Category:Meet the Team
We’re really pleased to be welcoming Emma Rawles to Anahata, teaching Kundalini yoga. Emma’s classes are held on Tuesday evenings, and end with a light circle. So we sat down with Emma to find out more about her practice.
What exactly is Kundalini yoga?
I have been practising this type of yoga for over 10 years. Through an integrated blend of asana, pranayama, music, dance, mantra, and meditation, Kundalini yoga helps to connect you back to your innate stillness within, strengthening your connection to your intuition and willpower. Physically it activates and rebalances the nervous and glandular systems which help us to live more balanced lives by tolerating stress better.
The practice is great for building one’s stamina, for overall strengthening and conditioning of the body, increasing our lung capacity and in turn enhancing our ability to breathe gracefully through life. Through specific intention setting, directed prayer and kriyas, kundalini can greatly support people in helping to break through long-lived unwanted habits and addictions.
How did you become interested in this form of yoga?
I first found Kundalini Yoga at a yoga studio in Camden over 10 years ago. I came upon the practice by total accident, I was simply in an open place of curiosity, with a keen interest in seeking greater peace and stillness in my life.
I had already been practising yoga for over 5 years on and off, mainly Hatha. When I attended my first class I couldn’t believe the impact it made on how I felt: a heightened awareness, feeling more present, and an incredible sense of peace and stillness.
After practising for a few years a wonderful teacher of mine was offering spaces on his training course and I just went for it due to an innate, deep curiosity I had towards the concept of awakening! And I have never looked back, I was so deeply sure in my heart that training to be a practitioner of this style of yoga was the right thing to do!
Why should people try Kundalini yoga?
We live in a world filled with pranic energy, a vibrant energetic life force all around us, Kundalini yoga invites you to harness this creative, vital, energy we all have access to both inside and outside of us. Through practicing Kundalini we are gently led on a path of greater expansiveness in our body, mind, and both our presence and an innate intuition. It invites you to begin to open up to access a higher vibrational way of living and being.
Kundalini has endless health benefits and its technologies have been scientifically proven to activate specific parts of your brain that increase awareness and generate more balanced control. Through specific techniques using breath, mantra, specific movements or mudras (hand gestures) the practice works to increase the nervous system on a cellular level and increase your energetic awareness.
What can people expect from one of your yoga classes?
I like to create a space of stillness, peace and also facilitate a space for transformation and growth. I do this by gently encouraging my students to keep up and work through any physical or mental blocks to support them more greatly in their lives.
The class consists of tuning into a mantra called the Adi Mantra, ‘Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo’, we then will enter into a set of asanas which we call ‘kriya’ in Kundalini yoga. A kriya differs from anything you may experience in Ashtanga or Vinyasa Flow, for example, every kriya is very different, each working on a specific aspect of body, mind and spirit. You could expect anything from gentle breathwork to something much more intense called ‘breath of fire’, a strong navel pumping breath, there could be strong repetitive arm or leg movements, or simply holding poses, it changes each week.
I always encourage my students to use their physical and mental strength to maintain challenging positions. I have learnt over the years as you work on your mind’s desire to stop in clss, in effect you strengthen your ability to take on life’s challenges with greater ease. Essentially what you can overcome in class enables you to overcome more in life, to become more physically and mentally resilient.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I am incredibly interested in healthy living, having done many detoxes in Thailand, and having studied and trained as a natural chef at the well renowned College of Naturopathic Medicine. It was during these studies I learnt all about the importance of healthy eating and drinking and the idea that food is our medicine. I also love the incredible benefits of cold showers and cold water swimming and the impact this can have on your body! I’m a regular in the Brighton sea come rain or shine!
Since moving to Brighton I have developed a great love for walking on the South Downs with my family, every time I go I feel immense gratitude to be able to walk among such striking, natural beauty, I take the time to connect with my surroundings, the earth, my breath and take it all in, I often take my shoes off and do something called ‘earthing’, which is reconnecting my body to the earth. Having been born and raised in London living near somewhere like the South Downs is undeniably something I will never take for granted.
Book your space online to take part in Emma’s Kundalini yoga class, Tuesdays at 7pm.