Part I of a two-part blog on Kundalini meditation. See Breaking Bad… Habits with Kundalini Meditation for Part II.
When was the last time you washed your physical body? Took a shower, soaked in the tub… How did you feel afterwards? Clean, fresh, rejuvenated? Or, perhaps you didn’t notice how you felt. Hold that thought.
I’ve been meditating since my early twenties. Despite some powerful meditative experiences as I share in 7 Ways Meditation Makes me Feel like a Mindful Mama, I perceived meditation as a ‘nice to do’ when you have the time. That is, until I discovered Kundalini yoga and meditation. I began to unearth a new way of being in the world and bust through blocks in a way no other kind of meditation could do for me. Meditation was no longer ‘nice’, it was imperative. As imperative as washing my physical body.
Yogi Bhajan described meditation as “your first habit”. Literally, the most important habit to develop. The foundation habit to build from. “Every human should meditate to keep the mind clean. Meditation is nothing but cleansing the mind through a process”, just like a daily wash is a process to cleanse your body. It’s the equivalent of a bath for the inside of your head. “If you don’t take a bath, you stink. If you don’t meditate, you mentally stink”. It’s the “subconscious poop” that causes blockages in your life. Yogi Bhajan was direct in his message, but not washing your mind is likely as much of a risk to your health as not washing your body.
“Clean the body, yes, we take a bath one, two, three times a day. How many times do you meditate to clean the mind? You take a bath to clean the body; you meditate to clean the mind. There is nothing more to it.”Yogi Bhajan
The results of giving your mind a good hose down are not just mental, they’re physical. That’s why bathing your body alone will not give you the deep cleanse you need to cope with the pressures of the modern world, and more importantly, to thrive in it.
For many of us, the mind and body are two separate things. When people meditate, it’s most commonly to destress the mind. We often perceive stress as a ‘feeling’. And yet, it can have a detrimental impact on our physical bodies. My first experience of this was in my late teens when emotional turmoil caused patches of my hair to fall out. And, like 1 in 5 people in Ireland, I’ve suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), for which anxiety is a prevalent cause.
In the Kundalini yoga tradition, meditation is not simply about your mind. It is a “physical process” with a major focus on activating your glandular or endocrine system. Yogi Bhajan described our glands as the “guardians of health”. Our glands produce hormones – chemical messengers that send information and instructions to our cells. They are of critical importance to our health as they influence the behaviour of every cell, organ and function in our bodies.
Kundalini meditations are designed to activate the pituitary and pineal glands whose homes are in your lovely brain. The pituitary gland is activated by closing your eyes and rolling them up to focus on the centre point of your eyebrows, your Third Eye. The pituitary is known as the ‘Master Gland’ because the hormones it makes control many other glands. Its functions include:
Throughout pregnancy on my second son, Barra, now 11 weeks old, I activated my pituitary gland with intent through my Kundalini practice to release oxytocin, the ‘love hormone’ that encourages parent-child bonding. And, to produce prolactin to trigger milk production for breastfeeding.
Many Kundalini meditations also direct your eye gaze to the tip of your nose with your eyes 1/10th open. This activates your pineal gland as does closing your eyes and rolling them up to focus on your Crown Chakra at the top of your head. One of its vital functions is the production of melatonin to regulate your circadian rhythm; the quality of your sleep and wakeful patterns. With a newborn, I’m living testimony to what happens when you don’t get enough shut-eye!
Yet, I do manage to meditate almost every day even if it’s only for 11 minutes as activating my pituitary for this length of time can support my other glands to recuperate – and I need a lot of recuperation right now! From your bones to your metabolism to your fertility to human bonding; your pituitary gland really is a powerhouse. She’s earned your attention so make sure to give it to her.
The Eight Human Talents: Restore the Balance and Serenity within You with Kundalini Yoga by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa
I’m Jen Murphy, award-winning blogger and wellness advocate for working mothers. I created Working Mother Wellness as a platform for mums to share our wellness experiences. Sign-up to build your own Working Mother Wellness toolkit. You will receive updates on Kundalini yoga and meditation practices, wellness tips, and info on upcoming workshops and programmes.