Get ready to try my absolute favorite type of yoga – Kundalini yoga! Here’s a bit more about this unique form of yoga, and why I love it so much – and I think you will, too…
This month in our yoga types series, we have finally come to my personal favorite – Kundalini yoga! I discovered Kundalini yoga almost by accident several years ago, and have since fallen in love with this unique and powerful form of yoga. I still enjoy Hatha, Vinyasa, and Yin classes from time to time, but Kundalini is where my heart is! Personally, I love it for so many reasons, but mainly because it just makes me feel amazing every time! Even when I’m tired, worn out, run down, and just not feeling up to other types of yoga or exercise, Kundalini seems to cure just about any bad mood I can throw at it… 🙂
Kundalini is a bit harder to describe than some of the other types of yoga. Its intensity and focus has led Kundalini to sometimes be referred to as “the Mother of yoga,” even though it was not recognized as a distinct, formal type of yoga until the last century. However, the practices that are involved have been around for thousands of years. Kundalini yoga focuses a lot on awakening the energy in various energy centers or “chakras” within your body. The word “Kundalini” itself refers to a specific form of energy that is believed to be stored at the base of our spine in what is called the Muladhara Chakra.
Kundalini energy is sometimes mistakenly equated with sexual energy, but in fact, Kundalini is actually a symbol of equality and power for both genders, and Kundalini yoga is meant to unite the masculine and feminine energies within us all, creating an expansive feeling of affection and love and connection. This makes Kundalini yoga a great tonic for feelings of sorrow, depression, anger, and jealousy, along with other negative emotions.
Due to Kundalini’s connection with the spine, this form of yoga is also thought to have many therapeutic benefits for the nervous system and the brain as well as the body.
Kundalini Yoga has been formally recognized as a distinct type of yoga since 1969, when Yogi Bajan introduced this form of yoga to the world. It includes the practices of Mantra, Mudra, meditation, chanting, and Pranayama breathing – along with classic yoga poses. These techniques are thought to help the practitioner achieve unity, awareness, and spiritual transformation, rather than simply physical benefits.
This type of yoga is known for its intense and forceful breath techniques and chants, rather than any specific yoga poses, although you will find many poses that you recognize in a Kundalini yoga class. Once you have tried a few classes, you will understand why Kundalini yoga isn’t really something you can learn from books – it is something that you have to experience for yourself. This is why I recommend you keep an open mind, and give it a try!
If you can’t find a Kundalini class near you, there are many good Kundalini yoga DVDs that will help you learn to practice this form of yoga at home. (In fact, I greatly prefer it, since this type of yoga is so inwardly focused that I find a live class distracting.) You can check our weekly workouts section for some Kundalini workouts we have shared on this blog – or – for my absolute FAVORITE Kundalini yoga instruction, you can’t go wrong with just about any DVD by Ana Brett & Ravi Singh – I find them positively addictive! (They are also quite easy to follow – even if you’re a beginner.)
Although Kundalini yoga may seem quite foreign for those who have only experienced Hatha or Vinyasa classes before, it truly is an amazing form of exercise for the mind, body, and spirit, and I hope that you will give it a chance, even if it seems a little “weird” at first!