Discover the secrets of Kundalini yoga in our interview with musician and yoga teacher, Maya Fiennes.
50C: When did you first discover yoga? Can you please explain when and how your yogic journey developed.
"I have been doing yoga for 10 years now. I first did Hatha yoga but after a while I wanted to try different styles of yoga, so than my search started, fuelled by the desire for spiritual growth."
"I tried Ashtanga yoga, Bikram, than got into Chi Gong, wing chung and capoeira, still searching for the ultimate. Then a friend told me about Kundalini yoga, and as you can see by now, I have an inquisitive mind, so I had to try that too, and only than my search was over."
50C: Why Kundalini yoga as opposed to other types of yoga?
"It is a very direct way of reaching peace, even after one class you feel the change in your body and mind. You donít have to be flexible or be able to put your body in any uncomfortable position and pretend you are having fun. People are still very scared to try yoga as they always see pictures of yogis in most unusual positions and that doesnít give them confidence to even try it."
"In Kundalini yoga we first work on gently warming up the spine as we release the spinal fluid, with eyes closed, going inwards, so that we make connection with our self, and the essence of who we really are. This manifests our potential as human beings, and then we chant because that opens the door to meditation."
"Music is also very important and as a musician, that was very interesting to me. I design and play the music for every class, and play gong at the end for deep relaxation. The inspiration for the music is the desire for Union, to become One with the force within. Every class is different and so it is never boring for me. It is quite challenging, as I have to prepare every class and always learning new sets."
50C: Kundalini yoga focuses on the chakras. Can you explain what are the principles behind opening your chakras and sending energy up the spine?
"I start with the base chakra to clear all our basic survival issues and our fears. Then I clear our emotions with the second chakra, manifesting our desires and dreams with third chakra, opening the heart - the 4th chakra - which is very needed now in order to go into the Aquarian Age with love. We then focus on speaking the truth with clearing the fifth chakra at the throat, opening the vision by stimulating the pituitary gland with the 6th chakra - also known as the third eye - and finally making connection with the Universe, encouraging that Union through the crown chakra - the 7th chakra, and union is what Yoga means."
"When we donít have blockages in our charkas, than we are awaken, aware and manifest our power and our Kundalini energy. We send energy up the spine and we feel we can do or be anything we want, we feel what it means to be One with the Universal power, and then everything in life just flows and you donít get stressed about silly things. You handle life in much more relaxed way."
50C: Why is it an ideal form of yoga for the over 50s?
"It can help to get over the menopause period more easily because it works on balancing all the hormones in the body. It slows down the ageing process as the release of spinal fluid is directly responsible for ageing, minimize hot flushes and change of moods. Kundalini is actually ideal for all ages, including young children. I teach in schools in Switzerland, age 8-18 and I was very surprised to see how well they received it. It makes them very calm, more focused and their increases their learning abilities."
50C: The music you create to accompany your yoga is, of course, very different from your training as a concert pianist. How have the two styles complimented or affected each other?
"I realize that my scales as a concert pianist help me to express my deepest feelings much easily when I compose music for opening the heart and singing to God. Also, the focus I have from yoga means I can play the piano more softly and for many more hours at a time than I could before because I just donít get tired."
"Everything is connected when you open all your creative channels by opening your charkas, everything you do in life will start making sense and you will see connection. I never thought that I would be teaching yoga as I was a musician all my life, but now I defiantly see the connection between the two. Teaching for me is like performing."
You can find out more about Maya and her yoga teaching by visiting her website. She is also setting up a yoga centre in Spain, starting from June. For further information visit www.mayaspace.com