What is Kundalini Yoga? Simply put: It is the yoga of awareness, namely self-awareness. First introduced to the West by Yogi Bhajan, a Master of Kundalini Yoga, in Los Angeles in 1969, the practice combines yoga posture, mantra, meditation, mudras (hand positions) and breathing techniques to achieve physical and mental balance. This yogic practice is specifically designed to activate the flow of vital energy, also called kundalini, though the body.
As with other types of yoga, the key is to listen to your body to discover what series of postures, also known as kryas, work best for you. So, first things first.
Basics of Kundalini Yoga
Let’s discuss the basics. Generally, Kundalini Yoga classes are comprised of three parts. The class opens with chanting and stretching to warm up, followed by a series of postures and ends with a wind-down and meditation.
There are numerous Kundalini Yoga poses. Depending on the part of the body you’re focusing on, poses can include Triangle, Cow and Downward Facing Dog. However, unlike other yogic traditions Kundalini Yoga places an accentuated focus on the spiritual, the breath, and meditation.
Meditation is often used to awaken one’s Kundalini energy, or life force. This awakening may manifest through visions, spontaneous vocal expression (such as singing or reciting mantras), and uncontrollable physical movements, such as trembling.
Kundalini meditation (or focusing one’s energy on the Kundalini chakra) and yoga align the chakra energies, and also sharpen one’s mental and physical faculties.
Benefits of Kundalini Yoga
People turn to Kundalini Yoga as a form of natural healing, as well as a way to foster overall well-being. The benefits of Kundalini Yoga not only include increased mental focus, balanced energy body and reduced stress, but also:
- increases lung capacity and spine flexibility
- strengthens immune and nervous system function
- normalizes endocrine (glandula) function, and
- promotes joint health
However, although there are numerous benefits, there are also risks. Some Kundalini Yoga dangers can include heart palpitations, headache, pronounced sweating and depression.