Kundalini Yoga: Unfurl Your Inner Energy
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What’s your vibration? If you hope to raise it, you might want to try kundalini yoga.
Kundalini yoga isn’t quite as physical as other styles, although you will still flow through asanas as part of complete kriyas. However, many refer to this form as the most powerful. It’s even considered dangerous by some practitioners because of its ability to release energy and potential stored deep within the body.
Are you curious to learn more about this spiritual yoga style? Here’s what you should know about unfurling the energy within through kundalini yoga and tips for starting your practice.
The History and Philosophy of Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini yoga originates in antiquity, with the first mention of the practice appearing in ancient Vedic texts. Original gurus passed the knowledge through word of mouth, in methods similar to those used to educate Jesus and the Buddha. The yogi Bhajan brought it to America in the late 60s, where it acquired a following in places like Los Angeles and New York.
Kundalini yoga includes the following six primary components:
- Opening chant: This creates the correct mood and mindset for your practice.
- Pranayama: This focuses on breathwork with coordinated spinal movements to stretch while practicing breath control.
- Kriyas: Kriyas consist of a combination of poses, breath work, mudras (hand positions), mantras and meditation.
- Relaxation: You rest after each kriya to absorb the effects.
- Meditation: Generally a guided version to cultivate awareness.
- Closing chant: Honoring your practice.
One key difference between kundalini yoga and other forms is the emphasis on sounds or mantras. Unlike styles like Ashtanga, where practitioners speak Sanskrit, kundalini chants are performed in the Sikh language, Gurmukhi. Some common ones include:
- Sat Nam: I am.
- Ong Namu Guru Dev Namo: I bow to the divine teacher within.
- Ong So Hung: Creator, I am thou.
Kundalini translates to “coiled snake” in Sanskrit. It believes everyone has a serpent of energy at the base of their spine. This practice strives to unfurl it and send the power upward through your seven chakras or energy centers running from the bottom of your spine through the crown of your head.
What to Expect From a Kundalini Yoga Class
Kundalini yoga classes typically take place in dedicated studios and retreat centers. Your guide should take the time to introduce you to the various components of the different kriyas. All of the following elements must come together as you perform each kriya to create the desired effect of releasing your potential energy trapped within:
- Asanas refer to traditional yoga postures, many of which mirror those used in Hatha and other styles. You don’t perform quite as many in a typical kundalini class, and you must coordinate your movements with the other elements for them to work.
- Mantras: Prepare to chant — a lot — in your first kundalini class. Your guide will instruct you how to let the sounds reverberate through your body to produce healing and enlightenment.
- Bandhs: Similar to Bandhas in the Astanga tradition, these refer to body locks and bindings.
- Pranayama: Breathing techniques. It is essential to follow the correct breathing pattern as you practice the asanas in kundalini.
- Mudras: These refer to hand gestures that seal in the energy.
- Meditation: Contemplation and relaxation occur throughout your kundalini practice, although you will go through a guided version at the end to help you attain deeper enlightenment.
3 Tips for Starting Your Kundalini Yoga Practice
What are some tips for starting a successful kundalini practice? Here’s what you should know.
1. Wear White
White clothing helps to protect your aura. Think of how wearing white clothing on a summer’s day is typically the coolest choice because it reflects the sun’s rays instead of absorbing them. Wearing white during your practice likewise deflects outside energies to allow you to go deep inside yourself. It also protects your aura against the negativity of the outside world.
2. Find the Right Practice
You won’t find kundalini yoga listed on the class schedules of many mainstream gyms. You’ll need to find a dedicated studio using a worldwide directory to locate licensed teachers.
Fortunately, you can also begin your kundalini practice solo, although it’s advisable to do so under the tutelage of an experienced guide. You’ll find free videos on YouTube and an online listing of classes and programs for those who want to elevate their practice through a subscription.
3. Keep an Open, Spiritual Mindset
Kundalini yoga isn’t only about releasing the coiled energy within to activate your chakras. It’s also about getting in touch with the higher power inside yourself — which is why some practitioners consider it potentially dangerous. Without guidance, it’s easy to fall prey to destructive energies, thoughts and behaviors.
Keep an open mind with the highest spiritual good as your goal. The only way to attain true personal enlightenment is to recognize the divinity inherent in all living things, cultivating a sense of gentleness, compassion and gratitude in your words and deeds.
Kundalini Yoga — Attaining Enlightenment Through Energy Release
What would you do if you could maximize your potential? Kundalini yoga provides the tools to release the energy trapped within.
Begin your kundalini journey and explore the magic that can happen when you combine movement with intention, sound and breath. You’ll nurture your physical self through gentle movement while attaining spiritual enlightenment.