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Yoga practice is more than a trend nowadays! It is scientifically proved that yoga is beneficial for our bodies and mind. A modern healthy lifestyle includes the daily practice of yoga. Currently, supermodels to sportsmen, everyone is talking about Kundalini yoga as a wellness tool.
What is Kundalini Yoga?
The term Kundalini comes from Sanskrit word kundalin meaning “circular or annular”. It is said that our prana or the life force energy stays at the base of the spine, coiled like a snake and waiting to get awakened. With the kundalini awakening, the path to spiritual journey is said to begin.
Kundalini yoga is a yogic practice that is a combination of breathing techniques, mantra chants, meditation, and physical techniques. Kundalini yoga is also said as the yoga of awareness. It is so named because it makes its practitioner aware of his physical, mental, and spiritual states of existence. On successful progression, the yogi or the practitioner is said to attain a state of kundalini awakening.
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A Brief History of Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini yoga originated in India. The mechanism of this yoga was elaborated in the Vedas and Upanishads (c. 1,000 B.C. – 500 B.C.). Although it has been circulated from Guru to Shishya (disciple) through their oral tradition even earlier to that! In Vedas and ancient Hindu scriptures, it has been mentioned that divine energy or Shakti is located in our muladhara or the base of the spine.
This energy, when awakened through the practice of kundalini yoga, will lead to spiritual liberation. For thousands of years, the Indians have passed this secret knowledge from Guru (master) to his chosen disciples.
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Descriptions that were close to Kundalini awakening has been later found in the spiritual teachings of the Chinese, Egyptians, Native Americans and Africans. Besides that, it was also referred by the Greek philosophers, in Hermetic and Masonic writings.
In 1969, a spiritual teacher, Harbhajan Singh Khalsa, also known as Yogi Bhajan introduced Kundalini yoga publicly in the United States breaking the age-old tradition of secrecy. From then it has become popular all over the world.
Kundalini Yoga Benefits
1. It brings positivity and mental peace
Through the careful practice of Kundalini yoga, you can start channeling your energy in the right direction. Therefore its regular practice can transform your life. You become more calm, composed and optimistic in your approach.
The mantras and mudras used in this practice will quieten your mind. This yogic practice will change your mindset and bring positivity.
2. Kundalini Yoga soothes your nervous system
Regular practice of this form of yoga soothes your nerves and strengthens it. With this yogic practice, your energy flows uniformly in the body opening up any blockages. Because our nervous system functions through electrical circuits, the opening of the blockages helps the nerve impulses to flow properly.
3. It ensures overall good health
Kundalini Yoga brings a natural glow in the skin. Lung functions improve. Your posture becomes erect. The digestive system becomes healthier. Also, the brain becomes more aware and as a result more effective. Therefore, Kundalini yoga is great for your overall wellbeing. [Source: www.yogajournal.com]
4. Kundalini Yoga raises your awareness
The breathwork used in this tantric yoga brings to mind and body awareness. Most of the time we are absorbed in our electronic gadgets and therefore we forget our own essence! Most importantly, kundalini yoga helps improve our cognitive abilities. Because of that, your concentration levels will increase tremendously.
5. It develops your willpower
Kundalini yoga opens up the solar plexus chakra at your navel point. The solar plexus contains immense cognitive power. Therefore when this channel opens up, it leads to wisdom and courage in a person. Because of that, your level of determination and willpower would increase.
6. Clarifies your mind
With regular practice of this form of yoga your mind power increases. Besides that, this yoga will help to clear the fogginess of the mind. Because of that, the mind becomes alert, clear and focused. Even your memory muscle will develop. Most importantly, you will also start making the right decisions!
7. Kundalini Yoga hones your creativity
This yoga will release your anxieties and open your mind to greater possibilities of life. Therefore, this would stimulate your thinking process and sharpen your creativity.
8. Makes you compassionate and kind
This yogic form opens the heart chakra. Because of that, you become open to receiving the flow of the infinite Universe. You become more accepting and trust in the higher power. Most importantly, your openness makes you compassionate and kind towards all others.
9. Develops your intuition & wisdom
Kundalini yoga opens your mind to absolute truth. Besides that, you become more intuitive and wiser than before. Because though it’s a regular practice, you start to realize your soul purpose.
10. Kundalini Yoga can increase your lifespan
This yoga increases lifespan. The ancient Indian sages were believed to live a long life through the practice of Kundalini yoga. Therefore, if you start doing this form sincerely you would surely live longer.
Techniques Used in Kundalini Yoga
The various techniques used in this yoga are chanting of mantras, meditation, breathwork, and hatha yoga. A Kundalini yoga class is quite long of about 60-90 minutes because it contains a variety of activities.
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The Process of Kundalini Meditation
1. With your spine straight and legs crossed sit comfortably on a mat.
2. Hold your palms together in prayer pose and touch your chest with your closed palms.
3. Close your eyes and focus your gaze at a singular point.
4. Now is the process of inhalation. Divide each of your breath into four equal parts of inhalation.
5. After breathing in four equal parts, hold the breath for a few seconds.
6. Next, exhale in four equal parts and then hold the breath for a few seconds.
7. Remember to pull your navel point towards the spine at each inhalation and exhalation.
8. Each breath cycle will take about 7-8 seconds of time.
9. Now repeat this process.
10. Chant the mantra Sa Ta Na Ma which denotes – Infinity, life, death, and rebirth.
Watch this video of Kundalini Yoga Practice for beginners ->
Along with this meditative practice, there are certain mudras to be performed and yogic poses to be obtained which are often hatha yoga practices. To do this accurately, you are advised to do it in a Kundalini Yoga class following the instructions of a yoga teacher.
Some Tips to Practice Kundalini Yoga
• This is a complicated form of yoga. You are advised to not do it alone by watching YouTube videos at home! Because you are channeling your energy, a small error can have a bad effect on your body.
• You must find a yoga teacher who can guide you personally through the steps. It’s quite popular nowadays so you can enroll in a Kundalini yoga class to learn the steps accurately.
• Unlike other forms of yoga, this isn’t for everyone. If you are looking for a spiritual awakening then only opt for this form. Besides that, you shouldn’t continue this if you are skeptical about it or uncomfortable doing it.
• Kundalini yoga helps to awaken the Kundalini Shakti. This Yoga is best adopted along with some major lifestyle changes. Start eating healthy foods, quit any addictions, etc. Only when you make all of these changes will you get the result.
• Posture is important in this practice. Therefore learn to improve your posture to be able to do this yoga correctly.
• The inhalation and exhalation processes used in this yogic form are extremely crucial. Therefore, you must learn the correct breathwork from your teacher.
• While chanting the mantra, be mindful. Besides that, don’t forget to learn the meaning of the mantra used. This will help you in doing the yoga dedicatedly.
• Don’t overdo. Initially, you will feel strained. Therefore, lie down and take rest in between the full practice.
• It is said that this yoga works for you only when you are ready!
• If you find it difficult to do maybe you are not yet mentally and spiritually prepared. Give it a break. If you get an urge, later on, try it then!
• This practice takes time. Practice patience and discipline if you really want to master this.
• Start working on your mindset. This form of yoga brings spiritual awakening. Therefore, start practicing some virtues to cultivate a good mindset. Incorporate honesty, discipline, truthfulness, and other virtues.
The Mantra Used in Kundalini Yoga Practice
There are several mantras in Kundalini Yoga which would be taught to you when you go to a teacher. One of the most common mantras is Sat Nam. According to the Sikh language, Gurumukhi, it means “I am truth” or more precisely, “Truth is my essence.” This Sat Nam is considered as a bija mantra (bija means seed) because just like a seed it starts germinating inside your body and shifts your energy.
The vibration of this bija mantra initiates your spiritual journey. It is the main mantra that produces a one-syllable sound and activates the chakras in our body. You are connected to the Universe or infinite intelligence. By chanting Sat Nam you express your uniqueness.
Most importantly with each chant, you come closer to the Universe. Therefore, as you start chanting this mantra you express your inner essence and that benefits not only you but all others in this Universe.
Why Kundalini Yoga is different from the other forms of yoga?
• The various forms of yogas are mainly for nurturing the body. Whereas, kundalini yoga helps in the kundalini awakening which leads to spiritual awareness. Most importantly kundalini yoga is great not only for our bodies and minds but it also leads to spiritual awakening.
• Any form of yoga will be good for your body and mind. But if you are looking for more than meditative practices and inclined towards spiritual practices, you can try this form under a knowledgeable yoga teacher training on this form.
Kundalini yoga or the yoga of awareness is an ancient practice. If you incorporate this yoga in your daily routine you will no doubt become better in body, mind, and soul. This is a complicated procedure and therefore you should perform it under the supervision of a trainer.
This article will give you an overall idea of this tantric yoga. Although you must understand that kundalini kriyas are not for everyone and you must proceed with caution only under the guidance of a yoga expert.
Also, read our other article on Palouse Mindfulness: Getting started and its benefits
Ishita is a published author, poet and freelance writer. Being an avid reader from early childhood, she has always loved books more than anything else in the world! At the start of her career, she has worked in the corporate as well as the academic sector being a double master's degree holder - M.Sc and MBA. But now she is a fulltime writer. She believes words have immense power and writers can make a huge impact in the world! She wants to bring positivity into the lives of the readers through her association with TheMindFool.