The term Kundalini has become a fascinating way to introduce spiritual awakening among yogis, but is it so? If I am new in yoga, how could I get to know about this awakening and kundalini yoga?
Till from the origin of yoga to the day today, dozens of variations in philosophy and style of yoga has seen. Some emphasize on the physical body (Bikram yoga) while others use the concept of mental peace or meditation.
Though, all styles of yoga serve the same destination i.e. uniting one with their real nature.
Between physical & mental paths, Kundalini yoga uses set of practices which begin with physical movements first, then directs physical consciousness inwards into a more subtle level (which we call energy centres of the body).
What Is Kundalini Yoga?
The whole concept of Kundalini yoga revolves around the Sanskrit term “Kundalini“. This term actually is the symbol of unmanifested energy in a person.
- Kundalini is there, within you. Even if you know it theoretically, you can’t feel it & this is why we call it unmanifest energy.
- It’s like non-existent for you, till you do not induce any movement into it.
When we add “yoga” with the term “Kundalini”, It describes a discipline that gives a direction to this unmanifest energy to come out & manifest at its optimum level.
Kundalini yoga is a science of activating the dormant Kundalini energy lies within us. It’s also a preparatory practice which make us strong enough to withstand tremendous energy comes with kundalini awakening.
To arouse the dormant Kundalini energy within us, kundalini yoga comprises various asanas, mantra chanting, breathing exercises, mudras, bandhas & meditation. Once this kundalini awakens, it pierced the chakras (energy centres) one by one, from bottom to top & unites with supreme consciousness at the top of the head.
How Does Kundalini Yoga Works?
To know how kundalini yoga works, the very simple science is how the blocked energy, our postures, breathing & vibrations affect our subtle body system.
In kundalini yoga, our aim is to provide the energy, which lies at the base of the spine, a free, unblocked path to travel upwards to the higher energy centres.
Here’s how it works:
1. Sat Kriya of Kundalini Yoga Clears Energy Blocks
Due to bad postural habits & irregular lifestyle, energy (which supposed to flow freely) gets stuck in many parts of our body & it becomes energy blocks.
So in the very first step of kundalini yoga, by the practice of Sat Kriya, a practitioner aimed to clear energy blockages. Once energy blocks are cleared, the role of yoga postures & bandhas come.
2. Bandhas & Yoga Postures Stimulates Kundalini
Kundalini yoga poses are specially designed in such a way to straighten the spine & create a pressure surrounding our pelvic area (the seat of kundalini energy). Bandhas, on the other side, works as a trigger for this pressure.
Here a straightened spine denotes that kundalini has started exerting pressure from the base & it wants their way (spinal column) to be straight & simple to travel upwards. By the practice of Bandhas with poses in kundalini yoga, we indulge Prana energy into kundalini energy. And thus, Prana works like a combustible source to ignite stimulated kundalini.
It’s like a pressurized gas (Kundalini) in a container, which on coming contact with a matchstick (Prana) becomes inflamed in seconds. In this example, the pressure is being made by yoga poses & ignition takes place through bandhas.
3. Breathing Exercises & Meditation Directs Kundalini Upwards
Once the kundalini activated by yoga poses & bandhas, the role of breathing exercises (Pranayama) begins, in directing it to the higher centres.
Kundalini yoga breathing exercises like long deep breathing, alternate deep breathing, and breath of fire develop awareness around specific energy centres aligned to the spine (also called Chakras). As slowly this awareness gets strong around these chakras, Kundalini found its way to pierce through it.
In this way, this systematic practice of kundalini yoga helps kundalini energy to reach to the highest energy centre (Sahasrara chakra), at the crown of the head) present in the body.
Influence of Kundalini Yoga on Chakras
In kundalini yoga, we can consider Chakras as the steps of a ladder through which kundalini ascends towards its destination. As kundalini begins ascending from its root place, one by one it starts piercing the 7 chakras.
When kundalini passed through a specific chakra, it brings some changes physically, mentally & emotionally, which sometimes also come out as a scary experience.
Here’s how the practice of Kundalini yoga influences each chakra in our body:
1. Mooladhara – Root Chakra
Mooladhara is the root place of Kundalini energy, where it lies in the dormant state (denoted as a coiled serpent). The exact place of kundalini energy in our body is easy to know. Roughly its dominance is found in the pelvic area.
Kundalini yoga helps in the stimulation of this chakra, which results in the awakening of the dormant serpent energy lies within it. This helps in regulations and an advanced functioning of the excretory system.
2. Swadhisthana – Sacral Chakra
Once Kundalini activates, Swadhisthana is the second place of kundalini passing. It is located two inches above the root chakra. This chakra is said to be blocked due to fear, especially the fear of death.
Kundalini yoga involves the mantra chanting and meditation techniques, which help in unblocking this chakra. However, on balance, it makes a practitioner fearless and creative.
3. Manipura – Navel Chakra
Manipura comes at third place as kundalini ascends along the spine.
Kundalini yoga rectifies the hurdles causing its blockage & fills an individual with enthusiasm, self-confidence, wisdom, and spiritual highness.
4. Anahata – Heart Chakra
Anahata chakra is located near the heart, along the line of the spine. This chakra is represented by the lotus flower with 12 petals.
When kundalini passes through the heart chakra, it provokes the qualities of love, kindness, compassion, peace, purity, understanding, empathy, bliss, forgiveness, peace, unity, harmony, etc.
5. Vishuddhi – Throat Chakra
Vishuddhi chakra is located at the throat position in the vicinity of the spine. It is believed that the blockage of this chakra brings death and decay to an individual.
However, practising kundalini yoga under the guidance of a trained master can do wonder to a practitioner. Unblocking or opening of throat chakra transforms the negative experience into wisdom and learning. It also corrects the feeling of guilt, if once opened.
6. Ajna – Third Eye Chakra
Ajna is located in the center of the forehead and between the eyebrows. It signifies the subconscious mind.
Kundalini yoga with the help of breathing techniques, trataka, sambhavi mudra, etc helps in opening of this chakra. This further connects people to their intuition, revelation past and future scenarios.
7. Sahasrara – Crown Chakra
This chakra is located at the top of the head.
Kundalini yoga helps in opening or unblocking this final chakra to generate pure consciousness or bliss in the individual. However, the accomplishment of this chakra induces the state of Nirvikalpa samadhi.
Kundalini Yoga Class, in a Glance
As a beginner in Kundalini yoga, you might have dozens of queries in your mind!
How a kundalini yoga class will look alike? How teachers in class will demonstrate different Kriyas? Would I be comfortable with kundalini yoga poses & what practice will be there in the very beginning of this kundalini yoga class?
All these queries (& might be some different) are very obvious if you know the potential of kundalini yoga techniques & want to try its taste at least once.
Here’s what happens in a Kundalini yoga class:
1. Kundalini Class Would Be Around White Colour, Everything White
The very first thing you’ll observe after entering a kundalini yoga class is the vibes of white colour.
Designing & wearing white clothes in a kundalini yoga class has some interesting reasons. Taking consideration of our physical body, every one of us is concentrically surrounded by sacred energy called the Aura. This prevents us from various negative powers and their influences.
Human has an aura of nine-foot, on wearing white our Aura jumps one more to become ten foot. This extra foot immunize us from being affected by any kind of bad energy.
Wearing white also results in increased awareness. You become more conscious regarding your clothes and their cleanliness.
2. Class Begin With “Adi Mantra” Chanting
“Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo”
Meaning – I bow to the Creative Wisdom, I bow to the Divine Teacher within.
Adi mantra in Kundalini yoga is designed to tune in our body & mind with the vibes of creative wisdom & teachers who gave us this sacred teaching. Yogi Bhajan, founder of Kundalini yoga present this mantra.
Every kundalini class begin after 3 times chanting of this mantra. It’s advised to chant the whole mantra in one breath, which stimulates the internal organ system within us.
Other few mantras involved in the kundalini yoga class:
- “Sat Nam”
This is the beej mantra. Beej means seed, the seed holds the potential to produce life similarly the mantra possesses the power to transform the practitioner life by reaching to its deepest consciousness.
- “Aad Guray Nameh
Jugaad Guray Nameh
Sat Guray Nameh
Siri Guru Dayvay Nameh“
‘Protection’ is what we receive on reciting this mantra. This mantra means that ‘I bow to the greatest wisdom of all’
3. Physical Movements Performed as Kriyas
Kriyas in Kundalini yoga are a set of different practices, includes physical movement in the form poses & mudras, whereas mental exercises practices in the form of mantra chanting & meditation.
A thing should be note down here, In kundalini yoga, postures (or any physical movement) are performed delicately with silent mantra chanting.
Some kundalini yoga kriyas are:
Hast kriya – Hand Activities
It is said that on performing this kriya the practitioner experiences the vitality of the nervous system. Moreover, it also heals or preventing nervous disorder, sciatica, etc. This brings a radiant personality suppresses or improve anger management.
Kirtan kriya – Chanting Activities
Kirtan kriya has a stimulating effect on the pineal gland, which is concerned with the circadian rhythm. Ultimately, affects the coordination between mind and body to lead a happy and content life.
4. Breathing Exercises & Meditation at the End of Class
Breathing exercises & meditation is one of the most important parts of a kundalini yoga class.
In this session of kundalini yoga class, the teacher will ask you to focus on inhalation and exhalation. By practising the breathing techniques, a practitioner can control and harness his/her ‘prana’ (vital life force).
Some most practised breathing exercises of Kundalini yoga is Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (alternate nostril breathing) & Bhramari Pranayama (breath of fire).
Another practice, Meditation at the end of kundalini yoga is practised to pull up the energized Kundalini to the higher energy centres. However, small breaks of silence are very common in a kundalini yoga class, but the master meditation is done at the ending.
Kundalini Yoga vs. Other Styles of Yoga
When it comes to approaching Kundalini yoga & If already some other styles are known to me, how can it differentiate from others?
Kundalini yoga gives you a more deepen, subtle experience. Here are a few points to note down:
- Yoga styles such as Asthanga & Hatha use asanas and pranayama to affect the human body physically and mentally while kundalini yoga is subtler in comparison to the former.
- Hatha yoga focuses on the control of breath with asanas and ashtanga or vinyasa insists on dynamic flow with breathing. On the other hand, “breath of fire” in kundalini yoga completes on itself or does not emphasize on how to perform it with a particular posture.
- Iyengar yoga focuses mainly on the alignment of the postures whereas kundalini yoga harnesses the internal machinery at the subtle level. For example, endocrine secretion, kundalini energy, purification of nadis (energy channels).
- Mantra chanting has a specific role in Kundalini yoga. Vibrations produced after mantra chanting is said to affect the dormant kundalini. However, an incorporated style of kundalini yoga is LAYA YOGA, which uses the vibration of the mantra’s sound to affect the subtle energy in its ascension.
- Mantras used in Hatha and Ashtanga or in other styles are Hinduism oriented mantras. Kundalini yoga has a wide variety in this aspect.
For example, Christian (God and me, me and God, are One), Hinduism (OM) and Sikhism (Sat Nam), etc. Therefore, kundalini yoga has a diversified approach in this regard.
Benefits of Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini yoga is a journey from the base to the top of activating the fullest potential lies within you. Once it’s activated, it can benefit you physically, mentally, morally, emotionally & in all aspects of life.
1. Kundalini Yoga Calms the Fluctuating Mind
Practices like, pranayama breathing and the meditation conjunctively in Kundalini yoga has a mutually supporting role to each other.
Pranayama brings the fresh breath to vitalize the prana and refreshes the brain, while meditation keeps the balance to firm the projection of thoughts at a certain point. Therefore, this brings the fluctuating mind to halt and soothes in order to calm it down.
2. Kundalini Yoga Strengthens the Nervous System
The nervous system controls our entire body. Kundalini yoga paves the way to nourishes each and every neuron, which improve their power of coordinating with the simultaneous source of information. This makes an individual remain calm and not agitated easily on any mishappening. It does not let us lose the cool.
3. Kundalini Yoga Improves Concentration and Focus
Kundalini practices stimulate the flow of energy to hit the dormant chakras like Anahata and Sahasrara. These chakras are associated with the concentration, focus, and intuition of a practitioner.
Moreover, these qualities require analyzing or assessment of a particular situation and then reacting in a certain manner. Therefore, this sacred energy provokes those points associated with former chakras.
4. Kundalini Yoga Helps in Eradication of Worldly Mindset
Worldly mindset is possessive in terms of almost everything whether it is name, fame or money. A person will never be satisfied with those terms and conditions fixed in his/her mindset.
Kundalini yoga lifts up the consciousness of a person in such a way that he/she begins to lose interest in the materialistic things. They find themselves free, liberated and soulful that makes them awakens, which is where kundalini yoga takes ultimately.