Have you been feeling super heavy lately? Like you’re just bogged down from the weight of life? You can’t focus, aren’t sure what to do with yourself or what your next moves should be? You might need to work on elevating your energy to uplift yourself and figure out where you’re going.
Lucky for you, kundalini yoga can help with that!
In order to understand “elevation” you have to first understand the energetics of kundalini and kundalini yoga.
What is kundalini?
- Kundalini is commonly defined as energy coiled at the base of your spine. It’s prana residing in the Muladhara chakra or the Dantian (the center point on a diagonal line between tailbone and navel).
How do I define kundalini?
- I like to think of kundalini as energetic orbital loops that exist within you.
- It’s circulating and renewable so you’ll never run out.
- This energy moves both up and down in a loop vertically along sushumna nadi (read more on the nadis in this article) and horizontally at the heart.
When you are born this energy is in free flow. The kundalini is awake and orbiting freely. This is your birthright. And you want this loop to be in a free flow (up and down the spine and across the heart) because that’s when you are your best and most authentic self.
But, as you grow up, life happens. Whether you’re met with physical or emotional trauma in your upbringing, or just the process of growing up itself creates blocks in your physical and energetic body. You learn coping mechanisms and bracing patterns. Certain areas of the body may shut down kundalini energy—or hoard it. Ever heard of carrying your emotional baggage in your hips? Or having a blocked root chakra? Kundalini Yoga is a practice to clear those blocks.
Here is my personal definition of kundalini yoga:
“A practice of removing any physical or energetic blockages so our energetic orbit is easeful, free-flowing and serene. A return to sacred balance in which our highest-self is our primary operating system.”Brett Larkin
Kundalini yoga works to clear physical and energetic blockages so your kundalini orbit can move freely again. You can learn about how it’s different from Hatha and Vinyasa yoga here. Kundalini yoga works to “elevate” the energy through your chakras along sushumna nadi within your spinal column.
Why do you want to elevate your energy though? Because we live in a gravity well. On earth, gravity rules everything. So without conscious awareness, your energy will always fall. You’ll default to living life from your lower chakras. When you elevate your energy to the upper chakras, you are connecting yourself to source and your greater purpose. You can become clearer on your path. You reclaim your authenticity. You remember who you really are. Too much of anything can become a problem. So when you’re elevating your energy, or doing TONS of Kundalini Yoga, please remember to ground just as much as you elevate to create balance. You don’t want to be “stuck in the clouds” as they say.
My 200-hr kundalini yoga teacher training dives so much deeper into these concepts.
So what specifically is the Kriya for Elevation?
The Kriya for Elevation
The official Kriya for Elevation is a Kriya from Yogi Bhajan and 3HO. If you want full details of the sequence and time frames you can find that on their website here.
If you aren’t a fan of Yogi Bhajan and 3HO after the scandal, that’s understandable(not sure what the Yogi Bhajan scandal is? Read about it in this post). I’ve listed a few of the common kundalini moves that rise energy from within the kriya that I also like to teach myself. See them below with brief descriptions of how to do them.
- Sit on the heels or in an easy seat.
- With the eyes closed, focusing on the third eye, bring the arms out straight to 60 degrees, fingertips curled in and thumbs out pointing toward each other. Spine stays straight, head straight.
- Then begin breath of fire, or long deep breaths if pregnant or on your moon cycle.
- End by breathing in, hold the breath and touch the thumbs towards each other while fingers release to the sky.
- Arms slowly float back to sides as you exhale completely.
- Sit in easy pose, hold the ankles or shins.
- Inhale the chest forward and up as the pelvis rocks the torso forward.
- Exhale round the low back as the pelvis rocks backward. Keep shoulders relaxed.
- Head is steady, chin parallel to the ground while sits bones are rooted to the ground.
- You can use the hands to deepen the movement if desired.
- From easy seat, put the hand on the shoulders, thumbs in back and fingers in front. Elbows parallel to the floor.
- Inhale, twist from the waistline to the left, gaze over the shoulder.
- Exhale, twist from the waistline to the right, gaze over the shoulder.
- Sit bones are rooted and head moves with the upper torso.
- Go as fast or slow as you like, just move in a constant rhythm and make sure the rotation comes from the navel point.
- Come back to your center position and inhale deeply facing straight forward to finish.
Life Nerve Stretch
- Sit in Paschimottanasana, legs straight in front of you. Wrap the index and middle finger around the big toe and press on the toe nail with the pad of your thumb.
- Keep a straight spine as you pull the toes towards the face and you stretch forward.
- Core engaged, lengthen the spine, exhale bend straight forward from the hips and navel.
- Inhale lead with the navel to bring the body back up.
- Continue moving up and down with the breath always leading with the navel and hips(never the head and neck)
Modified Maha Mudra
- Sit on the ground with the legs straight out in front.
- Bend the left knee and sit on the left foot, heel tucked under perineum, right leg stays stretched in front of the body.
- Hands come to the right foot putting pressure on the big toe.
- With the spine straight, apply all locks, gaze at the big toe and begin breath of fire.
- Make sure to switch and do your left leg extended forward as well.
Life Nerve Stretch Variation
- The same as Life Nerve Stretch above, except you’ll sit in a wide legged position either holding the shins or the big toes and you will alternate moving the spine forward taking the head to the left knee and then right knee on the exhales.
- Another variation of the above but instead of alternating between the knees you will be bending forward in the central position and rise from the front center between your right leg and left leg.
- Lie on your stomach, forehead to mat.
- Palms flat under shoulders on the ground. Use your low back muscles to lift the chest, let the head follow.
- Keep arms/elbows snuggled in. Hover the upper body off the ground with the strength of your abdominals and back muscles. Pull neck lock.
- Exhale as you release and relax to the floor.
- Sit in easy pose or on the heels, hand on the knees, arms relaxed.
- Breathe from the navel, inhale as the shoulders come up to the ears, exhale and release the shoulders down.
- When finished, come back to your center position, inhale and relax.
- Sit in easy pose with a tall spine, shoulders relaxed, lengthen the neck, broaden the chest.
- Exhaling slowly, lower your head towards your right shoulder and begin rolling the chin down and across the chest bringing the left ear to the left shoulder.
- Inhale as the head comes back up and towards the right shoulder. Shoulders remain relaxed and switch directions.
- Sit on the heels, stretch the arms overhead alongside the ears and interlace all fingers together except the index fingers(they should point straight to the ceiling).
- Cross left thumb over right to invoke feminine energy and right over left for masculine.
- Arms hug the ears as eyes close, focus to center brow point. Stretch the spine straight.
- Inhale, exhale powerfully chant “SAT” as navel pulls to spine and “NAM” on the inhale expanding the belly.
- Continue creating a rhythm of squeeze and release.
- Inhale deep and pull the navel to the spine, exhale completely while still squeezing. Repeat once then inhale and relax.
You can find everything you need to know about this kriya here.
Easy Rest Pose
- This is basically Savasana. Lie on your back and get as comfortable as possible. With the eyes closed take long and deep breaths. Allow the whole body to move into deep relaxation.
Again, if you aren’t comfortable with 3HO and Yogi Bhajan practices then you don’t have to do this specific kriya. Most kundalini kriyas will elevate you. Kundalini yoga by nature is an elevating practice. You don’t have to do something this long or intense either to get your energy moving. Start small, like this short and beginner friendly class that still ushers in a sense of elevation
Preparing for the Kriya
Whether you’ve got a room dedicated solely to your yoga practice, or you just have a corner of your bedroom, add those touches that make you feel calm and centered. Maybe it’s a cushion, or some plants. Point is, you want to feel comfortable and grounded in the space you start your practice.
Should I Do Traditional Kundalini Practice Preparations?
Since this is a kundalini kriya you may be wondering if you should wear white. It’s not as easy as a yes or no, here’s why: Kundalini practitioners wear white because it is the combination of all colors. Colors like red or green will give you a certain sensation. So unless you know what sensation you want to invoke you wear white to combine all colors. If you know that red elevates you and you want to enhance that elevation with this kriya then add red to your outfit. Really you need to play around with the colors and see how they make you feel after each practice.
No you DO NOT need to practice on an animal skin! A lot of yogis are starting to move away from that practice. It was originally used to insulate yogis from the earth (if they were practicing in a cave, for example) and that’s just not needed or practical in the modern world. There are much more humane options, like your yoga mat!
Finally, if you’re wondering about a head wrap…it’s not just derivative of the Sikh culture. Wrapping, like with the turban, wakes you up. It also affects meridian points by doing acupressure on your skull, making you feel more awake, alert and aware. It helps to contain your energy within while in a deep meditative practice also. So, again, experiment with your practice to find out what feels good for YOU.
If you want to know more about kundalini traditions my Kundalini Demystified course is an amazing resource.
Now that you’re all set up, get comfortable, tune in with the Adi Mantra. When you begin your practice by chanting the complete Adi Mantra three times, you are quite literally tuning in, like a tuning fork, to the primal vibration of the infinite creative consciousness that drives all of existence. This connects you to the wisdom of those that came before you and sets the tone for your practice.
Pro Tip: Try practicing without your eyes! Meaning, use a blindfold. You increase focus and awareness when you have your eyes covered which will enhance the way you connect energetically or spiritually in your practice. I personally love to practice with a blindfold. But make sure you work up your confidence and try it with seated postures only before using it for your entire practice.
Here is a nice warm up you can do before you start any elevating kriya. It includes head circles, moving the pelvis in circular motion, working with arms parallel and legs wide:
Benefits of the Kriya for Elevation
The Kriya for Elevation is doing exactly that, elevating your energy. You’ll notice a lot of the postures work with the spine. Since the kundalini moves along the spine it makes sense that using moves like spinal flex or spinal twists and even neck rolls will open up your energy channels. When you add in the power of the breath, like a breath of fire, the navel then pumps that energy up the spine. This kriya will also, as most kriya’s or yoga will, help your nervous system function.
The more you work with elevating your energy the closer you come to your kundalini awakening, or reawakening, unlocking your highest potential that is your birthright. Bring all that is truly YOU back into balance. This doesn’t always feel good (growth can be uncomfortable) and I have tips on how to help with that. Make sure you are also grounding. Constantly elevating all your energy into the upper chakras could lead to headaches or dizziness. Make sure you’re bringing your energy down just as much as you’re elevating it. It’s an orbit, remember…not just a one way road.
Here is a practice you might like to get you started: elevate the upper chakras kriya.
The Kundalini energy is free flowing at birth, so an awakening is actually a reawakening to your natural state. It is your birthright and when you are in balance you are your best and most authentic self. I want that for you and YOU should want that for you. It doesn’t have to be any specific kriya that achieves this for you. It could be a combination. As I said earlier, most kundalini kriyas are designed to elevate you. I have so many FREE kundalini classes on YouTube you can choose from and even more in my Uplifted membership. So just pick one and get started. You’ll be amazed at the difference it will make.
- Watch my Kundalini playlist on YouTube for more Kundalini kriyas, mantras, and meditation.
- Join my Chakra Challenge! And get to know each chakra through your yoga practice. Open up a whole new dimension in your yoga practice.
- Try my Kundalini Demystified 30 HR teacher training course. It’s the perfect intro to Kundalini yoga, the serpent, and more!
Get 3 Free Training Vidoes from our Kundalini University Experience & Certification Program
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