Kundalini Yoga is based on the Indian Sikh religion and differs slightly from other types of yoga today. Traditionally, it is known as ‘Raj Yoga’ or Royal Yoga which means we use the mind to elevate the consciousness instead of the physical body. Kundalini Yoga is the original of the twenty-two schools of yoga and is called the mother yoga. It works on your entire nervous and glandular system in a way that no other yoga does.
According to many ancient scholars the method of focusing on just the physical postures during yoga class means that the opportunity for transformation that our mind is capable of often becomes lost in the quest for the ability to contort one’s physical body into an impressive pretzel.
One of the most beautiful things about a Kundalini Yoga class is that it can be practiced primarily with our eyes closed. This gives the practitioner an opportunity for greater introspection and reduces the tendency many Westerners have of ‘competing’ with fellow yogis during the class.
The term ‘kundalini’ primarily refers to our level of awareness or consciousness. It is often depicted as an image of a snake that lays dormant at the base of our spine. The idea is that as our level of knowledge increases, the snake will in fact begin to uncoil and make its way upwards towards higher dimensions and levels of perception.
Kundalini Yoga is the yoga of awareness and is open to all levels. The combination of yoga postures with detailed breath patterns and specific repetition of sounds makes the practice particularly transformative. Our breath is in essence our dearest friend. It is the life force that keeps us alive each day and we learn to use its full capacity during class. It doesn’t matter what your level of physical ability is – if you can breathe and move your body, you can experience Kundalini Yoga.
The physical postures are referred to as sets or “kriyas”, and after setting an intention and tuning in to the golden chain of teachers for guidance, a class will usually begin with a few warm-ups followed by the chosen sequence. It is very closely related to Chinese Medicine as many postures akin to Kundalini Yoga are held at specific angles and triangles for prolonged lengths of time allowing the practitioner to gain the benefit of strengthening their entire endocrine system thus regulating metabolism, growth, mood and tissue function.
A set is put together in a very precise manner that will target certain areas of the body. For instance, if you were looking to strengthen your heart or lungs, you could expect to do many arm extensions and / or backbends during the class. If you were working specifically with your liver, you may find yourself lying down for much of the class and lifting your legs up to a certain height that was aimed specifically at the liver meridian.
A kriya is often designed to assist in strengthening a physical aspect of your body, but many are also put together to strengthen the energetic centres of the body often referred to as chakras. Our solar plexus region for instance is affiliated with our navel chakra and physically this relates to our digestion, pancreas and our stomach.
This centre’s primary metaphysical function is to maintain healthy self esteem. When it’s deficient we lack confidence and have low self esteem yet when in excess we are overly aggressive and prone to temper tantrums. When this chakra is in balance we are confident, reliable and have no problem digesting our food.
Another defining element in a Kundalini Yoga class is the repeated use of sound also known as “mantra”. Many meditations within kundalini yoga incorporate the use of repeated verbal or non verbal sounds. It can be a syllable, a word or a phrase that can change your entire level of awareness when sounded correctly. The roof of our mouth has 84 meridian points that can change the entire chemical structure in our brain.
Have you ever had a bad moment during your day and sworn repeatedly? Notice how that didn’t make the traffic move any faster or help your mood lift? Imagine the transformation that can take place in your life simply by chanting sounds that can help you feel empowered and think more clearly. Physical postures will strengthen our body, breathing exercises will strengthen our lungs, meditation will clear our mind and chanting will help us connect to our soul. To the divine essence within us.
By focusing on specific areas of the body during our set in a Kundalini Yoga class, we balance the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual components that relate to this region. Each class incorporates tailored music as well as transformational breathing and meditation techniques to relax the central nervous system. These tools help you to focus on the day and the week ahead and bring a greater sense of wellbeing and clarity to your everyday activities.
If you’re ready to let go of the past or to embrace personal empowerment in your life in a spectacular or even subtle manner, then this is the practice for you. For more information on Kundalini Yoga classes near you, please visit www.kundaliniyoga.com.au