Kundalini translates to ‘a coiled snake’. However, Kundalini Yoga is more than just the postures.
It is believed to work on your inner energy that resides in your spine, believed to bring a number of benefits along with balance and flexibility. Sometimes, the energy is referred to as Shakti or Kundalini energy.
If you are a beginner to Yoga or Kundalini Yoga, here is all you need to know.
What is Kundalini Yoga?
Ancient Vedic texts have mentions of Kundalini yoga, and the texts of it go back to even 1000 BC. Many of them describe the concept of Kundalini or Kundalini energy. The concept of Kundalini Yoga reached the Western world in the 1960s.
The name that refers to the coiled snake is related to the energy it carries. Just like the snake, Kundalini energy sits coiled at the base of your spine, until it is awakened from an external element. It is said to balance your chakra energy when awakened.
When it comes to Yoga, there are seven energy chakras in your body, which are root, sacral, navel, heart, throat, third-eye, and the crown. From the base of the spine, the Kundalini energy helps you balance them.
There are several benefits to Kundalini Yoga and Kundalini energy, but this spiritual awakening is what most of us seek when we start Kundalini Yoga.
Kundalini Yoga is more a spiritual practice than a physical practice. However, there are still physical movements involved and we will discuss some poses further.
The concentration with Kundalini Yoga is more on the breathing and chanting, the spiritual aspects of the activity. This is different from other yoga types such as hatha yoga, where concentration is more on the movements.
Before we move on to the breathing and postures of Kundalini Yoga, let’s shed a light on the benefits that come with practicing.
Benefits of Kundalini Yoga
Being a combination of Yoga and Spiritual exercise, there is more to Kundalini Yoga than just the physical benefits. When you awaken the Kundalini energy, the possibilities are endless. Here are some of the benefits of Kundalini Yoga.
Relieve Stress and Anxiety
Kundalini Yoga helps you reduce stress and anxiety immediately. And even after that, there are some long-term benefits of Kundalini Yoga that prevent depression. Many believe it to be an effective treatment option for a generalized anxiety disorder or GAD.
Helps Your Cognitive Abilities
Kundalini Yoga improves not just the memory, but the overall cognitive abilities. Reasoning, cognitive flexibility, and problem-solving also improves among other things when you are doing Kundalini Yoga regularly.
Prompts Positive Perception
Kundalini Yoga is also likely to improve your perception of yourself. It helps with self-acceptance and body positivity. On the other hand, it can also help in managing eating disorders and emotional eating, too.
Apart from the benefits that come with doing with other types of Yoga, Kundalini Yoga also helps you with spiritual enlightenment. It can make you more empathetic to others and bring peace to your life.
On top of that, it will improve your creativity by opening up your mind. It will give you all the positive energy you will require and can also add to your personality and charisma all over.
Slow Down the Aging
Kundalini Yoga also helps you slow down your aging. It can help you remove wrinkles, dark spots, and dead skin. These are caused by oxidative stress and cellular damage. Stress, pollution, and inadequate oxygen can cause all these. Kundalini Yoga helps you in fighting these signs of aging as it is believed to repair cellular damage.
The Karma Factor
If you believe in Karma, The Vedic texts suggest that Kundalini Yoga and chanting can help us achieve freedom from Karmic debt. When the Kundalini energy is in awaken state, it cleanses our souls from the previous Karmic debt and helps the soul connect to the universe.
Intriguing, isn’t it? If you want to dive into Kundalini Yoga right now, you need to know first the basic elements of Kundalini Yoga. Let’s start with breathing.
Most people use deep breathing when practicing Kundalini Yoga. You should breathe slowly and deeply, expanding your stomach. Then let it out through your nose, taking your stomach back in.
Every Kundalini kriya will have a specific breathing pattern and the posture that comes along with it. Those differences will help you release different energies. One of the most common breathing patterns in Kundalini Yoga is ‘breath of fire’.
Contrary to the deep breathing, with the breath of fire, you breathe rapidly in and out your nose. While breathing, you pump your stomach which will help you bring more oxygen to your blood. It will energize you. If you are feeling overwhelmed, this is the best way to approach Kundalini Yoga. Long Deep breathing can help you soothe your anxiety.
Now let’s understand the significance of Mantra in Kundalini Yoga.
Mantras are said to help you trigger a chemical reaction in your brain, which can affect your mood positively. It can be chants or sounds. It is believed that everything we feel has a specific frequency we call vibrations.
Chanting a Mantra can channel that power inside us in a positive manner. It can be prosperity, peace, or anything positive. These vibrations will help you elevate your mood and make a comfortable environment for your mental health.
Kundalini Yoga is not the only time you can chant mantras, you can chant them anytime. Some of the great Kundalini Mantras to chant can be Shakti Mantra or a simple mantra like
All of these together, breathing and the Mantras, create the Kundalini Kriya. The ‘act’ of it. Here it is.
Kriya in Kundalini Yoga
When it comes to Kundalini Yoga, ‘kriya’ holds a special significance. It is the set of breathing, posture, sounds, everything together. Staying true to the meaning of Yoga, it is a union of mind, body, and spirit.
It also helps you balance your aura, protects your energy field, and gives you the inner strength to help you with your journey of self-exploration. Among all the Kriya, the ‘sat kriya’ is the most known of them all.
Brief Introduction to Sat Kriya
Sat Kriya is one of the most powerful practices of Kundalini Yoga, among others. Here is how it is practiced.
- You start with palms together on your heart and chant ‘Om Namo Gurudev Namo’. After that, you need to take the Virasana pose. Hold your arms above your head without bending your elbows, arms touching your ears.
- Interlace your fingers, keeping your index fingers pointing towards the sky. Close your eyes. Inhale deeply and chant ‘Sat’ as you exhale, pulling back your stomach as far as you can. Before inhaling, chant ‘Nam’ and follow the inhaling and exhaling process as above.
- You can continue this for 3,11, or 31 minutes. You will need to spend the same amount of time in ‘savasana’ or corpse pose once you are done. Conclude your practice with the same chanting.
If this feels overwhelming to you, worry not. There are some simpler Kundalini Postures you can try, without having to go through too many steps.
Kundalini Yoga for Beginners: 3 Postures to Know About
Here, we will be talking about three Kundalini Yoga Asanas and how to perform them. Remember, always go with what you are comfortable with. The whole point of Yoga and spirituality is to get away from the stress and not strain ourselves.
1. Lotus Pose
One of the most known yoga poses, Lotus is a favorite posture for many. It also helps that it is a sitting posture. However, it is important to move slowly while getting in and out of the position. If you have any problems with your hips, you should not try the lotus.
Now, let’s get into the pose.
- Sit on the floor and keep your back straight. Remember, it should be not strained and in a natural position. Keep your legs extended.
- Now slowly bend your knees outward and bring your feet towards your body as if you are going to sit cross-legged.
- Put your right foot on top of your left thigh, and left foot on the right thigh.
- You can adjust in the position for a second or two, inhale and exhale to get in the zone. You can also start pranayama if that is instructed by your trainer.
2. Cobra Pose
Another basic position to awaken your Kundalini energy would be the cobra pose. If you have a back problem, however, you should avoid it.
- To begin, lie down on your stomach with your legs and feet adjacent to each other. Rest the top of your feet on the floor.
- Extend your arms and put your palms under your shoulders. The fingers should be pointing forward and the elbows, parallel to each other.
- It is time to lift your torso and keep your lower body on the floor. Inhale and lift your body. Press the lower body down.
- Your chest and stomach should be lifted from the ground with your arms straight. Keep up the pose for 30 seconds and come back to the starting position as you exhale.
3. Archer Pose
The third beginner pose you can try is archer. It will make you feel like a warrior and give confidence to you.
- To begin, stand up with your feet together. You should keep your right feet outwards at 45 degrees.
- Bring your right foot back and straighten it. Now, bend the left knee. It should not go past your left foot.
- Hold your arms up to shoulder height. Make fists with your hand and keep your thumbs up. Now rotate your upper body to the left.
- It is time to bend your right elbow and pull back your right hand under your armpit.
- Hold the pose for 2 to 3 minutes, accompanied by deep breathing. Then switch sides from left to right and follow the same deep breathing for 2 to 3 minutes.
These are some of the practices to follow for beginners. But before you start right away, there are some things to consider.
Is Kundalini Yoga Dangerous?
Practically speaking, Kundalini Yoga should be done with some safety precautions in mind. For that matter, any kind of yoga should be done with safety in your mind.
If you have asthma or any breathing issues, you should be careful with Kundalini Yoga. The same is the case if you have any kind of joint pain, any previous injury, or balancing problems, you should practice precautionary measures.
If you are pregnant, you may want to consult your doctor before practicing Kundalini Yoga.
Emotionally, there are layers to uncover here. Remember, Kundalini Yoga is a combination of spirituality and yoga and not just any physical exercise. Therefore, it can bring up some raw emotions from within you.
For some people, this experience can be scary, intimidating, or even painful. Rather than helping you with positive energy, it can leave you frustrated. On the other hand, it can just bring nothing and you may not even feel anything even after practicing it for months!
Our advice? be prepared for Kundalini Yoga and what it can bring before you go into it. Remember that it can take time to yield positive results. If they are not desirable, you can look forward to several other types of Yoga to achieve what you want.
There are both physiological and spiritual benefits of Kundalini Yoga. Its Mantras, kriya, breathing patterns, and postures make it unique from the other types of Yoga. However, there are some concerns regarding its safety and the world is divided about it. Many believe it is dangerous because of the potential it holds. Whatever may be the case, there is always something to learn from these Vedic practices, and more often than not, they help us create better lives for ourselves, and Kundalini Yoga is no different.