Kundalini yoga is a form of yoga that involves singing, chanting, breathing, and repeating poses. It intends to activate your kundalini energy or shakti. This is a spiritual energy that is said to be at the base of your spinal cord. As Kundalini Yoga awakens this energy, it should improve your consciousness and help you move past your ego. The practice is sometimes also called “the yoga of awareness.”
Read more about the benefits of Kundalini yoga and how it differs from other types of yoga.
What is Kundalini Yoga?
Kundalini yoga is practiced worldwide, although its origin is unknown. The concept of Kundalini energy has been around for centuries and is present in ancient Vedic texts from 1,000 B.C. Kundalini yoga is most associated with Yogi Bhajan, a yoga teacher from Pakistan. He introduced the practice to Western countries in the 1960s.
The term “Kundalini” comes from the Sanskrit word “kundal,” which means “circular.” It also refers to a coiled snake. According to practitioners, Kundalini energy is like that coiled snake: It sits at the base of your spine, sleeping and untouched. Kundalini yoga helps activate this energy, allowing it to move up and through the chakras along your spine.
In yoga, chakras are your body’s seven energy centers. They include:
- Root chakra
- Sacral chakra
- Naval, or solar plexus chakra
- Heart chakra
- Throat chakra
- Third eye chakra
- Crown chakra
As the energy of Kundalini rises, it helps to balance these chakras and help your spiritual well-being. Kundalini yoga is said to lead to spiritual enlightenment with regular practice. It is also called “the awakening of Kundalini.”
How Does it Differ From Other Types of Yoga?
Kundalini Yoga is more spiritual like the original forms of yoga. It still involves physical movements, but the main focus is not on them. It is different from, for example, Hatha or vinyasa yoga, which both revolve around physical poses.
Kundalini yoga is more accurate and repetitive. Whereas other types of yoga flow with your breath, Kundalini yoga combines chanting, singing, movements, and breathing in specific patterns.
Six Main Components of Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini yoga consists of six main components, which comes in the following order:
- Opening chant: Every class begins with an opening chant, also known as tuning in.
- Pranayama or warmup: You’ll do breathing exercises, called pranayama, and sometimes also movements to stretch your spine. The goal of pranayama is to practice breath control.
- Kriya: A kriya is a sequence of postures, pranayama, mudras (hand positions), sounds, and meditation. The length and intensity of the kriya depend on your instructor.
- Relaxation: It allows your body and mind to absorb the effects of a kriya.
- Meditation: Your instructor guides you through meditation to cultivate awareness.
- Closing chant: The class ends with a closing chant.
What are the Benefits of Kundalini Yoga?
Kundalini yoga has several scientific and anecdotal advantages. Let’s take a closer look at them.
Stress and anxiety relief
Kundalini yoga can help relieve stress and anxiety-like other forms of yoga. In a small 2017 study, Trusted Source, volunteers experienced immediate stress relief after doing Kundalini yoga. This effect continued after three more months of practice.
Similarly, a 2018 study determined that eight weeks of Kundalini yoga lowered participants’ anxiety levels. The researchers concluded that Kundalini yoga could be an effective treatment for people with widespread anxiety disorder. The researchers concluded.
Improves cognitive function
In a 2017 controlled trial, researchers studied 81 participants with mild cognitive impairment. The participants were randomly divided into two groups. One group was involved in Kundalini yoga, while the other received 12 weeks of memory improvement training.
While both groups demonstrated significant improvements in their memory at the end of the study, only the Kundalini group showed short-term and long-term improvements in their executive functioning. This includes skills such as reasoning, problem resolution, and cognitive flexibility.
In addition to cognitive improvements, there were fewer symptoms of depression in the group practicing Kundalini yoga at the end of the study.
According to the researchers, Kundalini yoga may help by improving self-perception and self-appreciation.
It’s believed that you become more spiritually connected with yourself and others as your Kundalini energy awakens. These benefits are not scientifically proven, but anecdotal evidence supports them. The purported benefits may include the following:
- More empathy
- Enhanced creativity
- Improved charisma
- Increased energy
- Inner peace
Kundalini poses for beginners
If you’d like to try Kundalini yoga, you may want to start with these beginner-friendly poses.
Lotus is a seated basic pose. It helps open your hips, so it could feel difficult if you have tightness in the area. Move slowly and avoid posture in case of hip difficulties. To do lotus pose:
- Sit on the floor with extended legs. Keep a neutral spine.
- Bend your knees to the outside, bringing your feet to the body as if you were going to sit in a cross leg position.
- Place your left foot on top of your right thigh. Then, place your right foot on top of your left thigh.
- Inhale and exhale deeply while in Lotus, unless your instructor has you do pranayama.
This pose helps to activate your Kundalini energy. Here’s how to do it:
- Lie down on your stomach, with your legs and feet pressed together. Rest the tops of your feet against the floor.
- Put your palms beneath your shoulders. Make sure your fingers point forward, and your elbows are parallel to each other.
- Inhale. Lift your head and torso, pressing your lower body into the floor.
- Straighten your arms and lift your chest and stomach. Bring your shoulders down and back.
- Hold Cobra for up to 30 seconds, breathing deeply. Exhale and return to the starting position.
Archer is thought to make you feel confident, like a warrior. To do this pose:
- Stand up straight, with your feet together. Turn out your right foot approximately 45 degrees.
- Step your right foot back, straightening your leg. Bend your left knee, but make sure it doesn’t go past your left foot.
- Extend your arms to the height of your shoulder. Curl both hands into fists and point your thumbs up.
- Rotate your upper body to the left. Simultaneously bend your right elbow and bring your right fist toward your right armpit.
- Look forward and take a deep breath while you are in this position for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Then change the sides of your left leg, bend your left arm, and hold for another 2 to 3 minutes while breathing deeply.
Is Kundalini Yoga Safe?
Kundalini yoga, like all yoga, needs practising with safety in mind. Please use caution if you have:
- Breathing problems
- Joint pain
- An injury
- Balance problems
If you are not sure if Kundalini is safe for you, talk to your doctor to determine if you should take any precautions or if a safer exercise option is available.
The Bottom Line
Kundalini yoga combines yoga flow with breathing, much more like traditional yoga. Kundalini yoga helps to activate kundalini energy with the combination of singing, movement, and breathing in unique patterns. The aim is to promote spiritual enlightenment and connection to the body.
Kundalini yoga has several scientific advantages. Research shows that it helps relieve stress and anxiety, improved cognitive function, self-perception, and enhanced self-appreciation.
Our safety tip is to talk to your doctor if you are pregnant, have breathing difficulties, injury, joint pain, or balance issues to ensure kundalini yoga is safe for you. Also, make sure you wear comfy clothes.
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