Kundalini Yoga ~ it's Yoga, but not as you know it...
Kundalini Yoga, often referred to as the Yoga of Awareness, uses ancient and powerful techniques originating in India which were brought to the West by Yogi Bhajan in 1968. The yoga practice involves a dynamic blend of physical postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), movement, stretching, meditation, chanting (mantra) and relaxation. Practicing Kundalini Yoga helps to raise consciousness by releasing subconscious patterns that block the flow of kundalini energy so that we can better understand ourselves and live a more harmonious life.
Kundalini Yoga is kriya yoga. A kriya is a complete set of exercises practised together in a certain sequence to obtain a specific result. The practice of Kundalini Yoga stimulates the gladular systems, particularly the higher pituitary and pineal glands, enabling you to use the energy of the mind and the emotions in a more positive, effective and conscious way.
A regular Kundalini Yoga practice builds the capacities of self-awareness and inner strength in order to let go of negative emotional programming and help you fulfill your highest potential.
Benefits of Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini Yoga is a safe and effective way to reduce stress and anxiety and bring balance to the body, mind and soul. A regular practice of Kundalini Yoga activates the glandular system, strengthens the nervous system, expands lung capacity, purifies the bloodstream and builds core body strength.
The medical benefits of practicing Kundalini Yoga are related to the way it helps to activate and rejuvenate the glandular system and, in particular, the pineal gland. The pineal gland produces the sleep hormone melatonin and is vital in helping to maintain balance in the body system.
What to expect in a typical Kundalini Yoga class
Each Kundalini Yoga class and experience is unique to the individual. The best thing you can do before you begin a Kundalini Yoga class is relieve yourself of any expectations, as it works in many different ways. The outcome of a Kundalini class is never the same. However you can expect every Kundalini Yoga class, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, to include six major components:
1. Tuning in with the 'Adi Mantra' – we tune in to connect with our inner wisdom
and to protect ourselves during the practice
2. Pranayam (breathing) or warm-up - to protect the body from injury
3. Kriya – a set of exercises taught in a specific order to work on a particular theme
4. Relaxation – a chance to deeply relax and absorb the benefits of the Kriya
5. Meditation – to still the mind
6. Close with the blessing song, 'May the long time sun shine upon you' and three
long chants of ‘Sat Nam’ (truth is my identity) – to close and seal the practice.
Many kriyas and meditations in Kundalini Yoga include mantra and chanting. The use of mantra works on the chemistry of the brain, which in turn relaxes the mind and the body. This form of meditation can help those who may find silence and stillness very challenging.
A typical Kundalini Yoga class is between 60 and 90 minutes.