Raj Yoga + Meditation, 2750 Glenwood Drive Unit 1, Boulder, 720-287-3361 rajyogaboulder.com
Instructor: Eric Gurmukh Klema grew up practicing yoga with his parents. He's been teaching for 10 years, both nationally and internationally. His main certifications are in kundalini, yin and yoga ed for children.
"This is my passion. This is what I love to do. Yoga and music. To bring those things together in a class is a dream come true for me," says Klema.
What is the workout? An amalgamation of yoga, breathing, mantra and meditation. It's a spiritual practice that uses a series of postures called kriyas to effect change in the body and mind. Each kriya is designed to facilitate a specific outcome, whether that's to alleviate headaches or balance your aura. "We are using breath work, mantra, movements and meditation all as a way to help wake up and circulate dormant energy in the body and move it through the system," says Klema.
Many of the kriyas come with a spoken mantra. They are simple and easy to remember. "This is the one practice that integrates mantra meditation. Which I think is a really powerful way to consciously direct your mental energy with affirmation and with sounds," says Klema.
What's different? "The idea is to integrate it all, to get a good exercise in the body, to include mantra," says Klema. "And then meditation."
Compared to other forms of yoga, kundalini puts a greater importance on the meditative aspect of yoga. With vinyasa, students are moving through poses fairly quickly. In kundalini, we moved through a short series for one to three minutes while using a mantra. The focus on mantra translated to a less rigorous workout compared to other forms of yoga. People looking for a practice that is more about awareness instead of an intense workout will enjoy this class. The workout is there, but it carries less emphasis.
"That's the name of the game, is awareness. It's being conscious, being present and being awake," says Klema.
Cost: New students can sign up for two weeks of unlimited yoga for $22. Drop-in classes run $18. Five-class packages are $80 and 10-class packages are $150. Unlimited membership is $108 a month. The studio offers senior, student and veteran discounts.
Level: The poses were simple. None of them required advanced flexibility or strength. It was also self-paced, so there was no pressure to keep in time with other people in the class. It's accessible to anyone and easy to jump in the first time.
When: The class is an hour and a half. It's at 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, noon and 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays, and 9 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
What to prepare: Comfortable, non-restrictive clothes. The studio has mats and all the accessories you need. No shoes are worn in the yoga room.
Muscles worked: The class was more relaxing then strenuous. We did a number of arm movements and poses that were challenging. I wasn't overly fatigued after class.
What I loved: I'm not a singer. Only my car knows how bad I am at singing. Klema on the other hand is a very good singer. He led us in a number of songs on his guitar. I could have just listened to him sing and not inflict my wailing on anyone else. He also did some crazy gong noises at the end. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone, which was pretty cool.
What I didn't like: I have low blood pressure, the kind where standing up too fast might make me faint. There were a number of kriyas that required moving my head down and back up again. This is my kryptonite. I had to slow down the movements to keep from falling over. I'd suggest taking it slow if you feel lightheaded.
How I felt after the class: Relaxed and comfortable.
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