What Is Kundalini Yoga? A Beginner's Guide
Elevate Your Consciousness and Expand Your Awareness with Kundalini Yoga
Introduced to the western world in the 1960s, Kundalini Yoga dates back to ancient eastern civilizations and is considered one of the oldest forms of yoga practices. Kundalini yoga differentiates from other forms as the focus is less on movements and more spiritual. The incorporation of breathwork and mantras with physical positions has shown significant evidence-based benefits. Kundalini Yoga is practiced methodically, specific timing, precise mantras and breathing techniques work together to awaken the kundalini energy. Awakened, the flowing energy establishes clarity, elevated consciousness and expanded awareness.
When first beginning your journey with Kundalini Yoga, practicing under the guidance and expertise of a master is highly recommended. Mindful Living Group hosts events, groups, and retreats where you can partake in this powerful practice. Some of our therapists are certified, and experienced kundalini yoga instructors, who are able to guide you in kundalini yoga or incorporate yoga therapy into treatment plans.
What is Kundalini Yoga?
The kundalini energy, or shakti, was first mentioned in the Vedas, ancient religious texts originating in India. The texts, written in Sanskrit, describe the Kundalini shakti as a divine, feminine energy located at the base of the spine. Kundalini is derived from the Sanskrit word kundal, roughly translated as circular. Practitioners envision Kundalini energy as a coiled snake that is asleep, waiting to be woken. Through Kundalini Yoga practices, the energy is awakened and encouraged to move up the spine and used as a tool to harness the nervous, mental and physical energies to gain complete control over them.
Kundalini Yoga is composed of five elements that are practiced in an established order. Sessions follow a course that begins with tuning in using an opening chant, followed by kriyas, relaxation, meditation, and a closing chant. Beginners may find they feel strange participating at first, but it is important to keep an open mind and remain consistent.
Breathwork is foundational to kundalini yoga. Various breathing techniques are used, each pair specifically to movement and meditation. Popular breathing techniques used are Long Deep Breathing, and Breath of Fire. Long Deep Breathing is done through the nose by slowly and deeply expanding the abdomen on inhales and contracting on exhales. This technique is excellent for soothing anxiety and calming the body. The Breath of Fire engages the stomach as you exert force on the exhale. This rapid, repetitive breathing provides abundant physical and emotional health benefits and can improve some depression symptoms.
Mantras, chants, and using sound vibrations direct specific energy and frequencies to the body and brain. Our emotions, happiness, joy, sadness, vibrate at their own unique frequencies. The sounds created by mantras, or chants, signal chemical reactions to take place in the brain and body that enable us to align more closely with the frequency of our intention. A remarkable aspect of mantras is they are not exclusive to yoga practices or meditation. Mantras can be utilized while driving, working, or before going to sleep. Being aware of what sound currents generate specific states of relaxation or that energize is helpful with the guidance of a skilled teacher.
Kriyas combine breathwork, posture, and mantras to achieve a specific result. Kriya means action. They effectively create harmony throughout all of the body, mind, and spirit.
Hand positions, mudras, are used to activate energy. Different mudras stimulate specific energy. Popular mudras are the hands pressed together in front of the chest or thumbs and index fingers pressed together.
Meditation in kundalini yoga is practiced in precise time increments depending on desired results or states of awareness. Meditation encourages the release of trauma and emotional and spiritual wounds and promotes healing of the physical and mental bodies. In Kundalini Yoga, shorter-length meditation affects the body’s electromagnetic field and blood circulation. If you continue longer, effects begin to occur on the nervous system, glandular system, cells, and body rhythms.
Kundalini Yoga and Mindful Living Group
Kundalini Yoga is commonly referred to as “yoga awareness.” This ancient form evokes a deep awareness and powerful transformation in those who consistently practice. If you feel a push to find more purpose in life or feel that you are not reaching your highest potential, Kundalini Yoga may be something to consider. Other forms of yogic practices are beneficial in their own way – especially if you are looking for something more physical body focused. Kundalini Yoga concentrates heavily on spiritual awakening, creating and maintaining a deep mind-body connection, and evolved awareness.
Incorporating Kundalini Yoga into coping skills and daily routines has been proven to significantly reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety – amongst many other illnesses – and improve the lives of practitioners. Therapists trained in Kundalini Yoga are able to utilize the many benefits for treating patients with various concerns, such as generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, Addiction, and eating disorders, are among the few.
Mindful Living Group believes in treating and maintaining the body and mind as a synergetic system rather than separate entities. Along the spine, to the top of the head, lie the seven main chakras. Frequently, one or more of these energy centers can become “blocked,” disrupting the body’s flow of energy and balance. Feeling “stuck” is a common experience and symptom of blocked energy. Kundalini Yoga unblocks the chakras allowing energy to flow freely and find balance. Chakras often become blocked because of increased stress, trauma, or poor self-care and are likely to create various other physical, mental, and spiritual issues. Kundalini Yoga practice taps into the body’s natural desire to calm, relax and heal itself.
Too little, or lack of quality, sleep is a common problem people experience. The reasons for poor sleep are countless and often relate to stress or difficulty in relaxing. The consequences create a domino effect of issues around mental and physical health. Guided relaxation and meditation during Kundalini Yoga sessions have been shown to significantly help individuals reach deep states of relaxation that improve quality of sleep and reduce restlessness.
Kundalini Yoga Benefits
Benefits that are associated with Kundalini Yoga are both evidence-based and anecdotal. Although studies were not extensive in number, results continued to demonstrate positive effects. Reduced symptoms of anxiety and stress, including improved sleep, self-appreciation, self-esteem, and positive mood, are commonly reported. Kundalini Yoga establishes a deeper mind-body connection, providing insight into how your energy, motion, and emotion interconnect.
The practice creates effective and noticeable improvements on the physical body, during and after sessions. Long, slow, deep breathing calms the body’s autonomic nervous system resulting in lowered blood pressure, heart rate and reduced stress and muscle tension. Consistent practice establishes a neutral state of mind allowing reactions and emotions around life’s turbulence to be less harmful to your peace.
Yogi Bhajan, credited for introducing Kundalini Yoga to the western world which has birthed many wonderful masters who have continued building upon this practice, stated, “The process of growth through Kundalini Yoga is a natural unfolding of your own nature … like a snake, you will need to shed old skin to be more of who you are.” Committing yourself to and practicing this form will create a change in you. The spiritual connection you have with yourself and others increases. Practitioners frequently report the development of and growth in empathy, creativity, internal peace, and charisma.
Kundalini Yoga is powerful, intense, and complex, but do not let this dissuade you from experiencing all that it has to offer. If you are new to yogic practices, especially Kundalini Yoga, it is essential to find a certified teacher invested in your health, wellness, and safety. Our certified Kundalini Yoga instructors are advanced teachers and experienced therapists who want to help awaken your kundalini energy in a safe and effective way. Give the practice a chance to enlighten your life by participating in our 40 DAY FRIDAYS Kundalini Yoga. Contact us today to begin your transformational journey towards mental clarity, balance, and a life full of peace and love.