The Secret Power of Taco Tongue | The magazine
Yoga is a diverse world. Kundalini, also called “the yoga of awareness”, is designed to give you an experience of yourself. The practice includes combining a variety of breathing techniques with specific movements for fast and powerful results. Much of the practice happens with their eyes closed, encouraging participants to go within and forge a connection with the deeper parts of the subconscious.
“You can see results instantly after a class, even after an exercise,” says Gurumeher Khalsa, studio manager for Cosmic Flow Kundalini Yoga in Point Loma. “Even a few long, deep breaths are soothing, centering, and relaxing. You can walk into a class feeling stressed or overwhelmed and walk out an hour later feeling much lighter, relieved, and happy. I see it all the time. “
The practice is relevant and practical in these times when it seems like every new day brings a new reason for a panic attack. Khalsa says Kundalini Yoga can teach breathing techniques to deal with these situations. The techniques focus on releasing things such as anxiety, stress, fear, and self-loathing. Meditations and mantras are used to open up even more and focus on self-healing and connecting with higher consciousness.
“We take long, deep breaths because it calms, centers, releases stress and anxiety,” she says. “But it’s on a different level.”
The different level uses a variety of breathing techniques combined with other aspects of the classes including movement, mantras and meditation. Khalsa says her 75- or 90-minute classes teach different types of breathing techniques, either in person or on Zoom.
“A breath unique to Kundalini is called Breath of Fire – a rapid inhale and exhale through the nose,” she says. “The best way to learn it is to stick out your tongue and put your hands on your navel, then pretend to pant like a dog. And it’s basically that breathing, except you just have to close the mouth and change it to the nose. And it’s really a long, continuous breath, and the goal is to open the lungs. It is good for releasing toxins and purifying the blood.
Khalsa says that with practice, this breathing technique can offer an overall sense of calm, and “things that used to bother you or trigger you don’t really seem to bother you anymore.”
Another technique is called Sitali Pranayama, which involves rolling your tongue like a taco.
“And then inhale through that taco tongue, then exhale through your nose,” Khalsa says. “As the name suggests, it is a refreshing breath, both physical and mental. It is good for releasing inner anger.
Another is to alternate nasal breathing, i.e. using your thumb or little finger to close the right nostril, then inhaling low and deep through the left nostril, exhaling through the left nostril and alternating .
But, says Khalsa, the classes are not just about breathing.
“The typical class structure is to tune into a mantra to connect with ourselves and also connect with the teachings,” she says. This is followed by breath meditation, then the yoga part, which combines breath work with movement, all prescribed by the Kundalini teachings. Classes end with meditation and relaxation, where participants lie on the floor and absorb all the work they have done.
“So it’s really the general sense of calm and overall well-being that you’ll feel,” Khalsa says. “And that’s just putting in the work yourself.”