There are many styles of yoga that we can find today. Some more traditional, and some contemporary. Furthermore, some emphasize the use of the body, others the use of the voice or mind. Kundalini yoga (we feel) is often lost in the vast array of evolved styles.
For thousands of years, the practice was passed on from master to disciple. In 1968 Master Yogi Bhajan began teaching it publicly in the United States. Breaking a tradition of secrecy, and making it accessible to anyone from this time, forward.
What is Kundalini Yoga:
Kundalini yoga is a blend of yogic practices, aimed at preparing the body, mind and nervous system for the increase of energy in the body. Kundalini yoga is said to help dormant energy to awaken (Kundalina Shakti), energy coiled at the base of your spine. Opening your chakras. In this way, energy can now flow freely throughout the body, and enhance your own awareness.
What can Kundalina yoga be like?
Sometimes, a more intense physical practice than a day in the gym. It can be songs that leave a mark on your soul. Furthermore, intense meditations to really get inside yourself (awareness). Kundalini Yoga brings light into our shadows and awakens the energy of our consciousness to develop a more intuitive and ready mind.
This form of yoga can include; chanting (mantras), singing, breathing exercises, and poses.
As beforementioned, in the Western world, Kundalini yoga is known thanks to the intense work of Yogi Bhajan, after centuries in which this practice was transmitted only in secret from the master to the chosen student. From its origins directly in the sacred books of tradition, Kundalini Yoga had never been taught publicly. However, Yogi Bhajan gave his knowledge to the world by proclaiming that health, happiness and the sacred, are everyone’s birthright. Kundalini yoga is the way to affirm this right.
What does the word Kundalini mean?
From Sanskrit Kundal, masculine means “circular” or “snake coiled”. Kundali, feminine “ring or twisted rope”. The term Kundalini indicates an intangible energy located at the base of the spinal column. Thus, represented or conceptualized with a snake wrapped in itself, sleeping at the base of the spine, in the seat of the first chakra. This lying or dormant energy is our life energy.
Kundalini Yoga tends to prepare the body for the awakening of this energy. The “serpent” rising through the 6 chakras within the spine, towards the crown of the head (seventh chakra).
Key Terms To know Within Kundalini Yoga:
Kriyas can be a combination of asanas, pranayama, hand positions (mudras), sounds and meditation. The sequences are paired with a breathing technique (pranayama). Kriya means “action”. It is through these actions where one can block certain energy flows, or intensify pose effects. A kriya can act on the mind, body or spirit.
These are simply hand gestures or hand positions. Oftentimes, done completing a Kriya. These mudras reflect an ability to dictate energy into different parts of the body or brain. For example, a specific mudra may help to stimulate relaxation, or knowledge, or even opening up pathways of better communication.
Positive affirmations in the way of chanting. This is mantras. Again, a way in which to help influence both the brain and body, potentially, affecting mood or a certain way of feeling. Oftentimes, these mantras are repeated in a way to transcend and focus the mind. In addition, mantras help to achieve a better sense or level of awareness.
What should I expect from kundalini yoga for beginners?
- Pranayama (breathing techniques),
- Asanas (postures),
- Chants, Kriya (purification techniques),
- practice of Bandhas (energy seals)
- and Mudra (hand or whole body gestures)
These practices can be encountered in a Kundalini yoga lesson. Oftentimes, this style of yoga is much more specific than a yoga class of other styles.
The purpose of kundalini yoga for beginners is to prepare the body for Kundalini awakening. Then generate energy. Lastly, organizing it in the body and bringing the practitioner to a specific energy state of greater consciousness.
KY (Kundalini Yoga) has even showed promised for decreasing stress and anxiety levels. A small research study in 2017 concluded immediate reductions in salivary cortisol levels in participants and lessoned perceived stress over a 3 moth time span.
Another study suggested the use of KY for GAD or generalized anxiety disorder. Specifically, a way in which to reduce symptom severity.
Should I wear white for a Kundalini Yoga class?
Yes! In Kundalini yoga classes, practitioners are seen dressed in flowing robes, bodysuits and white turbans. It is not an obligation, but a choice dictated by the search for energy expansion. Each color is energy that creates an effect in the subconscious. The white color gives a sense of inspiration, and expands one’s aura.
Each class has a different purpose. Kundalini yoga has few limitations. Personal growth, creation, healing and openness is not beyond the realm of possibilities. It is a powerful spiritual practice that opens the doors to every practitioner providing physical, mental, energetic and emotional well-being.
Contrarily, the practice does not have to be religious in nature. It is a spiritual practice. Moreover, an awakening of the soul, regardless of which religious affiliation or non-affiliation the practitioner has.
This sense of lightness and strength, of intuition and vision, can create a state in the practitioner where more is to be desired.
Our advice is to progressively work your way into the practice. Thus, following the instructions of a certified teacher capable of such guidance.