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What Is Kundalini Yoga: Awaken Your Life Energy for Self-Realization

My Yoga Teacher

Posted on May 11, 2021 #recent

What Is Kundalini Yoga?

Kundalini yoga is a combination of Bhakti, Shakti, and Raja yoga. Through Kundalini yoga, practitioners seek to awaken kundalini energy through breathing exercises, mantras, meditation, and physical postures.

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There are several different types of yoga that range in intensity from the very gentle poses of restorative yoga to the blood-pumping movements of power yoga. Kundalini is a balance between the physical and spiritual aspects of yoga. It emphasizes rising energy that starts at the root chakra and moves slowly up through all seven chakras to increase prana and create conditions for the energy to exit through the crown of the head and produce a Kundalini awakening (a feeling of euphoric release or bliss that leads to self-realization).

A Brief History of Kundalini Yoga

The origin of Kundalini Yoga is unknown, but Kundalini philosophy is found in the Upanishads which are ancient Vedic texts dating back at least 2,500 years. Kundalini was introduced in the West in 1968 by Yogi Bhajan from the Punjab region and it's most often associated with him.

Kundalini comes from the Sanskrit term kundal which means "circular" or "coiled." This yoga practice teaches us that life energy lies at your root chakra (the base of your spine), and is there, coiled like a snake, waiting to be awakened.

When you practice Kundalini, you can awaken this energy through breathing, mantras, mudras, and physical movement, moving the energy through your seven chakras until it is released at the crown chakra (your head):

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The release of this life energy is said to promote awakening, enlightenment, and balance.

What Are the Benefits of Kundalini Yoga?

Kundalini Yoga and meditation offer a range of benefits, both anecdotal and science-backed. Here are the four benefits of Kundalini Yoga that we're most excited about.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

A 2017 study found that Kundalini may offer immediate stress release and may even be helpful for conditions that are linked to high stress like cardiovascular disease and insomnia. The study looked at a small group of middle-aged women who experienced lower blood pressure and reduced stress after practicing. Additionally, the findings of a 2018 study suggest that Kundalini Yoga may reduce symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.

Improve Emotional Wellbeing

Kundalini Yoga can increase hormone production in your brain, balancing your parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems and producing a feeling of elation.

Enhance Cognitive Function

Kundalini Yoga can enhance memory and focus through improved blood flow to your brain. According to a 2017 study, older adults were able to improve memory and executive function through the practice of Kundalini.

Improve Respiratory Health

Kundalini can also help increase lung capacity and improve overall respiratory health based on research into yogic breathing techniques.

Key Characteristics of Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga is known as the yoga of awareness. This secretive practice was brought into the spotlight by Yogi Bhajan in the late 1960s. Since then, the practice hasn't quite reached the popularity of other types of yoga, like Hatha and Vinyasa, but it has seen a surge in popularity. If you're wondering what to expect from this increasingly popular yoga practice, there are four key characteristics that all Kundalini Yoga classes have.

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Mantra

Mantra is considered a "quantum technology" in Kundalini Yoga. The mantras as designed to be repeated aloud and each mantra has its own vibratory frequency. Mantras in Kundalini are generally spoken in Gurmukhi, an ancient Sikh language. The good news is that you don't have to actually understand the language for the frequency to do its job on you.

One of the more common mantras used in Kundalini Yoga is Sat Nam, meaning "I am truth."

Pranayama

Pranayama is known as breath control or breathwork and is a vital component of Kundalini. Breath is seen as life energy and in Kundalini, certain breathing techniques are tied to different Kriyas to maximize the benefits of the movement.

Kriyas

A Kriya is a grouping of sound, breath, and posture design to alter the state of the body and mind. There are said to be thousands of different Kriyas in Kundalini Yoga, each intended to remove specific blocks and negative energies.

Relaxation and Meditation

After the completion of Kriya, Kundalini practitioners will go into a relaxation stage that then leads to meditation.

Practice Kundalini Yoga Safely With myYogaTeacher

Like all yoga practices, Kundalini Yoga has contraindications. If you have any of the following conditions, consult your doctor before practicing:

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  • Hypertension or hypotension
  • Congenital heart defect
  • Epilepsy
  • Cholelithiasis
  • Frequent dizziness/fainting
  • Asthma
  • Recent injury or surgery
  • Drug or alcohol use

One of the best ways to minimize the potential for injury during your yoga practice is by working with experienced yoga teachers. With myYogaTeacher, you'll get access to a team of yoga teachers from all around India who have extensive experience both practicing and teaching yoga. And, since our classes are all live and online, you can get cueing help from a real teacher right in the moment.

Ready to start your Kundalini Yoga practice? Sign up for a free two-week trial of myYogaTeacher and you'll get access to not only our Kundalini sessions but 35+ live online classes every single day. Deepen your yoga practice, increase your enjoyment, and restore your mind and body with myYogaTeacher!

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