Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga is more spiritual and meditative than some other types of yoga mixing physicality with mantras, breathing techniques and chants to create a workout for the body, mind and soul.
Kundalini Yoga
Year founded

The History of Kundalini Yoga

The literal definition of Kundalini is ‘coiled snake’. The practice is built on the belief that we possess a divine feminine energy at the base of our spines and through the practice, we bring that energy up our spines, through the seven chakras and out the crown of our heads. It’s an awakening of our Higher Self, and a realisation of our potential energy.

Kundalini Yoga’s exact origin is unknown, however historical records place its inception around 1,000 BCE to 500 BCE where sacred writings of spiritual visions known as Upanishads were developed as physical expression. For thousands of years these teachings were saved for the Indian yoga elite, kept hidden and passed on in secret when a master deemed a student ready. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that Kundalini Yoga was shared with the Western world by Yogi Bhajan who moved from Punjab to Toronto in 1968.

When visiting California in the late 1960s Yogi Bhajan awoke from meditation with the inspiration to bring Kundalini to the West. He believed that it was everyone’s birthright to be healthy, happy and holy, and that practicing this form of yoga was a direct way to achieve this. He made LA his home and founded the 3HO Foundation and Kundalini Research Institute where he taught classes and established a teacher training programme. He also penned several books on the practice including ‘I Am a Woman: Creative, Sacred & Invincible’ and ‘The Aquarian Teacher’.

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga mixes the physical with the spiritual, emphasising awareness of your energy and how it moves through your body. Unlike some other types of yoga, the workout is more meditative with each series of postures known as a Kriya, meaning completed action, ending with a meditation which may be incorporated into the Kriya itself. Mantras are also used in Kundalini Yoga, the most popular being ‘Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo’, which translates to “I bow to the Creative Wisdom and to the teacher within.” and Sat Nam, which means, “I honour my true identity”.

Who Can Practice?

Anyone can practice Kundalini Yoga, although if you have a pre-existing condition or injury it should be approached with care and you should notify the teacher. It’s an intense practice that is both physical and spiritual. It’s more than just a workout for the body. As well as increasing blood flow and flexibility in the body, Kundalini Yoga is great for reducing stress, improving willpower and creativity, and quieting our busy minds.

Kundalini Yoga Classes

Kundalini Yoga classes usually start with an opening chant, a warm up for your spine, a series of Kriyas and then a closing meditation or song. Most students will dress all in white which is thought to ward off negative energy and allow your aura to expand. However, if it’s your first time trying Kundalini Yoga it’s OK to try the practice without the formal attire, just wear something that’s comfortable and that allows you to move. The teacher will likely wear a turban or headscarf to contain energy within the body. A typical class will last between 60 and 90 minutes and is focused on your breath and the alignment of your chakras. It’s best to avoid eating for three hours before a class and water is allowed in the room when you practice.

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