Kundalini yoga: The controversial school of yoga explained
Yogis love to experiment with various types of yoga so they can try new breathing exercises, bend in new ways and experience enlightenment in different ways. Kundalini yoga, an ancient type of yoga, is said to make you feel better and enable you to build a stronger and healthier body. Learn more about this controversial type of yoga.
What is Kundalini yoga
Kundalini yoga or ‘yoga of awareness’ is a blend of Bhakti, Raja and Shakti yoga. Highly influenced by Shaktism and Tantra, this school of yoga is all about the experience: how you are feeling during the sequences, poses and flows. It also promotes health and happiness for a better, more peaceful life. Known as one of the most powerful forms of yoga, it was only in 1969 that the western world discovered this form of yoga thanks to Yogi Bhajan who shared it with the world. Some describe this yoga practice as dangerous and some even see it as a type of cult because yogis are supposed to wear all white. However, most yogis just see it as a way to free a deep strength that lies within your body.
The six major components in all Kundalini yoga classes
All the sequences have been passed down from teacher to teacher, unlike other types of yoga where teachers can invent flows and create entire classes on the fly. No matter where you are in the world, if you take a Kundalini yoga class, the six components below will be included in your practice.
- An opening mantra to tune you into the present moment;
- Pranayam (breathing exercises);
- Kriya set (postures, breathing, and sounds that balance the body, mind and soul);
- Relaxation (savasana);
- Closing the practice with a chant called The Long Time Sun Blessing and repeating Sat Nam three times.
The objective of this type of yoga
Kundalini energy is said to be coiled at the base of a woman’s spine, just like a snake (the word kundalini in Sanskrit actually means “coiled snake”). The snake symbolizes Kundalini because unless the energy is manifested, the snake is hard to see and stays coiled. When you practise this type of yoga, you unleash the power and energy within you, thus uncoiling the snake and awakening this spiritual energy that will create peace and happiness in your life. Practising this type of yoga will help you face every day hardships and challenges since it allows you to have more control and increase your mental awareness. How is this possible? The breathing exercises, the specific movements and meditating during the practice all allow you to unleash a special kind of energy.
Unlike hot yoga, Kundalini isn’t only for experienced yogis. Beginners can also appreciate its transformative aspects. Grab your mat, put your favourite stretchy leggings on and head to a local kundalini class to uncoil your snake.
Cover photo: Mark Zamora | Unsplash