What is Kundalini Yoga?
More of an ancient technology than a yoga, yet totally relevant to our modern world, Kundalini is an awesome and dynamic blend of physical postures, breathing, movement, stretching, meditation, mantras and relaxation. It activates the glandular and strengthens the nervous systems, expands the lung capacity and purifies the bloodstream by incorporating physical, mental and spiritual aspects of yoga into one cohesive and integrated system. The combination of all this brings balance to the body, mind and soul.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KUNDALINI AND OTHER FORMS OF YOGA
Yoga has dozens of variations in philosophy and style. While some Yoga (like Bikram) are structured as a physical workout, others (like Jivamukti) put an emphasis on meditation. Kundalini Yoga is little of both, with an added emphasis on consciousness. Compared to other forms of Yoga, it has a much broader emphasis on breathing, meditation, hand positions (mudras), chanting (mantra), and spirituality. It is said that the benefits of Kundalini manifest 16 times faster than with other styles of yoga. A few other distinguishing factors are:
- In Kundalini, the teacher generally wears white and sometimes covers his/her head.
- The teacher will not touch you to make a correction
- The teacher generally sits in the front of the class and instructs with verbal and sometimes physical cues. (Most students go through the class with eyes shut to keep the focus internally
Kundalini Yoga is for everyone. If you can breathe and lean in the right direction, you can benefit, regardless of age, fitness level or occupation. Best of all, no experience or flexibility is required. Worth noting: some of the more advanced sequences can be intense and physically demanding.
THE OBJECTIVES OF KUNDALINI
“The primary objective [of Kundalini] is to awaken the full potential of human awareness in each individual; that is, recognize our awareness, refine that awareness, and expand that awareness to our unlimited Self. Clear any inner duality, create the power to deeply listen, cultivate inner stillness, and prosper and deliver excellence in all that we do.”
Both safe and effective, Kundalini Yoga is the ideal form of yoga for people who want both an immediate feel good effect and also the long term benefits offered by a relaxed and uplifted consciousness. Over time, you can uplift and train yourself for success and excellence in life. All of us have the energy of the Kundalini flowing through our bodies. However, often this flow is little more than a trickle. Regular practice can turn this trickle into a stream then river, tapping into your reservoir of previously dormant energy, creativity and consciousness.
It is said that Kundalini takes you from where you are, to where you want to go. With regular practice, you may feel:
- More balanced, productive, creative, and relaxed while being less affected by the stresses of life.
- That energy is boosted while enjoying greater levels of physical well-being
- Increased intuitive abilities while being able to attract new opportunities.
- Enhanced self-discovery
KUNDALINI YOGA AND RELIGION?
The practice is fundamentally non-religious, and suitable for those of all faiths OR none. It provides a firm inner foundation for a spiritual life, awakening your soul and spirit, no matter which religion, if any, you may choose to follow.
About Practicing Kundalini
GOOD TO KEEP IN MIND FOR STUDENTS
- Please let your teacher know about any physical limitations.
- Drink water before during and after class
- Wear comfortable clothes, preferably natural fibres and light in colour
- Kundalini is non-competitive. Most do their practice with eyes closed keeping the focus internal
- Do your best. Today’s best is tomorrows minimum
- Relax and be carried by the process – it’s been around for thousands of years!
- Be ready to have “your buttons gently pushed!” As one of my students exclaimed after her first lesson “this is a workout for your energy as well!”. Expect “buttons to get gently pushed” as you work through any personal physical, mental, emotion or spiritual blockages. The mat and the classroom are safe spaces to let go of what is no longer serving you. While the process of “house cleaning” can be challenging or and tiring, the results are very liberating.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN A 1-HOUR KUNDALINI CLASS?
A short series of gentle physical exercises and breathing techniques designed to help bring your focus to yourself. Approx. 10 minutes.
A short mantra to “open the energetic space” and prepare your mind body and spirit for class. 5 minutes
This is the yoga sequence part, where the teacher will guide you through a set of physical postures. Each set or Kriya will have a specific intent, be it physiological, emotional, mental or spiritual such as stress relief, harmonizing body, mind and soul, or enhanced personal boundaries. The pace is adapted to the class and the teacher will provide alternate positions should some prove challenging.
This is a very important part of the set. When we are totally relaxed, we can integrate the benefits of the Kriya and prepare for meditation.
This part brings awareness and control of our thoughts through specific breathing techniques or mantras. Practically speaking the teacher will guide you through. Expect it to be either 3 or 11 minutes.
A short song or series of “Sat Nam’s” to close the energetic space and prepare to return to daily life.
What makes Kundalini class different?
- The teacher generally stays at the front of the class to hold the space and instructs through verbal and visual cues.
- There is less chance of injury as the instructor will not touch you to make a correction.
- Your eyes are closed for most of the seated postures. This is to encourage an inward focus.Music is played throughout the class.
- Everything we do is based on awareness of breath, focus and movement.
- The teacher is usually dressed in white.