Even though it is one of the oldest styles of yoga, Kundalini Yoga was never taught publicly until 1969 when Yogi Bhajan first brought the Kundalini practice to the United States. Today, Kundalini Yoga is practiced all over this country and throughout the world.
What is Kundalini Yoga?
Kundalini yoga’s mission is to awaken the dormant energy that resides in you. Tapping in to the body’s seven chakras, or energy portals, Kundalini combines its trademark, fire of breath with kriyas, or quick sequential movements, all with the intention of releasing the Kundalini energy within you. This energy is often represented by a coiled snake which is situated at the base of the spine. As you start to tap into your Kundalini prana, or energy, the energy travels upward along the seven chakras ending at the Crown Chakra.
What is a Kundalini Class Like?
Kundalini classes are different than your typical power yoga class. During a Kundalini class, you will focus on breath work and use the unique Kundalini breathing patterns in conjunction with postures that strengthen and flex the major and minor muscle groups of your body. Classes will also have a strong meditative component to it, as well as chanting. Loose and comfortable clothing is recommended as well as a yoga mat, a blanket and a bottle of water if you are new to yoga or exercise.
What are the Benefits?
Like most other kinds of yoga, Kundalini yoga is meant to improve strength and flexibility. The subtle effects include balancing the glandular system, increasing the strength of the nervous system, enhancing self-awareness and improving circulation. Kundalini yoga has been used in research studies to explore its effects on heart rate, muscle relaxation and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Since Kundalini yoga is such an intense spiritual practice, you should seek out only qualified Kundalini yoga instructors who have amassed many years of teaching experience.
Here is a Kundalini yoga video to give you a better sense of what this practice is all about.