Kundalini Yoga - Principles, Kriyas and Practices


These days Yoga is getting popular in almost all parts of the world, especially in the west. Yoga is a blessing that India has given to the whole world along with Ayurveda. Yoga can be simply defined as a scientific system of physical and mental practices to help each one of us achieve our highest potential and to experience enduring health and happiness. With Yoga, we can extend our healthy, productive years far beyond the accepted norm and, at the same time, improve the quality of our lives.
There are many types of Yoga and we will be explaining about Kundalini Yoga in this article.

What is Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini yoga (kuṇḍalinī-yoga) is a school of yoga that is influenced by Shaktism and Tantra schools of Hinduism. It derives its name through a focus on awakening kundalini energy through regular practice of mantra, tantra, yantra, yoga or meditation.] Kundalini yoga is often identified as the most dangerous form of yoga because of the involvement of subtle energies. Kundalini yoga is also called the "yoga of awareness." Originally known as Laya yoga,the primary aim of Kundalini yoga is to awaken the kundalini energy, which lies coiled, serpent-like, at the base of the spine.The ancient practice of Laya yoga was secret, and finds mention in classical Indian texts such as the Upanishads (which date back to 500 B.C.E.). The secrecy of these practices was challenged and it was eventually taught publicly to the West in 1969 by Yogi Bajan.



In Kundalini Yoga, practitioners use breathing exercises, physical postures, chanting and meditation to unlock this energy. Kundalini Yoga is a blend of Bhakti Yoga (the yogic practice of devotion and chanting), Raja Yoga (the practice of mediation/mental and physical control) and Shakti Yoga, (for the expression of power and energy). The practices also help prepare the practitioner physically and spiritually for the intensity of this energy. Each kundalini class begins with a chant and is followed up by a warm-up for the spine. The main part of the class is the kriyas, which combine postures and breathing techniques and end with a meditation and chant.

How Kundalini Yoga works?

To understand how Kundalini Yoga works you first have to understand that you have a snake in your spine. The Sanskrit word kundal means “circular.” And it can be a noun for a coiled snake. The feminine kundalī means a ring, bracelet, or coil of rope. This concept was adopted as kundalinī into Hatha yoga in the 15th century and, by the 16th century, was used in the Yoga Upanishads.

So the term Kundalini means “a spiritual energy or life force located at the base of the spine,” which
is usually conceptualized as a coiled-up serpent.

The practice of Kundalini Yoga is supposed to arouse the sleeping Kundalini Shakti from its coiled base through the six chakras that reside along the spine, and through the seventh chakra, or crown. Chakras are wheels, or hubs of energy, along which energy or prana, travels like a superhighway to distribute energy throughout the body.Like a snake being charmed out of a basket by a bansuri, Kundalini weaves and coils, waking up energy and clearing stagnancy along the way. Without the fangs.

These days Kundalini Yoga is a synthesis of many traditions, and the kriyas and meditations in Kundalini Yoga are designed to raise complete body awareness to prepare the body, nervous system, and mind to handle the energy of Kundalini Rising. Many of the physical postures are designed to activate the navel, spine, and focal points of pressurization on meridians (energy points). Through breath work (pranayama) and the application of yogic locks of energy (bandhas), the release, direction, and control of the flow of Kundalini energy is achieved.

The technique of alternate nostril breathing (left nostril, right nostril) which is described as a simple breathing technique, is one of these often-utilized techniques. When you’re dealing with a stuffed up nose, there’s nothing simple about breathing out of one nostril. Especially the one plugged up. I’ve found the simplicity comes through first attempting, then practising. This type of breath work is taught as a way to cleanse the nadis, or subtle channels and pathways, to help awaken Kundalini energy. Probably the last thing you want to do when you’re congested, but can be quite helpful!

KUNDALINI KRIYAS  - Principles and methodology

1. From a seated position, extend arms overhead and shake your arms, your entire upper body, your head. “Shake like you’re made of jello,” says Gurmukh. Like animals in the wild, this type of shaking is how fear, anxiety, and other emotions are moved through and out of the body. It’s also supports great mobility in the spine. When we have a healthy spine, we have a healthy mindShoulder Stand, when done properly, the yogic masters say that 15 minutes of shoulder stand equals 2 hours of sleep.

2. Seated in Rock Pose (shins tucked underneath), bring hands to shoulders, elbows out wide and with a tall spine, inhale and turn spine to the left, exhale and turn spine to the right. It’s like your spine is a vertical blade in the center of a blender. This is a great one to do every single day.

3. Deep Squats, with hands at heart (you can roll over the yoga mat to slide under your heels if needed), spine long, bend your knees to drop your bottom towards the ground. Keep your head
upright and inhale as you lower down, exhale to come up.

4. Spinal Flexion, from a seated cross-legged position, this is the way your spine would move if you were riding a camel. Since we’re sorely lacking in camels these days, try moving your chest forward (head does not move), then back with your arms along side you. For maximum health of your spine. This helps open your diaphragm, chest and shoulders as well. Imagine you have a very bumpy ride. Or an uncoordinated camel.

The practice of kriyas and meditations in Kundalini Yoga are designed to raise complete body awareness to prepare the body, nervous system, and mind to handle the energy of Kundalini rising. The majority of the physical postures focus on navel activity, activity of the spine, and selective pressurization of body points and meridians. Breath work and the application of bandhas (3 yogic locks) aid to release, direct and control the flow of Kundalini energy from the lower centers to the higher energetic centers.

Along with the many kriyas, meditations and practices of Kundalini Yoga, a simple breathing technique of alternate nostril breathing (left nostril, right nostril) is taught as a method to cleanse the nadis, or subtle channels and pathways, to help awaken Kundalini energy.

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