I was a skeptic. I’d heard all about how magical and transformative Kundalini yoga is, but somehow never felt compelled to give it a go.
Since I’m a writer and believe in writing from experience, I decided to finally take a Kundalini class.
It knocked me sideways and shocked my system. I have never left a yoga class or any other experience with such a lightness and giddy sense I’d stumbled into something that would irrevocably change my whole perspective on how I cope with and experience life.
Kundalini yoga really is that deep
And now I get why people often have trouble explaining Kundalini yoga. How do you find the words to label something that touches you on levels you’ve never quite located before? I’m very new at this, so perhaps the effects don’t land quite so intensely after a while. Although, talking to others after class leads me to believe I’m not alone in my excitement. They too are thrilled they’ve found this practice and want to share it with as many other people as they can compel to try it.
Kundalini yoga basics
First, a brief primer about Kundalini, or ‘The Yoga of Awareness’. There are no strict dogmas or philosophies. The goal of the Kundalini yoga practice is to help each individual reach their higher self and to connect on a deeper level. There’s lots of room for interpretation and creativity in the delivery of a Kundalini yoga class. There are mantras, chanting, mudras, kriyas (Sanskrit for ‘effort’ or ‘action’ kriyas are a meditation technique of energy and breath control), asanas, and meditations to uplift us and encourage self-awareness and a stronger sense of connection to self and the world around us.
Kundalini yoga was brought to the U.S. by Yogi Bhajan in the late 60’s. A basic Kundalini yoga class is typically structured by beginning with chanting, breath work, and gentle movement. The middle phase is more dynamic asana and breathing techniques. The last portion of the class is meditation and rest.
Sounds pretty fab, does it not? Attending a Kundalini yoga practice with others heightens the experience, as any class does. But chanting, mantras, mudras, and involved kriyas that aim to harmonize our energy systems have a powerful accumulative effect that’s very different from other asana practices. Incorporating Kundalini into your home practice might be the very best way to get yourself to practice even more.
Kundalini is a Sanskrit word that translates into ‘coiled snake’. The idea is to wake up dormant energy sources within and get them talking to one another and working together.
There are numerous reasons Kundalini yoga is growing in popularity
Let’s focus on just a few of the emotional benefits of this practice. Yes, we all want our central nervous system to function well. Of course, we care deeply about digestion and that everything works well there. This practice is credited with so much good and looking at all the ways it can benefit our health is both amazing and overwhelming.
We’ve come to grips with the fact that our emotional health is suffering. We know we need more effective ways for feeling as balanced and grateful as we possibly can find. Kundalini is focused on enlightenment and the obtainment of spiritual awakening. Here are just a few ways that plays into your happiness and contentment:
- Calming energy goes hand in hand with a deeper understanding of ourselves. When we take on our truths and treat them with love and respect versus judgment and criticism, we can relax into who we truly are and connect with our dharma.
- Effort pays off. When we try something new, we let go of old stories and they diminish in power. But this requires new ideas, practices, and an open mind. Removing obstacles creates new roads and clearer paths towards understanding and wisdom. Kundalini yoga is a very different type of yoga practice. Willingness to make room for a practice that encourages more emotional and spiritual work will bring you different gifts than those you receive from a more rigorous practice, such as Vinyasa yoga.
- Meditation works. I promise. It works for everyone and you can move and chant while you meditate. It doesn’t have to look one way. Many yoga practices don’t prioritize meditation and the other practices that connect us to our more subtle bodies the way Kundalini yoga does.
The innumerable new experiences awaiting us beckons. You have everything to gain. Scratch the surface with us and share what you learn!