seconds each direction).

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

  1. Lion Face. Open the mouth and stick the tongue out. Eyes are wide and wild, hands are held in claws. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

This posture brings energy to the shoulders and throat chakra. 

Comments: This series of exercise is to be practiced, when possible, before any other Kundalini Yoga kriyas. It can be practiced alone as well or as a warm up for any aerobic activity. Breath is normal and the eyes can be open or closed and focused at the third eye point. All of these stretches are static…no bouncing up and down. Take it easy with these stretches and really feel and “read” the body as you do them. It is always useful to compare how you feel doing this series with the time you have done it before. This way you can make the connection between what you have been doing, feeling, thinking and even eating and how it is reflected in specific parts of the body.