Of all the popular forms of yoga today, Kundalini might be one of the least-understood. With its chanting and talk about chakras, the practice may seem somewhat different or odd to yoga newbies.
But people have actually been practicing Kundalini yoga for thousands of years. This unique brand of yoga was introduced to the U.S. in the ’60s by Yogi Bhajan. Since then, it continues to grow more popular.
If you want to expand your horizons and perhaps grow spiritually and physically, you may want to consider giving Kundalini a shot. Read on to discover if this practice might make sense for you.
Kundalini Energy, Chakras and Kriyas
Kundalini got its name from the form of energy said to be located at the base of the spine in Dharma teaching. The goal of practicing Kundalini is to release this normally-dormant energy.
Practitioners of Kundalini believe that the body contains seven energy centers (chakras) in the body that have deep spiritual meaning. The study of chakras is more complicated than we can get into here, but the basic idea is that Kundalini is meant to remove any energy blocks between them.
Removing these energy blocks leads to an expanded state of consciousness, known as the yoga of awareness. However, releasing this energy takes lots of practice. When done correctly, you will feel a warming sensation flowing through your spine.
Whether you are spiritual or not, this powerful meditation technique can have benefits such as quitting bad habits, relieving stress, or making important decisions.
Another element worth understanding are Kriyas – combinations of different poses, movements, breaths, and chants done for a specific purpose. Some Kriyas help wake you up, others help you fall asleep, and others have various purposes. If you would like to view some of these Kriyas to understand them better, check out this article.
What You Can Expect from a Kundalini Yoga Class
A Kundalini yoga class may be a complete different than any yoga class you have ever experienced. The main warm-up usually focuses on breathing, including panting, breath of fire, and alternate nostril breathing. Many times the warm-up features chants, meditation, and basic exercises to get energy and blood flowing.
After warming up, you will typically do a specific Kriya. Once the Kriya finishes, most classes close with chants and meditation. Every class differs, since so many different movements and postures exist within Kundalini. You won’t get the full picture until you’ve tried it.
Why You Should Consider Trying It
While Kundalini yoga is a deeply religious experience for many practitioners of Dharmic religions, it can still serve as a powerful tool for even the most secular people. You can even skip the chanting if it feels weird, but doing some of the basic movements, breathing techniques, and meditation are extremely beneficial for your mobility, stress, and energy levels.
If you would like to try it, search for any classes offered in your area. If not, look online for beginner yoga videos. Have fun with it, see what you like, and possibly incorporate it into your yoga workouts.
I have found that just doing a basic 5-10 minute Kundalini yoga warm-up before anything else is extremely powerful. It’s always good to try different styles of yoga, and this one has proven incredible to many for their mind, body, and soul.
For more on Kundalini yoga, consider checking out the book Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power, which appears on our list of the 11 most essential yoga books.
Dustin Holta is a freelance writer based out of Las Cruces, New Mexico .
Photo credit: Creative Commons user 23957129@N05 (no changes made.)