As we reach the middle of the summer season, it’s a good time to reflect on our Pitta season progress. Have we been eating well? Rolling out our mats and moving our bodies every day? Taking time for self-care? While we may check all these essential tasks off our physical and mental care lists, one thing that is often neglected is our spiritual health. To make sure we don’t forget about an essential piece of ourselves, today we’re going to focus on a great spiritual practice called Kundalini Yoga.
What Is Kundalini Yoga?
Kundalini has unknown origins but is mentioned in ancient Vedic texts from 1,000 BC. The term Kundalini comes from the Sanskrit word “kundal,” which means circular. The term is closely associated with the image of a coiled snake, which represents your Kundalini energy. This energy sits at the base of your spine, coiled up like a sleeping snake. Kundalini yoga aims to activate this energy and encourage it to move up through the chakras along your spine. Kundalini energy helps balance your chakras and promotes overall spiritual wellness.
How Is Kundalini Yoga Different From Other Types Of Yoga?
Kundalini yoga is a far more spiritual practice than other types of yoga. There are still physical movements, but these are not the primary focus of the practice. Kundalini yoga tends to have more precise movements and also a lot of repetition. Other types of yoga flow with your breath, but this kind of yoga combines elements like breathing, moving, chanting, and singing in specific patterns.
The 6 Components of Kundalini Yoga
There are 6 main components to Kundalini Yoga. They are as follows:
- Opening Chant: The opening chant is “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo.” This chant allows practitioners to “tune in” to the session. It means “I bow, or salutations to the divine teacher.” It is a mental and physical cue alerting your body and opening your mind to what is about to occur.
- Warmup: warm-up with Pranayama, or breathing exercises, to help further open your body and center your mind. Stretch your spine as you breathe and practice controlling your breathing.
- Kriya: Kriya is the most active part of the session. This part is when you combine postures, breathing, chanting, singing, etc., to stimulate and release the Kundalini energy.
- Relaxation: After the hectic Kriya portion follows the relaxation time. This calm part of the session allows you to absorb the effects of the Kriya.
- Meditation: Follow a guided meditation to cultivate awareness of the changes occurring and feel the Kundalini energy begin to move inside you.
- Closing chant: end each session with a closing chant, “Sat Nam,” to give your mind, body, and spirit a clear sign that the session has now come to an end. Sat Nam means something along the lines of “I am truth,” and helps you see things more clearly after your transformative session.
Are you interested in trying out Kundalini yoga? Check out a short session here.
Benefits of Kundalini Yoga
- Spiritual Enlightenment: As you awaken your Kundalini energy, the idea is that you heighten your spiritual connection to yourself and to others. You can see these changes via increased empathy, creativity, charisma, energy, and internal peace.
- Stress/Anxiety Relief: like other forms of yoga, Kundalini yoga provides relief from stress and anxiety. The intentional practice helps you focus inwards on your own well-being and to recenter and find balance in the chaotic world.
- Boosts Self-perception: there’s a good reason we end each Kundalini yoga session with the mantra “sat nam,” or “I am truth.” Kundalini yoga boosts your self-perception by improving body positivity and self-acceptance. This type of yoga helps you learn to better appreciate yourself and those around you.
- Improved Cognitive Function: studies show that those who practice Kundalini yoga regularly experience better short and long-term executive functioning, improved memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and cognitive flexibility.
Introduction to Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini Yoga Poses
Here are a few Kundalini Yoga poses to get you started.
Lotus is a basic seated pose that opens your hips. Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs extended and a neutral spine. Next, bend your knees outward and bring your feet toward your body as if to sit cross-legged; instead, place your left foot on top of your right thigh and your right foot on top of your left thigh. Deeply and slowly inhale and exhale as you meditate.
Cobra Pose can help you activate Kundalini energy. Lie flat on your stomach with your legs and feet pressed together, the tops of your feet against the floor. Next, place your palms beneath your shoulders, but make sure your fingers point forwards and your elbows are parallel. Inhale, then raise your head and torso up while pressing your lower body into the floor. Straighten your arms to lift your chest and stomach while bringing your shoulders down and back. Hold this pose for 30 seconds while breathing deeply.
Use Archer pose for an extra dose of confidence while practicing Kundalini. To begin, stand up straight with your feet together. Rotate your left foot outward 45 degrees. Then, step your right foot back and straighten your right leg. Bend your left knee back but don’t allow it to pass your left foot. Afterward, extend your arms out at shoulder height, curling both hands into fists with your thumbs pointed up. Next, rotate your upper body to the left, then bend your right elbow and bring your right fist towards your right armpit. Keep your gaze focused forward as you breathe deeply for 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with the opposite side.
Kundalini Yoga For The Spirit
Ready to try Kundalini Yoga? Join me in expanding our spiritual health and awareness while also deepening our connection with the divine. In addition to awakening your Kundalini energy and balancing your chakras, you can have more brainpower, increased flexibility, improved cognition, and overall better physical, mental, and spiritual health. The road to a better you is paved; now, you’re ready to take the next step.