Kundalini Yoga

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The Hindus believe that kundalini shakti is a mysterious force that resides within each person and must join Shivah in the coronary chakra (sahasrara), which is located at the top of the head. Through some spiritual practices, kundalini yoga aims to awaken the latent force, asleep in us, which, in some way, can be identified with the creative potential present in each individual. Thus, by activating the energy, the serpent rises, pasing through the column and the different chakras, where it is purified, until reaching fullness, which manifests itself on the different planes, both physically and mentally, and spiritually. Kundalini Yoga is also referred to as the yoga of consciousness and pursues a holistic approach. While the main goal is to awaken the Kundalini energy, it contains various spiritual and physical elements.

Kundalini was already described in the traditional yoga teachings. This marks an energy or etheric power in humans, symbolized with a sleeping snake at the lower end of the spine. This theory of the Kundalini power comes from the tantric teachings. The aim therefore is to activate this energy and to guide it through all seven chakras. Thus, it finally connects with the cosmic soul and is to lead to the highest happiness. Metaphorically, this process is represented by the rolled-up snake, which moves along the spine to the highest point of the head. Kundalini practice is a part of various yoga approaches and forms which is the foundation of Kundalini Yoga. This yoga style was first described in the Western culture at the beginning of the 20th century. However, the teaching only spread in the West through the Indian Sikh-Yogi Bhajan, who came to North America in the 1970s to teach Kundalini Yoga. With his teachings and methods, he has shaped said yoga style, as it is known today.

The word Kundalini can be translated into English as “snake power”.  The symbol of Kundalini energy is the sleeping serpent which rests rolled up below the root chakra, Muladhara. In general, it can be awakened by any spiritual experience. However, Kundalini Yoga uses techniques for cleansing and strengthening so that revival can be systematically prepared. Once the Kundalini is awakened, it can ascend. To this end, it uses the energy channels (Nadis), which are purified with the help of yogic practice. Gradually it reaches the different chakras and leads to enlightenment. However, the Kundalini does not automatically rise completely as soon as it has been awakened. It may just as well only rises to the first chakra. This energy flow is also not a permanent state, but only temporarily and not forcibly repeatable. The Yachic writings depict Kundalini as a sleeping serpent that rolls from the top to the base of the human backbone. Through different methods of meditation and physical exercise, we wake up the serpent to release the energy within us. Thanks to this yoga practice, the body and mind focus on awakening both consciousness and true self (Sat Nam). The Yachic writings tell us that there are different energy centers in our body, which are called chakras. We are unable to access either this energy or the liberation of the self, when one or more chakras are blocked. However, thanks to the activation of the body channels or nadis and the release of kundalini energy, each individual has the power to overcome this through the practice of kundalini yoga. This yoga discipline, which was mainly dealt with by the master Yogi Bhajan, is based on the opening and purification of the seven main chakras, ranging from the base of the spine to the base of the head. Thus, the body and mind becomes united thanks to breathing exercises, asanas, meditation and mantras.

Historically, Kundalini yoga can be dated back to centuries. It is even assumed that the origins were created thousands of years ago. Hatha Yoga, the yoga that we most frequently practice here in the West, is based on Kundalini Yoga and every Hatha yoga practitioner will gain a deeper understanding of his or her yoga practice through Kundalini Yoga. Kundalini has its roots in tantra – a current in Indian philosophy – more precisely in a part of Tantrism called Shiva Shakti’s philosophy. In this philosophy, Shiva represents the immutable, the absolute consciousness, what we know in Vedanta under Brahman. Shakti stands for the creative power that created the universe. In the origin, Shiva and Shakti were one. By a vibration Shakti created the causal, the astral and the physical world. The great masters therefore assume that in every human being there is a huge potential of abilities, talents and possibilities and that the human being is actually the absolute, pure consciousness (Shiva). In addition, every human being has the cosmic primal energy (Shakti). It causes man to strive for higherness and help to achieve a unity with the Absolute – or to reunite Shakti and Shiva in order to unite the individual soul with the cosmic soul. This is the moment when Kundalini rises through the apex chakra and the human being is enlightened. Kundalini Yoga is, so to speak, the science above to accelerate the attainment of this state. The goal is therefore to let the Kundalini ascend in order to experience enlightenment.

As the concept kundalini refers to spiritual and cosmic energy, Kundalini Yoga seeks to awaken the strength inside us. Kundalini Yoga is a modality within the tradition of tantric yoga, originally from India. It is oriented towards the development of the kundalini shakti energy, which is that vital and at the same time mysterious force, present in every human being. This energy must be activated or awakened, in order to reach a certain degree of elevation, joining the Shivah in the coronary chakra (sahasra), located at the top of the head. The concept of the “kundalini” refers to a spiritual energy that resides at the base of the spine. This, in turn, is considered a manifestation of macrocosmic energy (mahashakti), in the microcosmic dimensions of the human body. To symbolize it, the image of a sleeping snake is used, resting at the base of the spine, on the lower chakra, and rolled so that its mouth seals the central channel (which would be the spinal cord), that ascends along it. These beliefs hold that the eyes and front, mouth, neck, chest, diaphragm, abdomen, and pelvis are the seven energy points that make up the body. These tension rings are the receptors and transmitters of the body’s vital energy. However, it is considered that in the liberation of the Kundalini energy, it can be raised to a higher form, where the central power of the body is awakened and included in a process of transformation, until reaching a higher degree of vital consciousness.

The goal of Kundalini yoga is spiritual. Unlike in Hatha Yoga, the focus is on mental and spiritual practices, instead of the physical aspect -although the asanas (body exercises) are actually an important part of Kundalini Yoga. The physical exercises are usually quite easily accessible, which is why Kundalini yoga is also suitable for people in their elderly age and with physical discomfort. During the exercises, inner concentration points (bandhas) as well as visual focal points are also used, i.e. the view of the area between the eyebrows. The exercise series usually serve a specific purpose, for example, to cleanse the liver or to activate the immune forces. Ultimately, however, the practice pursues the above-mentioned goal of awakening the Kundalini power. To achieve this, all seven chakras must be gradually opened, which in turn are linked to different themes and life energies.

How Does Kundalini Yoga Work?

Kundalini Yoga combines dynamic and static asanas with meditative and spiritual elements with the goal of cleansing the chakras in the body, for about an hour usually under a certain motto, which refers to one of the seven energy centers. It can be about opening the heart, alleviating fears or stimulating digestion. For each focus topic, there is a specific exercise sequence called Kriya. Kriyas consist of the following:

– Body exercises (Asanas)

– Hand positioning (Mudras)

– Singing of Holy Verses (Mantra)

The sequence of these energetic cleansing exercises and maintenance within a kriya is strictly defined. Breathing techniques (pranayama) as well as warming exercises are often practiced in advance and subsequently meditated.

How to Practice Kundalini Yoga?

As stated above, the kundalini yoga combines dynamic and static asanas with specific meditation, breathing and spiritual elements with the aim of opening and purifying the chakras through these channels. An hour of practice will focus mainly on a single goal to work one of the seven chakras. For example, a class could try to open the heart, placate the feeling of anger or stimulate digestion. Kundalini yoga has a specific range of exercises for each particular theme. These series are called kriya and are based on three pillars:

  • Physical exercises (asanas)
  • Positions with hands (mudras)
  • Sacred words (mantras)

In order for a person to make the most of the benefits of postures and each mudra and mantra, these exercises are followed strictly. Before starting with the kriya, kundalini yoga classes always start with breathing exercises (pranayama), warming with stretches and meditation. Thanks to intense relaxation on the floor at the end of the class, you’ll feel great after all the work you’ve done through the movements.

What Are the Benefits of Kundalini Yoga?

By activating and balancing the various energy centers, the Kundalini, the life energy of the body, is to be able to flow freely again. Stress, environmental pollution, improper diet and other factors can block the chakras. Kundalini Yoga is to help practitioners find them back in their midst. Those who practice regularly should feel more vital and self-confident and be connected with their intuition. Kundalini yoga can help you get to know yourself better and discover your source of inner strength. The goal of this practice is to awaken and let go of the energy in your body. Stress, poor nutrition, pollution, daily problems, lack of concentration and many other factors can block our chakras. From the point of view of this practice, kundalini yoga is there to help regain focus and find balance. People who practice kundalini yoga can feel revitalized and have more self-confidence as they reconnect with their intuition.

Each posture of the Kriya sequences can bring benefits to the body. Here are some examples:

– Dynamic movements allow you to work the resistance.

– The static postures you should keep for a few minutes strengthen the muscles, especially the deep muscle.

– Each asana helps improve blood circulation in organs such as lymph nodes, liver and the kidneys.

– The stretching exercises work mobility and soften the fascia.

– Muscles are strengthened, and muscle atrophy resulting from sedentary life is eliminated.

– Achieving mastery over one’s stress levels is made possible through the significant impact of incorporating meditation and guided breathing into a Kundalini session.

– The internal tissues and organs receive a massage through these exercises, resulting in improved circulation of lymph and other bodily fluids.

– Thanks to the different breathing techniques used, lung capacity is increased.

– Asanas strengthen our nervous and immune system as well as our muscles and tissues.

For Whom is Kundalini Yoga Suitable?

Kundalini Yoga is suitable for everyone who is open to spiritual experiences. You should have an interest in mantras and meditation. The exercises are sometimes physically very demanding, but the focus of this style of yoga style is not on increasing your fitness, it is a nice side effect. Many practicing yogis can get out of negative thought patterns through the Kriyas and feel energetically charged after an hour. Beginners are welcome at Kundalini Yoga as advanced yogis. If you don’t have an idea of asanas yet, an entry-level course would certainly make sense. Kundalini Yoga is intended to awaken the life energy (Kundalini) through various physical and meditative techniques. It assumes that humans have different energy centers. These chakras are blocked by external and internal factors. The yoga practice is intended to let the energy flow free again. In Kundalini Yoga, solid exercise sets of dynamic and static asanas are combined with meditation, breathing exercises, mudras and mantras. Kundalini Yoga can be sometimes physically challenging, but the main focus is on the inner work on the energy centers. In fact it is suitable for all levels, where a few basic knowledge about asanas and mudras would be enough for the beginners. Kundalini Yoga is the right practice for all those who want to feel more vital and peaceful, as well as for people who are interested in spirituality. Kundalini yoga is recommended to people who wish to have more energy and find their inner balance. Kundakilini Yoga’s popularity among the younger generation has gained widespread popularity, due to its numerous physical, mental, and spiritual benefits, as well as the convenience of being able to practice it in the comfort of one’s own home.

In summary,  Kundalini Yoga is a holistic yoga style that uses many traditional elements. Hatha Yoga with the main focus on body exercises forms only a part of Kundalini yoga, which attaches great importance to meditative, mental and spiritual practices. The physical practice is significantly more dynamic than in classical yoga and brings a lot of movement into the body, but not as compelling as the exercises in Ashtanga Yoga, Jivamukti Yoga and comparable styles.

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