What is Kundalini Yoga?
Updated: Jun 8, 2021
Here's an extremely simple and brief description of a very powerful and sacred five thousand-year-old practice. No big deal. I'm going to break it down in 3 minutes and we're going to cover a little bit about Kundalini's wacky reputation, what it is, and why it's known as the fast-track lineage when it comes to transformation.
WHAT IS KUNDALINI?
The word Kundalini means "coiled" and refers to the wound up energy at the base of the spine. The premise is that we can easily get stuck in lower vibrational survival fears that can make us feel trapped, uninspired, anxious or just blah. This energy needs be shifted in order to pull ourselves up and out of those negative feeling states and into a more inspired, peaceful and neutral place. That's exactly what we do with specific breath techniques, spinal movements and other Kundalini methods we practice in class.
Kundalini Yoga is known as the "Yoga of Awareness". We're working with energy both inside and outside of the body and even though you may not be able to locate a chakra (energy center) as distinctly as you can feel a muscle, the proof is in how elevated, clear, conscious and open you feel afterwards. We also work the nervous and endocrine systems to balance hormones and mood. With these practices, we transcend fight-or-flight mode and glide into a more relaxed parasympathetic nervous system-led state and this can happen FAST which brings me to....
WHAT SETS THIS PRACTICE APART?
From the Aquarian Teacher's textbook: "Kundalini Yoga is the fastest way to create the transformation, the lightening and the enlightenment that each individual is seeking. It is the fastest way to establish an aligned relationship between the body, mind and the soul". I felt powerful positive emotional, mental and spiritual shifts immediately when I started practicing this style. I had been a practitioner of a few different styles for 20 years prior to discovering Kundalini and it's the fastest method I've found to move through anxiety, anger, fear, fatigue and resistance without any outside substance and with only positive side-effects.
Another unique aspect is that it's really prescriptive and intention-oriented. Each Kriya (set of postures) and mediation has a very specific goal or outcome. There are practices to calm the mind, relieve anger, get out of negativity, open the heart communication, elevate the mood, increase intuition... the list goes on. There are thousands of Kriyas and Meditations.
IS IT WEIRD?
Let's talk about the "out there" reputation that Kundalini yoga has. If you're brand new to yoga or you've only been to vinyasa style classes, there are definitely some different elements in a Kundalini class but there is a good reason behind every posture, eye gaze, mantra and breath technique. Every movement and sequence is intended to stimulate different parts of the brain and glandular system to help us secrete helpful hormones that bring the body into a balanced state and lift our spirits. Rarely is there anything too unusual in a Kundalini class, but in case there is, I always look at it as a great opportunity to tell my ego to take a break for an hour or so. The benefits are so worth it.