Kundalini Yoga consists of simple yogic techniques that can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter your age or physical ability. It is a complete yoga practice that includes breathing exercises (pranayama), yoga postures (asanas), chanting (mantra), meditation, and relaxation. It is designed to provide you with the experience of your highest consciousness through the raising of your kundalini.
The word ‘kundalini’ literally means ‘the curl of the lock of hair of the beloved.’ It is a metaphor, a poetic way of describing the flow of energy and consciousness that already exists within each one of us. In yogic teachings, kundalini is a force that can lie dormant at the base of the spine. We ‘raise our kundalini’ by awakening the flow of energy within the body through breathing exercises, movements, and focused awareness. The result varies for different people – some may literally feel physical flows of energy within the body, and some may just feel a lifting of spirits and lightness of being after practice.
What to expect in a class
There is a heavy emphasis on breath in Kundalini Yoga. Each posture comes with a specific breath pattern, and we always open class with a pranayam (breathing exercise) to open the lungs and clear the mind. Breath provides power for you to go deeper into a posture and for your energy to be transformed.
Every class incorporates mantras – chanting and singing sacred words. We use sound as a tool to experience the present moment and shift out of negative thought patterns. Chanting lifts the spirit and aligns your mind with the vibration of the divine.
Each Kundalini Yoga class incorporates a kriya, a series of postures for a particular effect. Your experience will vary greatly from class to class depending on what kriya the teacher decides to teach that day. Movements range from repetitive flexing of the spine, to more familiar postures such as downward dog, to lying on the floor and laughing. Expect the unexpected.
We close our eyes and turn our focus inward during many exercises. You may be directed to focus your gaze towards the ‘third eye’, between the eyebrows. This helps to focus the mind and brings us to a more present state of being.
Every class includes meditation, usually at the end of the class after the kriya. Kundalini Meditations are quite varied, and often incorporate a specific breathing exercise, mantra, and mudra (hand gesture). In our classes, meditation ranges from 3 minutes to 31 minutes.
A FOCUS ON ENERGY
Everything we do in class is designed to open up the flow of energy within the body. This allows us to become more physically fit, release stagnant emotions, and open up to new levels of vitality and creativity. Each kriya balances different chakras (energy centres) and helps to increase the flow of prana (life force). Exercises incorporate bandhas (body locks) in order to enhance postures, align ourselves, and direct the flow of energy in the body.
LOTS OF WHITE
Teachers dress in white natural-fibre clothing with a head covering – it’s our uniform. Wearing white from head to toe expands the aura, and wrapping the head with a head covering helps one to focus during meditation. As a student, wear any colour you like. You’re welcome to try out white if it’s calling to you.
MEET YOUR EDGE, BUT AT YOUR OWN PACE
Many of postures and elements of class may feel unconventional, and you will be confronted with the choice to either respond with resistance, or surrender to the experience and meet your edge. In any exercise, you are encouraged to move at your own pace and modify as needed for your own body. As you get more familiar with the practice, being present, keeping up, and making conscious decisions to take your body and mind beyond your comfort zone will make all the difference. Surrendering to the experience will clear fears you didn’t even know were there, and give you an immensely strong connection with your self.