Updated: Oct 24, 2022
Kundalini means a coil or a ring or a dormant serpent-coiled energy that is located near the base of the spine. In Sanskrit, the word Kundal means circular; it can be a ring or an ornament. In the yogic tradition, Kundalini means snake symbol for that unmanifested or spiritual energy within your body. Kundalini is dormant and this energy is something that is innate in every human being but one has to make an effort to uncoil this energy. So when you uncoil this giant energy then you come in direct contact with this divine energy. This serpent or coiled energy when not flowing is revolving from near mooldhara chakra. When it gets awakened it finds its way through the Sushumna Nadi and finds its way to the crown chakra. So when you get to connect with this energy and activate it this can lead to an eternal state of bliss.
Kundalini yoga is the practice of awakening that giant force within us and connecting centers with our higher self. The awakening of this Kundalini energy up to the spine are the energy centres which are called chakras. When you start manifesting this energy you become able to harness its own spiritual energies and through, the practice of Kundalini yoga we can unite this consciousness with divine consciousness. This awakening of the chakras is done by the regular practice of pranayama, meditation, yoga asana, bandhas, mudra and mantra chanting.
Kundalini yoga is also known as the yoga of awareness. This technology precisely and consciously combines breath, mudra (hand postures), eye-focus, mantra, body locks, and postures to balance the glandular system, strengthen the nervous system, expand lung capacity and purify the blood. It brings total balance to all aspects of your being. It is a wonderful practice for those living a modern lifestyle to help them feel clear, focused, calm and steady in a relatively short period of time.
Types of Kundalini
There are basically two types of Kundalini yoga: traditional Kundalini yoga and the other one is Yogi Bhajan Kundalini Yoga. Let's unravel both of these ones by one:
1. Traditional Kundalini Yoga
The traditional Kundalini yoga is explained in Hatha Yoga Pradipika, which includes asana, breathing exercises or pranayama, mudra, bandhas, and meditation in a more systematic manner. The practice of ancient hatha yoga is not a series of stretching yoga postures more about a practice that prepares our body for seated meditation and is very energetically. Hatha yoga poses are designed in such a way that they clean and enliven our energy channels and centers. The very first goal of Kundalini yoga teacher's training is to remove our old blockages and practicing hatha yoga is a very crucial step in preparing our body both for meditation and energetically for Kundalini yoga.
2. Yogi Bhajan’s Kundalini Yoga (Modern Kundalini Yoga)
Yogi Bhajan was a Sikh and he blended Kundalini yoga and Sikhism together. For this purpose, he used Kirtan from Sikhism and yoga techniques from Kundalini yoga. The techniques of Kundalini yoga are called Kriya, which is a combination of intense breathing, body movements and awareness or meditation.
What are the benefits of doing Kundalini yoga?
Kundalini yoga has many benefits, some of which are similar to other forms of yoga, for example feeling more calm, relaxed, and clear. What makes Kundalini so dynamic and diverse is that it will give you a profound deep experience every time you practice it. Kundalini works to balance the glandular system, strengthens the nervous system, and enables us to harness the energy of the mind and emotions, so we can be in control of ourselves, rather than being controlled by thoughts and feelings.
What a Kundalini class incorporates are things like chanting, breathing exercises, and quick, repetitive movements.
In Kundalini yoga we practice what is called Kriyas. A Kriya will include postures, breathing techniques, mantras, meditations and deep relaxation all put together very strategically to achieve a specific result. There are Kriyas for everything from balancing digestive troubles to healing emotional fears. These Kriyas help balance the physical body and clear the mind to bring in more focus, calm, health, and vitality.
What are the common misconceptions about Kundalini?
A common misconception about Kundalini yoga is that it can be too intense. This misconception just reflects the high energy and direct impact of the practice—Kundalini is safe and effective. It is a very healing, relaxing, and rejuvenating form of yoga. The beauty of Kundalini is that each person has an experience of their own. Some days the practice may feel more intense depending on what someone is working through in their life, and some days it can feel like the most blissful thing. However, with daily practice, the values and benefits become much more clearer. You will consistently feel more calm, confident, clear, and bright.
Things you can do outside of your practice to enhance your Kundalini?
There are many things we can do outside our practice to enhance the experience of Kundalini. Developing a yogic lifestyle is one of the best things to do for any yoga practice. This includes being in nature at least a few times a week, eating a healthy diet and surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family. Developing a home practice will also allow you to keep up with your life and responsibilities in a positive and calm way.
Advice for Beginners or people who may have taken Kundalini before but really want to unlock their full potential?
For anyone who has not taken a Kundalini yoga class before, I encourage you to try it for yourself. There are no levels and all are welcome. It's for everyone to do and benefit from. My advice is to be open and willing to experience yoga. As with anything new, you may question it and not fully understand what it is all about, but I guarantee it will help you feel better if you commit to doing your best. For those who want to enhance their practice, I recommend starting a home practice outside of the group class. It can be as short as a 3-minute meditation to start. You will get to really experience just how effective Kundalini is and the gifts it can bring to your life and your loved ones.
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