What is Kundalini Yoga?
How is Kundalini Yoga different from other styles?
Kundalini Yoga was brought to the West by Yogi Bhajan. It is considered one of the most comprehensive forms of all of the Yoga traditions. It combines many practices such as meditation, mantra, physical postures and breathing techniques. It is a Royal (Raj) Yoga as it contains all eight aspects (limbs) of Yoga.
It was kept a secret for many years and was passed down from master to student. Yogi Bhajan, a master in Kundalini Yoga from the Punjab in India came to the West in the 60s and he recognised the time was right to share the technology of Kundalini Yoga. Yogi Bhajan aspired for Kundalini Yoga to be practiced by the householder, to help them manage the demands of modern life.
The Kundalini energy is a poetic metaphor which describes the potential energy that exists within each of us. The Kundalini energy is considered to be located in the energetic body at the base of the spine. With the practice of Yoga, the Kundalini energy expands upwards awakening our potential to connect with our higher selves. Kundalini Yoga practices enliven our Kundalini energy in a systematic and “tried and tested” format so that he student does not access any more energy than they can gracefully accommodate.
There are a number of ways that Kundalini Yoga is unique.
- -Structure and Consistency: The practices in Kundalini are highly specific, it’s utilises Kriyas: a series of postures, breath, and sound that work toward a specific outcome. In each Kriya there are specific instructions about the times to hold the postures, where your eye focus should be and how to breathe etc. Similarly to baking a cake, if you added too much of one ingredient it may not be unpleasant but you may not achieve the desired results, the same is true for Kundalini Yoga. Teachers of this Yoga never change the formula of the technology outside the guidelines set out by Yogi Bhajan. For me, this ensures reliability. I know that when I go to a Kundalini class although I will experience the teacher’s style of teaching in theory the “recipe” will be the same. This means you can expect a high quality class each time you come to a Kundalini Yoga class.
- -Real Life Yoga: As it is a householders Yoga, Kundalini Yoga aims to positively affect everyday life. Kundalini Yoga does not encourage ascetic practices as many other Yoga traditions do. There are a variety of Kundalini Kriyas and meditations and I consider these to be “Recipes for a better life”. For example, you could choose a practice to help you navigate through strong emotions such as fear or you could focus on the physical body such as the digestion. Wherever you need support, be it in your physical, mental or spiritual body, Kundalini Yoga has the technology to offer you a specific “recipe”.
- -Personal practice: Kundalini Yoga is a personal practice; it is centred on the personal experience and awareness of the student. This is by awaking the Kundalini energy. This allows the student to harness the full potential of their body’s nervous and glandular systems which in turn balances the subtle systems of chakras and meridians.
- -Holistic in Nature: In this tradition, meditation is not considered separate from the Yoga postures (asana); meditation is integral to the practice.
- -Effectiveness: Kundalini Yoga is said to be the “mother” of all Yoga’s and is considered 16 times more powerful than Hatha Yoga. It results in a steady and predictable progress, which leverages the basic functions of the body and the mind to create rapid, sustainable, personal growth and healing. The exercises in the Kriyas bring the body and mind to a state where deep meditation is easily achieved. Kundalini Yoga is a very safe way to stimulate our energetic potential and maximise the body abilities to live a healthy, happy, and holy (as in holistic) life—in body, mind and spirit.