Amrit Vela

Amrit vela…the ambrosial hours. Those hours just before sunrise when, in the words of Yogi Bhajan, one decides to live or die. It is a very special space, one in which the possibilities of the day are completely open and nothing seems out of reach.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.

                                                       ~ The Breeze at Dawn, Rumi

Yogi Bhajan defined amrit vela as the hours in the morning and the evening when the sun strikes the earth at 60 degrees. More traditionally, the day is divided into eight “peh” of three hours each. Amrit vela is the fourth peh, between the hours of 3:00 and 6:00 AM. In kundalini yoga, it is the ideal time for morning meditation. My bedroom faces east, and I am naturally a “morning person”, so it is easy for me to greet the rising sun. There is a core practice that only takes about twenty minutes. I do that, at a minimum, every morning…no exceptions. On weekends when there is more time available, other elements can be added to stretch the practice out to about an hour.

In the summer months, I start off with a cold shower to get the blood flowing through the capillaries. In winter, I make do with just splashing cold water on myself. The spinal awakening series series follows to stretch out the kinks and get an energy flow going. The mantra for the meditation itself can be anything, but my “go to” is the Mul Mantra.

Mantras in kundalini yoga are  frequently recorded as songs. That makes them much easier to learn, at least for me, because I can just listen to them outside of meditation and learn them almost subliminally. The first thing most people want to know when they hear a mantra in Sanskrit or Punjabi is what the words mean. I got some really solid advice on that when I first started out doing mantra meditations. Find what the words mean once to satisfy your curiosity, then forget about it. The key to any meditation is intention. Words can get in the way of that, and they take on different meanings with context anyway.

Mul mantra is followed by a series of pranayama, or breath exercises. The practice closes with recitations of the Guyatri mantra. Also known as the Savitri mantra, it is a highly revered mantra from the Rig Veda dedicated to Savitir, a form of the sun. A fitting conclusion to a journey begun at sunrise!





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