Kum nye is a yoga and meditation practice. It is a true yoga in the sense that the word ‘yoga’ comes from the root meaning ‘to yoke together’: kum nye provides tools to bring mind and body together into harmonious, balanced connection. It helps us arrive at our natural state of being.
Originally from Tibet, kum nye is gradually spreading through Western countries, systematised and presented for our own requirements and culture. The main Tibetan teacher who has pioneered bringing kum nye into the West today is Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, who lives in California and has been sharing this approach since the 1970’s.
The Tibetan words 'kum nye' literally mean ‘massaging’ (nye) the ‘subtle body’ (the ku). The subtle body is our energetic body or body of sensations and feelings. It is our direct experience of embodiment. The practice uses a variety of approaches to work with the subtle body, including movement, breath and voice techniques, self-massage and visualization.
In the main part, we repeat simple movements and postures which have a surprisingly deep effect – because they are done using an increasingly meditative and relaxed frame of mind.
A session will also include ‘rest’ periods of meditation - either standing, sitting or lying down - when the effects of the practice are given time to expand and deepen. This process gradually allows harmony and equilibrium to pervade the system again. It integrates our energies and brings peace and calm, whilst at the same time revitalising us and clearing away dullness.
The background of this discipline includes both the Tibetan Buddhist and medical traditions. Traditionally these exercises are used as healing exercises and as preparation for more-sustained meditation. In themselves, they can provide a vital ingredient to help us remain relaxed and embodied, healthy and clear-minded, in today’s busy world.
We generally hold courses of weekly classes in Oxford, as well as workshops spaced through the year. The workshops allow us to go a little deeper into the practice and can be a restorative tonic over a weekend, while weekly regular practice will keep us topped up. There are also online classes available for anyone to join.
"Relaxation is a gentle healing system that relieves stress, transforms negative patterns, helps us to be more balanced and healthy, and increases our enjoyment and appreciation of life. In these times when confusion and chaos are a part of daily activity, we are often too tense and charged up to enjoy life. Kum nye opens our senses and our hearts so that we feel satisfied and fulfilled and can appreciate more fully every aspect of our lives. Even in a short time, the quality of experience can be enriched and our lives grow more harmonious."
Tarthang Tulku introducing kum nye, from 'Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga'
© Mary Heneghan
BA(Hons), MA, MSc, Lic Ac, MBAcC
Member of the British Acupuncture Council