What is Kundalini Yoga?
I am often asked what Kundalini Yoga is, the benefits and the difference between other types of yoga. So I have decided to write a brief introduction to this beautiful and ancient practice that changed my life and inspired me to become a teacher.
Kundalini Yoga is known as the yoga of awareness, through traditional yogic postures, pranayama and meditation we harness our ability to rise to the challenges of life with strength and grace. We raise the dormant Kundalini energy that resides at the base of the spine to serve us to be the best version of ourselves. The main difference between Kundalini Yoga to other types of yoga is that you do it with your eyes closed. Yes that’s right, eyes closed! But don’t worry, there aren’t many balancing postures in Kundalini Yoga so having your eyes closed is perfectly safe! In todays world we are so easily distracted and consumed by outside stimulation like phones, social media, computers, TV and life in general. Through keeping your eyes closed throughout the class, it encourages you to switch off your overworked and overwhelmed sense of sight. When you close your eyes it allows you to stop comparing yourself to others, go within and listen to the gentle whispers of your soul.
Kundalini Yoga is a technology that was brought to the West by Yogi Bhajan in 1968, he was a master of Kundalini Yoga and went on to teach over 8,000 classes, inspired thousands to keep up and live in their excellence. He also brought us Kundalini Yoga in preparation for the time that we are living in. It provides us with the tools to rise to the challenges that we face on a daily basis. These challenges include information overload from technology, stress, fatigue, comparison to others and a general disconnection to who we are, the truth of who we are.
‘Yoga explores your dimensions, depth, nature, and potential as a human being. Yoga is greatly needed in our life today, each person must deeply understand why he is a human being and what it means to be a human being’ - Yogi Bhajan.
I often get asked why we wear white and cover our heads in Kundalini Yoga. As teachers we wear white to strengthen our projection which allows us to expand our aura and consciousness whilst also helping us to protect our sacred crown chakra. Wearing white and covering your head is optional but not compulsory to practice Kundalini Yoga, you can wear anything that allows you to move freely and feel comfortable during a class.
The structure of Kundalini Yoga class always follows the same pattern to help us stay connected to the lineage and legacy of this ancient and sacred practice. Mantra is used a lot in Kundalini Yoga, mantra is a creative projection of the mind through sound. ‘Man’ means mind and ‘Tra’ means vibrate so it can be described as a ‘mind wave.’ We start the class with two mantras to tune in and grace the space. We also silently vibrate the manta ‘Sat Nam’ throughout the class which means ‘truth is my name’ or ‘truth is my identity.’
We then warm up the body and practice breathing exercise. We then practice the main part of the class, the kriya. The word kriya means action. It is an action that leads to a manifestation like a seed leads to a bloom and a thought into actuality. They are practiced for a specific amount of time for a specific outcome like expanding the lungs, exercises the spine, balancing the thyroid, improving the health of the digestive system and to helping to prepare us for deep meditation.
After the kriya you can drift into a deep rejuvenating relaxation to allow the benefits of the kriya to integrate with the mind, body and soul. After the relaxation we will close the class with a meditation and two mantras.
I hope this has given you more of an insight into Kundalini Yoga and how it can benefit you on your journey through life. I will finish with something I often say at the beginning of my classes - Kundalini Yoga cannot be explained, it is to be experienced, so close your eyes, go within and find your Sat Nam.
I look forward to meeting you on the mat soon.