I have noticed that many Kundalini Yogis sit on sheepskin rugs. Isn’t this duplicitous if you’re advocating a vegetarian diet? Thanks for writing. While it is true that Kundalini Yoga does advocate the use of sheepskins for practice, we are vegetarians, and personally do not believe in using sheepskin rugs. In all of our DVD’s Ana does her practice on a type of shag rug, never sheepskin. The ancient yogis’ criteria was that they would use an animal skin if it had been found already dead, or had already been killed for other purposes (animal skins are said to shield one from the earth’s magnetic field for deeper meditation) in the same manner that Native Americans relied on buffalo for their survival and did not waste anything. This justification might also be given by modern day Kundalini yogi’s. Nevertheless, we agree that sitting on a dead animal skin should be questioned if one is advocating and practicing a conscious lifestyle, given that there are alternatives (anything with natural fibers). We believe that for the good of the planet and our fellow creatures, one should not take anything for granted and try to take the high road whenever possible. I have been experiencing all the typical symptoms of menopause. My doctor has suggested I try hormone replacement therapy. Does Kundalini Yoga offer an alternative to this approach? Thanks for writing. Kundalini Yoga, in its ability to balance the glandular system, detoxify, and redress stress, is one of the best things we know of to help a women transition gracefully through menopause and/or keep it at bay. Currently, more and more women are experiencing early onset of menopause because of increasing internal & external stressors. We will be including a segment for menopause in our upcoming DVD called Dr. Yoga House Call. Along with appropriate lifestyle considerations, daily yoga is very important during all stages of menopause, especially Kundalini Yoga, with its emphasis on the glands, relaxation, weight bearing exercise, cardio and meditation. Other good DVD’s for transitions would be Fat Free Yoga, Yoga Cleanse, Kundalini Yoga for Beginners & Beyond, Yoga Beauty Body and Yoga Bliss Hips. Re: Hormone replacement: We are not sure if you are on synthetic hormone replacement or natural. We cannot give advice against your own doctor’s, but we can tell you what we would recommend: We prefer always, to try all natural means first and hopefully never have to resort to synthetic substances. We highly recommend maca which is a plant substance from Peru. It is a completely natural product and highly effective in supporting hormonal balance. We especially like the brand called “Royal Maca” which is 100% organic (distributed by Whole World Botanicals). Maca stimulates the hypothalamus gland to produce the precursor hormones which in turn help your body to produce (and balance) its own estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Maca also helps to balance the adrenal glands, the thyroid and the pancreas. We like this idea of nudging the body to produce its own hormones. We feel this is much healthier and very much safer. Maca and a balanced diet including some raw food (for enzymes and life force), seaweed (for the thyroid), and oils such as flax and quality olive oil (for skin and guard against inflammation) and plenty of pure low mineral water to stay hydrated, along with a daily yoga practice, are what we recommend for menopausal women. You may have to experiment with the dosage level of maca to see what works for you. When one has been using synthetic hormones for a time the ovaries can get sluggish, so you may feel a little worse to start, but ultimately you should feel much better. Hello Ravi & Ana, My mother and I just started doing your Kundalini yoga DVD’s a couple of weeks ago. We now own four of them so far. It has been such an amazing help to us. We can feel healing taking place in our bodies. Each day, we can’t wait to do your yoga. Afterwards we feel energized, focused, free, and peaceful. We want to thank you for the program you have put together. Also, we have a question about the chanting; as it is new to us. Is it connected to any particular religion or god? We look forward to your answer and we thank you very much. Thanks for writing. The chanting in Kundalini Yoga uses a language called Gurmukhi, which is an updated version of Sanskrit, and which exists in the context of the Sikh Tradition. The mantras we use have an objective effect, which is to raise one’s awareness and tune oneself to a higher frequency, in the interest of health and happiness, individually and collectively. We cite these sounds as Universal, a technology which is part of an ancient tradition which predates history as we know it. We believe in this technology because it works. This is the science of Naad Yoga which combines sounds based on their vibratory effect. The quality of a given thing can be determined by its rate of vibration. According to yoga, when we tune ourselves to higher frequencies, the quality of our lives improves. Kundalini Yoga is all about embracing whatever tools are useful in one’s journey towards balance and fulfillment. We never want students to feel that they are being asked to relate to a “god,” or power, they don’t understand. All of the mantras in Kundalini Yoga are names of God, which can be understood to mean The Universe, Totality, Supreme Intelligence, etc. If you are not sure what you believe, then ascribe a meaning to these concepts based on what is sacred to you. The “gods,” in most traditions, are actually archetypes, which are aspects of the human psyche. In all of the yoga traditions, the various deities are actually facets of Infinity (God). As with the other aspect of Kundalini Yoga, which may seem very strange at first, the bottom line is always what works. So, we encourage students to be scientific in their approach. Proceed with an open mind and heart and ascertain for yourself if the practice does what it says it does.
All Best to You, Ravi Singh & Ana Brett www.raviana.com / 212.982.5518