About Kundalini Yoga
How is Kundalini different to other types of yoga?
The key differences, to a beginner, will be the format of the class. Rather than following a sequence of Asanas (meaning postures), it’s a fluid, buzzy experience; there will be no Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutations) or even much stretching. ‘With more emphasis on breath, inward focus and mantra, it can sometimes seem more meditative in nature, yet the range of kriyas ensures many classes can also be very active and physically challenging.
What can you expect from a Kundalini yoga class?
If you’re spatially awkward, be prepped for feeling silly initially. There’s a lot of free movement, swinging your arms around and attempting to keep your eyes closed.
Unlike other classes, the teacher is unlikely to be in leggings. Instead, they usually wear head-to-toe white — including a turban — as Yogi Bhajan taught that it extends the aura and protects from negative energy.
‘A Kundalini Yoga class will combine movement, music, mantra (chanting), pranayama (breathing), mudras (hand positions), kriyas (exercise sets) — targeting different areas of the body and promoting specific benefits — and meditation’
‘You will begin the class by tuning in with a mantra and this is usually followed by a kriya, which will can quite prescriptive. Then there will be a relaxation, followed by a meditation, and the class finishes with a mantra.’
What are the benefits of Kundalini yoga?
Though there are physical upsides of Kundalini, the focus is internal; aiming to channel the energy inside us all, as well as creating ‘a deeper awareness of your chakras (energy centres) and how they impact our thoughts, mood and health.
‘It increases oxygen and blood flow, balances the glandular system, strengthens the nervous system, and reduces stress-induced toxins such as adrenaline and cortisol, which is beneficial when trying to navigate life in this fast-paced world.’
It’s ideal for the time-short (a.k.a all millennials and anyone living in London) as you can experience the benefits in a short amount of time.
Also the range of Kriyas and meditations allow you to target specific problems in your everyday life, such as fear, depression, anxiety, fatigue, anger, break-ups, loneliness and sadness.
‘A regular practice will help you feel happier, healthier, and more energised, as well as helping you sleep better. ‘The powerful breathwork and mantra will awaken more creativity, confidence, inspiration and productivity.’
Research has shown Kundalini's powerful and breath-controlled meditations can help to treat a range of health complaints, from depression and anxiety-related disorders to heart problems and memory lapses.
In fact, the US Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation prescribes one of Kundalini's Kriyas — the Kirtan Kriya — to improve brain function, emotional balance, focus and memory.
Even if you're a sceptic, there’s no doubt it’s a solid distraction from your average everyday grind. (Try flailing your arms about with your eyes closed while thinking of the meeting you've got the next morning.)
‘The beauty of Kundalini is that it takes you away from the chatter and clutter of daily life to a deeper place within you; where you can experience real freedom, peace, clarity and stillness. When you clear the blocks and raise your energetic vibration, the mind and body come back into balance and you are more awake, aware and open to new possibilities.
How does Kundalini work?
Though a lot of the descriptions mention chantings and movement, it’s not that clear how these are useful — unless you just accept they are.
‘Chanting mantras creates sound waves and sound is a form of energy. Vibrating a mantra cuts through our mental chatter to help create inner focus with the combination of sound, rhythm, tone and meaning. Mantras help transport us to a place of real peace, as well as helping to open the chakras’.