Are You Kundalini Curious?
When my wife and I owned five yoga centers years ago, we offered all types of yoga.
Of course Kundalini Yoga was our “favorite” and our personal practice, and we needed to come up with some answers for the students who came to our centers for the first time to try out Kundalini Yoga.
Over time, we also found the following answers to be helpful when people wanted to tell their friends about Kundalini Yoga, and to anticipate questions that new Kundalini Yoga teachers who graduated from our teacher training programs might encounter.
So for those friends and yoga students who are “kundalini curious,” we came up with these answers!
What is Kundalini Yoga?
Kundalini Yoga is a dynamic form of yoga that awakens awareness. It uses sets of yogic postures and movements (asana) with meditative focus, breath work (pranayama), and chanting (mantra). In addition to strengthening the health and well being of the physical body, it is very useful for emotional balance, mental clarity, stress relief, and personal transformation.
How is Kundalini Yoga different from other types of Yoga?
Kundalini Yoga contains the elements of all forms of Yoga. It includes physical postures and movements (asana), meditation, breath work (pranayam), and chanting (mantra). Kundalini Yoga is taught in prescribed sets of exercises (kriyas) and is taught in its pure and complete form. The teacher does not make up exercises or series. Kundalini Yoga is a physical practice but it also encompasses a meditative focus that makes it good for stress relief and emotional balancing- in addition to the physical benefits.
What do I need to bring to a Kundalini Yoga class?
For most classes, you do not need to bring anything but yourself. Most classes are held in carpeted rooms so yoga mats are not necessary (but you are welcome to bring one if you like.) Many students like to lay out a blanket to practice on. Blankets can also be used for covering up to maintain warmth during meditation and relaxation. Pillows can provide comfort for sitting (slip the edge under your hips) or for relaxation. Bolsters soothe a tired back during relaxation if you place one under your knees (legs extended).
What can I expect in a Kundalini Yoga class?
Each Kundalini Yoga class follows a similar structure designed for optimal results physically, mentally, and emotionally. All Kundalini classes begin with a time for centering. The teacher leads the class in the mantra, “Ong Namo, Guru Dev Namo.” This mantra means, “I call upon my own inner guidance, the teacher within me.” Students may chant or listen, as they like. The class then is lead in 10-20 minutes of warm-up exercises, which prepare the body for the yoga sets (kriyas) that follow. After warm-ups, yoga sets (kriyas) are begun. Each yoga set involves physical postures (asana), breath work (pranayama) and meditative focus. Yoga is followed by a short meditation. Class ends with a long, deep relaxation that allows time for regeneration, stress release, and peace. Each class closes with a song of blessing, in which students can sing along or listen. The words to this song are “May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you, and the pure light within you guide your way on.” After class, yogi tea is served and students may relax or visit. At this time, the teacher is also available to answer questions.
What is Kundalini?
Kundalini energy is the energy of awareness. Yogicly, it is taught that this energy of awareness lies dormant within us until through yoga, meditation, or spiritual practices, we begin to awaken it. Once this energy is awakened, we see reality more clearly, exist more in the present, and are spiritually connected. Simply put, awakening our “kundalini” is just awakening our own awareness and consciousness.
What are Chakras?
Chakras are energy centers in the body. Each corresponds to a different part of the body (starting at the base of the spine and moving up to the crown of the head). Learning about the chakras is a way of bringing balance to mental and physical issues through energetic techniques. Chakras may be mentioned in Kundalini Yoga classes but it is not necessary to be familiar with such concepts before attending class.
What is mantra? What is the purpose of using sound in Kundalini Yoga classes?
Mantra is use of specific sounds to change the consciousness of the mind and chemistry of the brain. Mantras, like words, have a meaning (most are expressions of oneness and unity with the Infinite). However, the effect of the mantra comes from more than just it’s meaning. Each sound is a formula, causing the tongue to strike specific points in the mouth. These points trigger response in the brain. Some mantras are used silently. In this case, it is a mental focus for the mind. Use of mantra is a fun and uplifting experience. Students who are uncomfortable with use of mantra are not required to chant and may enjoy just listening.
Why do some Kundalini Yoga classes use the gong?
The sounds of the gong are useful in helping to release blocks in the body and mind. The gong is used during relaxation or during certain meditations. Many people feel the gong helps them relax more deeply, meditate more easily, and allows for deep clearing and healing to take place.
Are you really Kundalini Curious?
Come to one of our Kundalini Teacher training programs:
Fort Worth, Texas (January 2020)
Las Vegas, Nevada (January 2020)
Ojai, California (March 2020)
Austin, Texas (2019/2020)