Gwenn Agiapal is self-proclaimed brain geek who applies a scientific mindset to the yoga practice she shares with students, using gentle movement and meditation to promote wellness and relaxation.
“When you see the studies, it’s astonishing to see the benefits from this kind of yoga,” she said.
Agiapal is teaching free Kundalini yoga classes at 6 pm Tuesdays at The Well, 210 S. James Garner Ave., Norman. While modifications are available in most yoga classes, this class is particularly accessible.
“Many of the movements are things that anyone can do,” she said. “If needed, you can do it from a chair. Most people have come to me because of an injury. “
People can use blocks or chairs and reactivate those parts of the body that were shut down, bringing relief.
“You always leave the class feeling better than when you came in. Even if you can’t do all of the movements, you can do the breath, ”she said. “There is one breath called breath of fire, which is a signature breath that dumps carbon dioxide and makes oxygen available to the brain, and you can immediately think better.”
Agiapal learned about The Well and its mission from a friend and realized The Well’s commitment to accessibility and wellness fit with her need to share the Kundalini yoga practice and her commitment to a healthy lifestyle, including the fresh, local food that will be available at the Farm Market and through cooking classes.
“I am so excited about The Well,” she said. “It is a nice hub for wellness. I’m a vegetarian, and I’ll be growing my own garden again, so I’ll be comparing notes with the farmers here, and I’m looking forward to that. “
Agiapal has taught in schools, prisons and an addiction recovery workshop since taking SuperHealth addiction recovery training in 2013. Her Art and Yoga workshops combine 40 years as a visual artist with Kundalini Yoga.
“It seems like everyone either comes to Kundalini through inspiration or desperation, and it was more desperation for me,” she said. “It has served me well. I have been doing this yoga since 1999 and have been a certified teacher since 2005. “
An artist, Agiapal was traveling from festival to festival, keeping a strenuous schedule that included long hours on a chair, painting on the spot. While she believes all yoga helps keep the spine in shape, she had trouble sleeping, despite her yoga practice.
“When I found Kundalini yoga and discovered you could sing – it’s mostly chanted meditations – I immediately took to the sound current as a tool,” she said. “It’s basically energy management. This tradition that I’m a part of has hundreds of kriyas, or groups of exercises that you can use to move the meridians. “
This allows practiciners to individualize practices to suit individual needs.
“These chanted patterns, movements and meditations affect us by releasing the inner energy of awareness needed to guide us through the sea of change we are going through now,” Agiapal said.
Please bring yoga or exercise mats if you have one and plan to be on the floor, as supplies are limited. Residents may sign up at thewellok.org/all-classes.