Spring is like a mini-New Year’s Eve when it comes to resolutions about health, happiness and fitness. Everyone has the best intentions with regards to living a healthier life, but how to get started? Lululemon, home of stylish athletic apparel, offers a rotating array of free classes taught by East End teachers at its East Hampton location. Local yoga guru Jen Frasher is the featured instructor for April, teaching vinyasa flow classes on Sundays at 11:30 a.m. and gong meditation (Kundalini yoga) on Thursdays at 6 p.m., easily facilitating an introduction to a healthier lifestyle.
Frasher explains the benefits of enhancing meditation by utilizing the sound of the gong, describing the sensation as a sound bath. “The gong washes your subconscious out, getting rid of old patterns, and it does it very quickly. You feel alive, happy, awake and ready to live your life.”
The gong meditation class is a great introduction for beginners. Frasher advises that attendees wear comfortable clothing. Practitioners of Kundalini yoga wear white, as it is considered the color of purity, but beginners should feel free to wear whatever makes them feel comfortable. “There is a little bit of warm-up and a little bit of breathing, and anywhere from 11 to 31 minutes of lying on the ground and relaxing to the sound of the gong,” says Frasher about the class.
Frasher is well aware that many people might find the idea of spending a half hour lying still listening to a gong daunting. “I’ve had people fall asleep and start snoring,” she says. “Some people fall asleep, some people have visions, some people just relax. It’s all fine. We have a concept of what meditation is like, and it doesn’t have to be that way.”
Born in Germany, Frasher grew up in Sag Harbor. Her own introduction to Kundalini yoga, which is also called the yoga of awareness, came when she was living in New York City, studying photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She took a Kundalini yoga class and immediately connected to the practice. “I loved it,” Frasher says. “It was my thing that got me through my week.” Even when her life got busy, and Frasher took a little time away from her yoga mat, she found herself returning to class. “After a while, my teacher would ask me, ‘when are you going to become a Kundalini yoga teacher?’”
From that first introduction at the age of 19, Frasher continued to study, practice and learn. Now she teaches both adults and children, in various aspects of yoga, including Hatha Yoga and Kundalini yoga. Rather than just adhere to one style, she likes being able to adapt to an individual’s needs. She’s particularly excited about the introductory class in gong meditation at Lululemon because of the benefits she has observed. “It keeps you youthful. You definitely play the age-guessing game.”
Kundalini yoga was introduced to the United States in 1968 by Yogi Bhajan. Although any kind of practice takes time to develop and deepen, one of the things Frasher appreciates about gong meditation is how quickly it facilitates the meditative process “It takes people about 30 to 90 seconds to surrender to the gong because you’re not trying to do anything—the gong is so powerful, you just surrender to it. You can do years and years of therapy, but at the end of the day, Kundalini yoga will move you through those blocks so much faster.”
In her own life, Frasher has observed many positive changes as a result of Kundalini yogas. “It seems like the days are easier, which adds to me feeling happier and healthier,” she says. “It challenges you mentally, and will give you the energy that you need to achieve whatever you need to do.” For many people, Kundalini yoga provokes a strong emotional response, and Frasher admits, “You’re going to have to look at yourself. Not everyone wants to do that. Just practice and see what happens.”
Classes are held in the loft at Lululemon, 35 Main Street, East Hampton. Visit lululemon.com/stores/us/east-hampton/easthampton or call 631-324-4792.