What is Kundalini Yoga?


Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan is often referred to as the Yoga of Awareness.  The focus is on self-awareness and delivering an experience of one’s highest consciousness. The technology of Kundalini Yoga is a science of the mind and body, to elevate the spirit, which has no boundaries, no discrimination. Therefore it is for everyone, universal and nondenominational,

As such, the practice goes beyond the physical performance of the poses with its emphasis on pranayama (breath work), the kriyas (set of physical movements), body locks (bandhas), hand gestures (mudras), mantras (sound) and meditation to balance the glands, strengthen the nerves, tempers the mind and provide the inner wisdom to help take action and to make decisions on different issues and concerns confronting us every single day.

As a technology of awareness, Yoga teaches the techniques and self-awareness to stay healthy. By practicing yoga, one gains a strong immune system, vital glands, a strong nervous system, good circulation and an awareness of the impact of your habits. This foundation gives you energy and lets you deal with the mental and spiritual facets of your life.

Each Kundalini Yoga class is different. The kriya sets and meditations are not the same each time you come to a class. Each class varies, it may be physically intense or relaxed. Although the class is ‘open’ to all yoga practitioners, this type of yoga appeals to those who are up for both mental and physical challenges and to those who want to see immediate change in their lives.

The benefits of practicing Kundalini yoga are a strong immune system, a strong nervous system, good circulation and an awareness of the impact of your habits. This foundation gives you energy and lets you deal with the mental and spiritual facets of your life.  Specifically, the practice

  1. Calms the mind – Through meditation, you can calm the mind and develop your intuition to recognize what is real and important to you. Learn to use the clarity of the neutral, intuitive, comprehensive mind. You sharpen the intellect and do not use it to create self-doubt or insecurity. You act with grace and commitment from your heart.
  2. Getting out of insecurity – the mental attitude of the mind depends on the strength and balance of your nervous system. The roots of insecurity often run deep into the core of the elemental personality of one’s consciousness. Meditation helps remove the layers of insecurity. When these are removed, you can deal with things as they are rather than as your fears project them. The past is only the experience you have in your subconscious mind. Clean it out so that it doesn’t repeat experiences that are already in the past.
  3. Self-belittlement pattern of feeling limited and inadequate – to get sympathy from people, to get recognized and to actually feel it. The practice helps transcend and transform the subconscious mind.
  4. Increased strength and flexibility – the physical exercises result in increased musculoskeletal strength and flexibility. Deep, rhythmic breathing promotes relaxation and thus, reduces symptoms such as fatigue, stress, depression, and anxiety.
  5. Revitalizes blood circulation and endocrine glands – stimulating circulation of blood, lymph and other body fluids due to increased heart rate and internal massage of tissues and organs. Many of the exercises adjust the functioning of the glands by stimulating the primary base of the brain through breath work and through the effect of sound and mantra.
  6.  Strengthens the nervous system – the large nerves of the body (sciatica, vagus, etc) are stretched and purified by the exercises. By clearing toxins from the tissues, the exercises benefit the neurotransmissions at the fine nerve endings and at synapses between nerves.
  7. Cleanses the tissues – uric acid, calcium crystals and many other wastes and poisons get stored in tissues and joints. They cause stiffness and disease. Through the practice, muscle stretching and internal massage bring wastes back into circulation so that the lungs, intestines, kidneys and skin are able to remove them.

A typical Kundalini Yoga class begins with a short chant followed by a warm-up to stretch the spine and improve flexibility. The main work of the class is the kriya and pranayama focusing on a specific area of the body. Kindly note that the teacher does not make any manual adjustments in the class. The teacher will call out specific cues and instructions to do the poses and would  give variations and alternatives should the student find it difficult to perform. The class ends with a meditation and a closing song to seal the practice.

In the class, it is recommended to wear white loose clothing and to cover the head to hold the energy in.

Kundalini Yoga as a practice generates the inner energy to survive and thrive under pressure, to be the best you can be and about seeing the divine in others.  In essence, it gives you an experience of your Self – it opens your heart, connects to your highest Self and to the true source.

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