There are many misconceptions and controversies when it comes to Kundalini yoga.
At the core, this type of yoga strives to be a tool to harness the body’s mental, physical and nervous energies to improve your relationship with your soul.
The most important thing to know about Kundalini yoga is that it’s not a religion. It’s a universal practice that anyone can get involved in to challenge your everyday life path.
Kundalini Yoga Overview
Kundalini is derived from the Sanskrit word Kundal, and means “coiled energy” or “coiled snake,” and Kundalini yoga is called the “yoga of awareness.”
The goal is to experience a Kundalini awakening, which is to release the collected spiritual energy or life force at the base of the spine, sometimes visualized as a coiled-up serpent. Through the practice, it’s thought that the Kundalini energy travels up the spine through the seven chakras and out the top of the head.
Yoga practitioners use breath work (pranayama), physical postures (asanas), chanting, hand positions (mudras), and meditation to unlock this energy in the nervous system.
History of Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini yoga was initially known as Laya yoga.
Although Laya yoga was a secret practice, references can be found in classical Indian texts such as Upanishads. Eventually, the secrecy of Laya yoga was challenged and was brought to the West by Yogi Bhajan in 1969. Yogi Bhajan is the founder of 3HO (Happy, Healthy, Holy Organization).
What Is the Difference Between Kundalini and Other Yogas?
If you’ve tried Hatha yoga, Vinyasa yoga, Iyengar yoga, or other types of yoga, you’re already ahead of the game. Hatha and Kundalini yoga share similar attributes because they are practices grounded in posture and the breath. Kundalini yoga is different from other types of yoga, though, because of the Kundalini Kriyas (sequence of movements).
How Hard Is Kundalini Yoga?
Kundalini yoga can be challenging, but you will ease into the practice if you’re learning from a certified instructor.
Is Kundalini Yoga Suitable for Beginners?
Anyone can practice Kundalini yoga, but it’s perfect for those looking to implement a more spiritual practice into their lives.
Although Kundalini yoga can be an intense physical workout, beginner yogis will significantly benefit from the mental and spiritual benefits.
Is Kundalini Yoga Dangerous?
There are many benefits to Kundalini yoga, and it’s considered a safe practice of yoga. Some people do find that the practice of shifting energy can overshadow the positive attributes, though.
Before starting the practice, discuss with a certified Kundalini instructor the pros and cons of moving energy in your body. Since this practice isn’t one size fits all, you may need to try out the practice yourself to see if it’s right for you.
Benefits of Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini yoga has many benefits. Studies show that this type of yoga can have an immediate effect on lowering salivary cortisol. The adrenal glands produce hormones that regulate your metabolism, immune system, and response to stress. Studies show that salivary cortisol can be used as a stress biomarker, and when marking the effects of Kundalini yoga, salivary cortisol levels went down.
What Is Kundalini Yoga Good For?
A Kundalini yoga practice is considered more of a spiritual practice than a physical one (though there are plenty of physical benefits).
Can You Lose Weight Doing Kundalini Yoga?
There isn’t enough evidence to prove that Kundalini yoga can specifically help you lose weight, but studies do show that yoga can foster a better mind-body connection which can lead to weight loss.
Does Kundalini Yoga Tone Your Body?
Although there aren’t many studies to prove that Kundalini yoga can tone your body, instructors state that Kundalini yoga postures can improve flexibility, strength, and muscle tone over time.
How Often Should You Do Kundalini Yoga?
It is recommended that you practice Kundalini yoga at least three to four times a week and build up to practicing a couple of minutes every day. If you can’t practice that much, even one day a week is okay.
How to Practice Kundalini Yoga
If you would like to start practicing Kundalini yoga, the best option is to take a Kundalini class led by a certified yoga instructor. They’ll be able to guide you through everything you need to know about this type of yoga.
What Is a Kundalini Yoga Class Like?
Most Kundalini yoga classes are separated into three parts: an opening chant (tuning in) followed by a brief warm-up for your spine, a kriya (sequence of postures paired with breathing techniques), then the class ends with a closing meditation or song.
Kriya is the Sanskrit word for “action.” A Kriya pairs a pose with a breath or meditation.
These poses are chosen based on the body parts you want to focus on, and there are different kriyas for different breaths. Chanting and singing is also a super important part of Kundalini yoga.
There are many songs and mantras that you can recite while practicing, and meditation is also an essential part of the class.
There will be a minute or two of meditation between each posture so that students can relax and focus inward. There’s also meditation time after the set, and a mantra is recited before class ends.
You can expect students to wear white clothes in some classes, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to wear white.
White wards off negative energy and can extend your own aura. Teachers often wear a white head covering to contain their own spiritual energy in their bodies while they lead the class.
Is Kundalini Yoga a Good Workout?
Kundalini yoga is an excellent workout because it’s a new way to challenge your body.
It’s known for helping to build core strength with regular practice because some of the more intense breathing techniques—like the Breath of Fire—require you to “pull” into your navel, which engages abdominal muscles with each inhale and exhale.
Most classes last for an hour to an hour and a half, and students are active for a large amount of the allotted time.
Kundalini Yoga Poses to Try at Home
Your first Kundalini yoga class should be in a class environment instead of at home it’s imperative to learn from a certified Kundalini instructor to help you learn mantra, energy healing, and meditation to change the energy in your physical body.
Kundalini Yoga Tips for Beginners
The foundation of Kundalini yoga stems from the energy that comes from your spine, so many poses require strength and flexibility. If you’re a beginner and find it difficult getting into the poses, don’t feel overwhelmed. It can take some time to learn how to get into position and harness your energy, but the more you practice, you’ll be able to master Kundalini yoga.
The Bottom Line: Is Kundalini Yoga For Me?
If you’re looking for a practice that will make you more aware of your body and will guide you in changing your energy, emotion, and motion, then break out your yoga mat, because Kundalini yoga is for you.
Allanah Dykes is a freelance writer for Celebribody. Her work has been featured on Hunker, Matador Network, Elite Daily, and PopSugar, among others. Most of her day is spent writing, but she loves to garden and incorporate dance workouts into her weekly workout schedule when she has the chance.