How Kundalini Regulates Your Glands and Metabolism
Our culture has a dysmorphic fixation on the physical body in comparison to the other more subtle, but just as real, parts of us. In fact, the whole wellness space, a multibillion dollar industry, one that I am an entrepreneur in, has been built in many ways on this fixation.
The positive side of our societally compulsive self-referencing — who we are, our value to society, and concurrently how we feel about ourselves — is that ultimately there is a move towards healthier ways of living, eating, and being in the world. And I am certainly a big fan of whatever gets you in the door. It really doesn’t matter how you get there, if you end up stumbling on some skill set or practice that makes you feel better. If you feel better, you will act better as a human being, co-worker, friend, parent or lover.
The negative side of this hyper-critical and pressurized referencing to the shape and weight of our bag of bones is that we have collective amnesia on the vastness of who we really are, our capacity, beauty, strength, and intelligence. So this has become another place where our worth is tied to something external and therefore causes misunderstanding, struggle, comparison and unhappiness.
Metabolism has become certainly a buzzword in the sea of billboards, side-bar ads, YouTube pre-roll commercials, Instagram feeds, and magazines — all broadcasting certain standards of physical beauty. To be fair, the most recent Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition was a testament to some crack in the shell of a very narrow archetypal range being represented in the media. Ashley Graham, body activist, model, designer and entrepreneur has taken the fashion industry by a storm with her #beautybeyondsize hashtag and some would say, body positive advocacy.
It’s an interesting time in the realm of body positivity, because as much as I respect and honor a woman like Ashley’s incredible bravery, we are still stuck in the realm of body, youth and sex fixation. But at least the spectrum of media created images are expanding — and this will, in my opinion, have major ripples in the future of how a woman’s body particularly is represented in the public space.
We are in a time on the planet where everyone ultimately is looking for ways to feel better. The pressure of our current social, technological, work and financial duties alone are more than they have ever been before in history as we know it. And I have personally seen since the economic crash of 2008, the wellness industry grow out of the ashes of some version of the realization — “all of my money, my retirement fund, my home could go away literally overnight and what then do I have? I have my health, my relationships, and my family.”
This collective realization began a dawning shift in consciousness that has created an even deeper collective desire to be healthy.
We all want to live in our bodies with energy and vitality.
We want to be free and unencumbered from weight — emotional, physical, and mental — that we know doesn’t belong. We all want vibrancy no matter where we are in our chronology.
The way the media has capitalized on this desire is by latching it to metabolism. And indeed your physiological metabolic rate does play a role in the experience of vivacity in your body. However, there’s been a longstanding misdirection about what metabolism actually means.
Your metabolism is how you process and use energy in your system. Now, this does mean the rate at which you burn food (or fat) for energy and how you use or circulate it. But it also refers to any kind of energy your system uses. Energies like Pranic energy or Radiant Body energy. There has even been new studies proving that the more dense physical metabolic rates are mysteriously affected by our happiness, pleasure, relaxation and positivity towards ourselves and our food.
In Kundalini Yoga, we break down human embodiment into 10 layers. Your physical, flesh and bone body is actually just 1/10th of your total being. You have nine other bodies. And these bodies run on energy – which means they also have metabolisms.
THE 10-BODY METABOLIC BALANCE
It’s important to have this broader understanding of your 10-body metabolic balance because how you use energy on these layers has a direct impact on your physical metabolism (and wellness, overall fitness and even aging velocity)!
For instance, your Praanic Body is where you hold, process and stream your “life-force” energy. When you use too much life-force on something that doesn’t need it, or you are having a hard time letting something emotional go, this can eat up your energy that would be going to healthy processes in your system. And on the other side of the coin, you don’t properly use enough of your life-force on a project that does require it – the result is stress.
Stress in the system throws off your biological energy usage. Stress triggers the production of adrenaline and cortisol in the body. Adrenaline gives you a quick spike to deal with fight or flight situations in the moment. However, cortisol attempts to support your energy levels in a more long term way.
Cortisol increases your appetite, so that you have sugar to burn in extreme situations. It also increases your fat storage rate, so that you have oil to burn as well. Which is great if you are actually facing real, fight or flight situations on a consistent bases. The body is so elegantly designed.
But if your stress is triggered by a mismanagement of praana – more fat isn’t going to help you. Only more praana and what I would call praanic intelligence will.
This is why having a 10-body, holistic grasp on the metabolism is so crucial. Because you could be putting on weight, working out like crazy and nothing is moving. So you think, “Oh, I must need to workout more.” But it’s not about calorie burn. It’s about praanic burn. So what you need is a pranayam to adjust your praanic output and the deep glandular secretions that rule metabolic functions in the physical body.
One thing I love about Kundalini yoga is that works on all 10-bodies every time your practice. Each Kundalini yoga set balances, amplifies and enhances energy usage of all 10 layers of being – physical, praanic and otherwise. That’s why it always is funny when people call Kundalini yoga the “breathing yoga”—both because I hope that ALL YOGA is the breathing yoga, and if you do one of these quick and efficient exercises you will experience first hand that you’re doing so much more than just breathing.
That said, one thing that makes Kundalini yoga so special is that it is brimming with countless unique and potent pranayams. The Kundalini Metabolic Booster Set I give at the end of this article contains within it several of the most effective breath techniques to reset your glandular secretions and metabolic rates. I’ve seen avid practitioners of this 9 minute set lose 10-20 lbs over several months of practice all due to the rebalancing of their whole 10 Body system.
It not only adjusts your bodies ability to replenish energy stores and release waste hormones and fat build up, but also restores physical body glandular balance, makes you feel calm and triggers powerful, deep anti-aging. It’s fast, powerful and effective.
GLAND, BIOLOGY, BEAUTY, YOUTH AND METABOLISM
Having this 10-body perspective on the metabolism will change your entire existence and amplify your ability to enjoy life in a whole new way. However, your physical body (and your physical metabolism) count too! Your digestive metabolism, I would say, has the most tangible effect on how you enjoy your body and experience your day.
When you have a low metabolism, you just feel off, it affects your emotional spectrum. This is partly due to not having the energy to meet the day or to regulate your biological being in a way that leaves you clean, clear and with vibrancy.
That said, when the metabolism is too high, you feel jittery. You can’t relax. There’s a constant kind of nervous energy that you may not register, but it makes harder for you to find neutral.
That’s why we have to get smarter about how we adjust our biological metabolism, and be armed with the skills to know how.
When you practice Kundalini yoga you are working with a system that is adaptogenic. That means that the yoga adjusts the energy use in your body so that your system balances itself intrinsically and moment to moment. If you have a lot to burn off – Kundalini yoga will boost your metabolic rate and help you clear out any stagnancy and build up in the body. However, the yoga sets up a self-regulating energy intelligence.
Which means when it’s time to relax and rejuvenate, your metabolism will slow to an appropriate rate so that you have access to the most still parts of yourself. This clarity is important to a successful life and is the doorway to meditative experience—both in meditation and in the throws of your busy day.
The yogic “tech”, as I like to call it, behind this adaptogenic energy management is how Kundalini yoga works on and with the glands.
HOW KUNDALINI WORKS WITH THE GLANDS
The glands are the keepers of youth and beauty.
They affect your emotions, aging rate, immunity and, of course, your metabolism. When you adjust your glands using sophisticated yogic techniques, you trigger an immediate and long term experience of health and vitality.
In the metabolic realm, your pituitary and thyroid gland are most involved. The thyroid gland produces hormones triggered by the proper secretion of the pituitary that regulate cellular energy usage. When the thyroid is underactive, your metabolism is sluggish. You’re tired and you have excess weight that just keeps you down. When the thyroid is overactive- you could be burning too much energy at an unsustainable rate. This is what leads to burnout.
Thyroid issues are an epidemic right now. And while the Western medical method has made some advances – have you or anyone you know actually recovered from thyroid disorder using Western medicine alone? Let’s be real. You need a more biologically advanced, and energetically activated way to trigger metabolic vivacity.
All three parts of the Metabolic Booster Set below powerfully adjust the pituitary/thyroid communication and secretion. They do so by stretching and compressing through the neck and thyroid area, simultaneously adjusting the correlative glands in the body, and activating your pituitary gland through your breath and eye focus.
In medical science, the pituitary gland is called the “master gland.” It commands the heath and secretion rate of all other glands in the body. So the thyroid, adrenals, pancreas, hypothalamus, and ovaries (or testes) all change based on the secretions of the pituitary gland. So when you balance the pituitary gland, you put yourself into a very deep embodied space of well-being. This is true power available to you through a very small commitment of time and energy!
KUNDALINI METABOLIC BOOSTER SET
(aka MASTER SET NO. 1)
Try the poses below and practice each step for equal amounts of time.
Come sitting in baby pose, arms by your side and palms facing up. Keeping the chest on the thighs, lift only the head off the ground and begin a breath of fire. Lift the face up so that you are stretching your thyroid. Continue for 1 ½ – 3 minutes.
LIE ON BACK WITH CHIN TUCKED
Staying in the heels, if possible, come slowly rolling up and lie down onto your back. Open up the front part of your body and begin the breath of fire. Keep the chin tucked, back of the neck straight, so that the thyroid is getting triggered here through compression. Continue for 1 ½ – 3 minutes.
Come slowly out of the posture and then come into this squat variation. Bring your legs out wide, and then squat so that your thighs are parallel to the ground. Take your arms inside of the legs and then grasp the heels from the inside. Come onto the tippy-toes. Lift the torso as much as you can. Stick the tongue out of the mouth and being a breath of fire through the mouth. Breath from the depth of the lungs but also clear the throat and thyroid area with the breath Continue 1 ½ – 3 minutes.
BREATHE AND RELAX
Inhale, exhale and relax.
What Is Kundalini Yoga?
There aren’t many things that retain their full potency when they are blended together. Ok, maybe Pert shampoo and conditioner. Maybe Simon and Garfunkel. Maybe cronuts, but that’s about it. In yoga, Kundalini is the exception.
Kundalini yoga is a blend of Bhakti yoga (the yogic practice of devotion and chanting), Raja yoga (the practice of mediation/mental and physical control) and Shakti yoga, (for the expression of power and energy).
A well-taught Kundalini yoga class leaves you feeling like you’ve gone to therapy, had an awesome workout in the gym, made it to your yoga mat and enjoyed a fun singing session with friends. The purpose of Kundalini yoga is to provide a modality by which people can achieve their maximum creative potential, free themselves from Karma (the lasting effects of past actions) and realize their life purpose. Experiencing a Kundalini awakening is like being given the secret code to always winning a blue ribbon, along with a get-out-of-jail-free card, at which point you gleefully fire your life coach because now you know more than he does.
Is That a Snake in Your Spine or Are You Just Glad to See Me?
To understand how Kundalini works you first have to understand that you have a snake in your spine. The Sanskrit word kundal means “circular,” and it can be a noun for a coiled snake. The feminine kundalī means a ring, bracelet, or coil of rope. This concept was adopted as kundalinī into Hatha yoga in the 15th century and, by the 16th century, was used in the Yoga Upanishads.
So the term Kundalini means “a spiritual energy or life force located at the base of the spine,” which is usually conceptualized as a coiled-up serpent.
The practice of Kundalini yoga is supposed to arouse the sleeping Kundalini Shakti from its coiled base through the six chakras that reside along the spine, and through the seventh chakra, or crown. Chakras are wheels, or hubs of energy, along which energy or prana, travels like a superhighway to distribute energy throughout the body.
Like a snake being charmed out of a basket by a bansuri, Kundalini weaves and coils, waking up energy and clearing stagnancy along the way. Without the fangs.
These days Kundalini yoga is a synthesis of many traditions, and the kriyas and meditations in Kundalini Yoga are designed to raise complete body awareness to prepare the body, nervous system, and mind to handle the energy of Kundalini rising. Many of the physical postures are designed to activate the navel, spine, and focal points of pressurization on meridians (energy points). Through breath work (pranayama) and the application of yogic locks of energy (bandhas), the release, direction, and control of the flow of Kundalini energy is achieved.
The technique of alternate nostril breathing (left nostril, right nostril) which is described as a simple breathing technique, is one of these often-utilized techniques. When you’re dealing with a stuffed up nose, there’s nothing simple about breathing out of one nostril. Especially the one plugged up. I’ve found the simplicity comes through first attempting, then practicing. This type of breathwork is taught as a way to cleanse the nadis, or subtle channels and pathways, to help awaken Kundalini energy. Probably the last thing you want to do when you’re congested, but can be quite helpful!