Laura Hinde aka Mukta found kundalini yoga through Gurmukh’s Khalsa Way pregnancy yoga training. She opened The Yoga Hall in St Albans, UK, in 2003 with her husband, where she offers a variety of yoga classes. Here she talks about her all-time favourite kriyas and incorporating her yoga practice with being a mum of two. Meet Laura….
How did you get into kundalini yoga, Mukta?
I have been teaching yoga since 1995 (originally qualifying with Sivananda in Canada), and I wanted to bring more depth and spirituality to my teaching of pregnancy yoga… so much of what was taught in the UK then was fear-based; often full of cautions, warnings and contra-indications. My research led me to Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa at Golden Bridge who was teaching prenatal yoga in a different way to any I had come across. It actually took me about three years to become convinced that I needed to travel to New York to do this training. I made a presentation to my family (kids then aged six and nine) as to why this was a good idea for us all (!) and in 2013 I finally took the trip. I remember thinking on the flight on the way over that after such a huge build up, my expectations were probably way too high. They weren’t. It was a fabulous training, part of which was early morning sadhana, and, like so many of us, I fell in love. Tears and a strong feeling of coming home, of recognition. Since then kundalini yoga has been part of my daily life; I am enormously grateful for it.
How has it changed your life?
Kundalini yoga got me back onto my mat for early morning practice. After having children I had lost my passion for it, and although I still enjoyed teaching, did not have a very inspiring practice. In retrospect, I think I was postnatally depressed. I am hugely grateful that kundalini yoga made me excited to get up and onto my mat every morning. It is still, by grace, the highlight of my day. The opportunity to reconnect with the universe in a juicy and moving way.
What does your yoga practice look like now?
Up around 5am to listen to Japji while I prepare for sadhana. An hour or so of kriya and meditation then 31 minutes of bound lotus kriya whilst listening to the Aquarian Sadhana mantras. Relaxation as the family start to get up. At the moment I have my cold shower after sadhana, adding almond oil abhyanga about 3 times a week. If I am preparing a kriya or meditation to teach I will find time to work with it during the day, and Vipassana meditation before sleep.
What’s your favourite kriya?
At the moment I am just over halfway through a 90-day practice of a kriya set by Karta Singh at ANS as the homework for a new Level 2 module Kriya & Ayurveda. It is a big kriya, called Kriya For Instinctual Self-Acceptance which includes a lunge stretch with head and hands facing upwards for 5.5 minutes each side and 3 minutes of looking at the sky ‘laughing with God’. It finishes with Meditation To Conquer Self-Animosity. The practice is helping me get in touch with and accept parts of my experience that I had lost in a way that is so touching and welcome. I feel very lucky. Other kriyas I return to often are Kriya For The Instinctual Self and Short Sweet Kriya to Get the Energy Moving.
What’s been the most powerful ky practice you’ve ever done?
Bound Lotus Kriya (BLK). I was introduced to this by one of the assistant teachers at Golden Bridge Yoga; I saw a picture of her practicing back in 2013 and just had to find out more. Right from the beginning it has had a profound effect on my whole life, physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally …. After having babies I had a lot of intermittent pain around my sacrum and occasional sciatica. I now realise this was linked with tension in the root of my legs (around the piriformis muscle) which went with putting a lot of pressure on myself to control (or attempt to control!) my life and the lives of my children. This obviously had repercussions other than physical pain. The tension would build up and I would occasionally snap, usually triggered by some annoying behaviour by one of my family ? I knew I didn’t want to be this person and BLK has given me the space, particularly around anger, to act rather that react. I started off with square pose and then moved to logs of fire before moving to full Bound Lotus still with plenty of cushions, support and scarves. It began with a 40 day commitment and then 90 and got up to about 950 consecutive days when the intensity of ANS Level 1 Immersion week came into my life last year and BLK fell away for a few days. It is a humbling kriya. I still practice every day.
Fave quote? ‘Move within, but don’t move the way fear makes you move.’ Rumi
Book? Beyond The Mind by David Frawley
Teacher? Karta Singh and Gurmukh Kaur for kundalini yoga. Faustomaria Dorelli for hatha, bhakti and raja yoga.
Music? At the moment I’m really appreciating Wah Yantee by Amrit Kirtan. As a family, we all love Ajai Alai by Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa for courage and nobility.
Breakfast? My husband makes excellent green smoothies based on parsley or kale with various lettuces, pears and microgreens, sometimes from our garden. We also love quinoa and buckwheat porridge with ground flax seeds, chia, dried apricots, figs and turmeric paste.