As a very ancient type of yoga, Kundalini yoga has only been practiced in the west for a fairly short time. It was introduced to the world at large in 1969 by Yogi Bhajan, who founded the Health, Happy, Holy Organization (3HO) for the purpose of introducing Kundalini yoga to the world. Prior to this, Kundalini yoga had been taught privately with information regarding it being kept confidential between master and pupil. However, Yogi Bhajan felt that the time had come for the whole world to know about and enjoy the many healing and energizing benefits offered by Kundalini yoga, which differs from other forms of yoga because it concentrates on the â€œpranaâ€ or untapped energy that is believed to rest at the base of each personâ€™s spine.
This energy is often symbolized as a serpent, coiled 3 times around the â€œsacred boneâ€ located at the base of the spine. Through Kundalini yoga, this energy can be channeled up the spine and through the body causing each of the seven chakras (energy centers) located along the spine to awaken. When the energy has reached the topmost chakra – the Crown Chakra – it is said that full enlightenment is attained.
Kundalini yoga classes are structured and traditional. They usually start with a brief period of chanting. Following this, your instructor will lead you in warm-up stretches for the spine. These are aimed at improving your flexibility. Once you have warmed up, you will begin the real work, or kriyas. You will practice a series of poses or â€œpranayamaâ€ that focus on particular body parts that need work. Your instructor will not intervene as you practice.
The focus of Kundalini yoga is on movement and breath. Each set of movements or â€œasana seriesâ€ has a coinciding breath series. Coupling these movement and breathing techniques is said to make the effect of the asanas more intense and free the energy of the lower body so that it can move freely up the spine and through the chakras. The sets of Kundalini movements are called sequences or â€œkriyasâ€. They are often made up of a series of movements done in quick repetition with an accompanying breath sequence; however, some kriyas simply involve holding a pose in stillness while focusing on breathing. At the end of the class, there will be a time of meditation that may be accompanied by a closing song and the playing of a gong.
The word, â€œyogaâ€ is derived from a word in Sanskrit -â€yujâ€. This word translates as â€œuniteâ€ or â€œunionâ€. That union is the aim of all yoga – to unite the components of the practitioner into wholeness. All forms of yoga, whether Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa yoga, and others share this goal; however, Kundalini yoga takes it a step further by tapping into the potential of psychic energy that lies deep within each of us.
While Kundalini yoga is a very spiritual type of yoga, it is also quite physically demanding. It is an excellent yoga choice for those who wish to go the extra mile with yoga. The goal of Kundalini yoga is to kindle the pure potential of spirit and engender a sense of compassion and values that will allow you to heal and work in the service of others. Kundalini yoga is a discipline that will help you to focus your attention and energy on the quest for perfection in coordinating body, mind and spirit. Kundalini yoga is unlike other forms of exercise, and other forms of yoga. It doesnâ€™t just tone, shape and strengthen the body, it also tones, shapes and strengthens the mind and the spirit.
Kundalini yoga practice helps to release energy and tension trapped in the body and leaves you feeling at peace and more connected with the universe. It cultivates focus, compassion and maturity, enhances intuition, expands sensory acuity, and helps you gain control of your thought processes and your life. Kundalini yoga is thought of as a very accelerated type of meditation and yoga that can help you realize pure potentiality.