I can admit, I’m totally a self-described Yoga addict. From Vinyasa, Hatha, Hot Yoga to Aerial. I’ve tried it all. Being a children’s yoga teacher, I was obviously drawn to yoga, but I never found one type that I completely loved until I met Kundalini Yoga.
Kundalini is the mother of all yoga. It’s one of the oldest forms of yoga – practiced in India, by the Upanishads, since 500 B.C.. Yogi Bhajan, brought Kundalini yoga to share with the West in 1969 when he founded 3H0 organization “Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization”.
Relatively new to the Western World, Kundalini is the “yoga of awareness”. We tap into the spiritual energy or life force energy (prana) located at our spine and arouse that coiled energy to be drawn up through the body to awaken the seven chakras. Full enlightenment occurs when the energy reaches the crown chakra at the top of the head. We do more than just kriyas (yoga postures), it includes pranayama (focused breathing) and mantras (chants) to open your heart, release the spiritual energy and tap into your inner power.
There was a bit of a shock factor, no doubt, with my first experience with Kundalini yoga. All the meditation, jumping and singing was unlike any other yoga I practiced. The class started with a short chant and meditation to bring us to present moment awareness. Each meditation, had a different hand position (mudra) that had the purpose to direct the flow of energy to specific body areas. I was astonished how the synchronized, loud chanting powerfully shifted the rooms energy to calmness. I felt energetically connected to myself and united to each person in the class.
We focused on a warm up to stretch the spine and improve flexibility through common yoga poses. The bulk of the class was focused on a series of specific postures which consisted of the same repetitive movement. Individually the poses seemed easy, but doing any movement continuously for 2-11 minutes, while incorporating breathe of fire, and you’ll surely feel fatigued. To simultaneously focus on the movement and breathing was challenging both mentally and physically. I certainly struggled with my mind to push past my comfort zone and not compare myself to the advanced yogi’s in the class. When I listened to my body, instead of my mind, I pushed myself further than I thought possible, but not more than what I should do. I apply this lesson to every aspect of my life when my ego and mind want me to remain small. I find true fulfillment and personal growth when I push myself past my minds comfort zone.
Class ended with a long savasana to the soothing sounds of a healing gong meditation. Gong vibrations clear the imbalances in your chakra energy centers. A few days before class, I unexpectedly lost my voice and knew that the blockage in my throat chakra was a result of my inability to speak my truth and express my feelings. When the gong vibrations reached my throat area, I felt a chocking sensation as if something was literally blocking my throat. Due to the discomfort, I thought I would have to leave the room for fear of disturbing others with my gasping and coughing. Suddenly, the sensation completely disappeared and my throat felt soothed. At that moment, without speaking, I knew my voice had returned. When I spoke after class, my intuition was correct. The Kundalini teacher explained that gong vibrations provide sound energy healing. We don’t always need to know what’s blocking our energy, we just need to be open to release the blockages to raise our vibration and regain balance in our body. The entire experience was utterly transformative. I had never felt this amount of peace, elevation and rejuvenation after any other yoga class.
Yoga is all about becoming one with your mind, body, and soul. I have yet to find another type of yoga that unites breathing, mindfulness, strength and enlightenment the way Kundalini Yoga does. If you are open to a spiritual experience while also having a challenging workout, I highly suggest you give Kundalini yoga a whirl. Stay tuned to my weekly VLOGS at Astitva Seekers.com where I share simple Kundalini meditation and breathing techniques you can incorporate into your daily life.
Photo Credit: McKay Savage