Everything You Need to Know About Kundalini Yoga

Everything You Need to Know About Kundalini Yoga

There are so many different types of yoga to try, from gentle to intense. Some are mostly physical, while others include meditation or spirituality. Kundalini yoga blends physical and spiritual practices. Classes combine movement with breathing exercises, meditation, mantras, and more.

Kundalini can be described as “infinite creative potential or energetic force of life,” says Charlotte Munn, 500ERYT, YACEP, owner of Charlotte’s Yoga School in Santa Monica, CA. “It’s a feeling of energetic aliveness, an explosion of joy and connectivity.”

Read on to learn more about why Kundalini yoga is such a powerful practice, according to those who love it, and whether it’s right for you.

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What Is Kundalini Yoga?

“Kundalini yoga is a mental and physical practice that uses the mind and body to access deeper spiritual awareness,” says Openfit Master Trainer Brent Laffoon, one of the world-renowned Yoga52 instructors.

Kundalini comes from the Sanskrit word kundal, or “coiled energy.” The idea is that each of us has this energy centered at the base of our spine that travels through our seven chakras, or energy centers, ending with the crown of our head.

Laffoon explains that Kundalini is conceptualized as a coiled-up snake lying dormant at the spine’s base. As we practice Kundalini yoga, we start to enliven our energy or “wake up the snake” so that we can access more of our true potential, adds Munn.

The best-known style of Kundalini yoga was brought to the West in the ’60s by Yogi Bhajan from what is now Pakistan. That style of Kundalini classes includes chanting, warm-up exercises for the spine, themed sequences of yoga poses with breathing exercises (called kriyas), and a closing meditation or chant.

You might notice the teacher and many seasoned students wearing all white, including turbans or head coverings. That’s because this color is believed to fend off bad energy.


What Is Kundalini Awakening?

graphic of 7 chakras | kundalini

Kundalini yoga works to connect the physical body and the “subtle” body, or what might be considered the spiritual body. When you develop this relationship, you prepare your body for the process of “awakening.” Kundalini energy then makes its way through your chakra system, to allow your inner consciousness to come into full expression. Think of Kundalini awakening as a spiritual awakening.

“Different people report different experiences, but, essentially, a Kundalini awakening is an experience of euphoric release that leads to self-realization, which is the ultimate goal of all yoga practices,” says Laffoon. “The awakening process is potential within all human beings.”


Benefits of Kundalini Yoga

1. Improves emotions.

Kundalini yoga increases the happy hormone productivity in your brain. That elated feeling that you get after you complete a yoga class is your body’s way of equalizing the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system.

2. Reduces stress.

Kundalini yoga can alter our stress response, too. For instance, after practicing Kundalini yoga, a group of middle-age women experienced lower blood pressure and reduced stress, according to this 2017 study.

3. Boosts brain strength.

Research shows that Kundalini yoga enhances your memory and focus by improving blood flow to your brain. With more research, it might even reverse signs of cognitive impairment — how cool is that?

4. Better breathing.

Kundalini practices include a lot of breathing exercises. Research supports yogic breathing techniques as a way to increase lung capacity and improve respiratory health.


How Do I Know if I’ve Had a Kundalini Awakening?

“You may feel extreme bliss” as you tune into your inner energy, Munn says. “The way to tune in is by doing the practices and setting your inner skeptic aside. Be curious and consistent.”

A Kundalini awakening is the ultimate surrender process. You only need an open mind and a hankering to get more in touch with yourself. Munn believes that if you consistently put in the work, you will feel the movement of energy within you.

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