Ever wondered how a Kundalini yoga practice is different from the kind of yoga you do now?
Well, it’s a powerful form of yoga and is indeed very different from vinyasa style or hatha yoga, which often focus on the physical exercises of yoga more than the breath exercises or mantra chanting.
Though it’s certainly still a form of yoga, it’s not the kind that you’re used to. It’s more of a spiritual experience, using asana, pranayama breathing, and mantra chanting to awaken Kundalini energy within you.
So how exactly does that work?
Here’s the 411…
If you’re not totally sure what types of yoga you’re currently practicing, it’s probably some form of vinyasa style or hatha yoga.
At least, these are the go-to forms of yoga typically practiced at most gyms and yoga studios.
Because flow Vinyasa yoga and hatha yoga can be adapted to many levels and move through the basic yoga postures to increase both flexibility and balance. Basically, they’re solid forms of yoga. (To be clear, there are only four kinds of yoga and the rest are just brands.)
But you’ve likely heard of the power of Kundalini yoga and all of the divine healing benefits that come with it (aka awakening the Kundalini, vital prana energy).
Not only that, but practitioners of Kundalini yoga swear that it helps them in all areas of life, including stress, anxiety, relationships, abundance, relaxation and more. Kundalini yoga helps them calm the mind and balance all that swirling energy that sometimes takes over in our day-to-day tasks.
And I gotta say, it’s true. I experience the benefits of Kundalini yoga every single day. Heck, I have experienced the healing benefits so much that I even created an entire prenatal yoga course around it.
So, What is Kundalini Yoga Anyway?
There is a lot more to a yoga practice than just the yoga asanas. With Kundalini yoga, there are specific breathing techniques, sequencing, postures held for certain periods of time, and chanting meditation mantras.
It’s an entire experience that is both incredibly challenging and insanely rewarding. Here are the main ways that Kundalini yoga is different than other types of yoga:
Kundalini Yoga incorporates repetitive movements (think, twisting left to right over-and-over-again), pranayama breathing (or breath work such as breath of fire), meditation, and chanting mantras (like Sat Nam – truth is my identity) for prolonged periods of time to shift our consciousness.
The reason repetition is so important in Kundalini yoga is that it helps get the energy flowing. Our bodies are energy systems that pull energy from the universe around us on a continuous basis. When we have blockages in our chakra system, the energy gets stuck and we begin to feel it either mentally, emotionally, or physically.
Repetition of chanting of a Sanskrit word, meditative focus and pranayama breathing helps rejuvenate our bodies by facilitating a flow of energy, or awakening Kundalini.
In flow Vinyasa yoga, we typically warm up, flow through Warrior Poses or Surya Namaskar while linking breath and movement, and then cool down into forward folds. It’s a set sequence that moves you through the physical practice of yoga asanas and measured breathing that builds strength and flexibility.
For a start, it gives you a lot of the physical benefits that yoga offers…
…but it leaves out a whole lot of the other good stuff that yoga offers.
Kundalini yoga, on the other hand, has its own unique structure and methodology. The repetitive movements and accompanying pranayama breath work are numerically precise (e.g. performs 42 squats inhaling with your head to the right and exhaling with your head to the left). The duration of how long you do each movement in a sequence is also very precise (e.g. 11 minutes).
So in a typical Kundalini practice, you will be moving through certain postures over certain periods of time in a set routine, whereas Vinyasa and Hatha-based yoga styles offer a little more room for creativity.
In fact, your vinyasa or hatha experience can vary greatly depending on the yoga teacher or yoga center where you practice!
The idea behind this set structure is based on the ancient teachings of Tantra yoga and is designed in a way to move the flow of Kundalini Shakti energy through the chakras, from the root chakra, or Muladhara, upward toward the crown chakra, or Sahasrara.
When this happens, a Kundalini awakening occurs and serves as a sort of launching pad from which your most love-filled abundant life can take place. It’s beautiful stuff.
These set, Kundalini sequences of movement, breath and mantra are called kriyas. These were designed by Yogi Bhajan (founder of Kundalini yoga in the West), and are never altered or changed. This is because these kriyas direct your subtle body energy to stimulate the nervous system and glandular system in a specific manner.
Some Kundalini kriyas will leave you blissed out with a profound sense of calm, relaxation, clarity and joy…
…others, will trigger you.
Keep in mind Kundalini Yoga is called the “Yoga of Awareness.” It is designed to slay your ego and trigger you. If you find the exercises confronting (or you don’t want to do 42 frog squats in a row and begin to get tired, angry, frustrated), this is precisely the point.
Kundalini Yoga shows you how you react when you’re in a difficult situation. It serves as a mirror to how you react to difficult situations in life.
If you want to know more about this ancient Tantric yoga practice then check out my podcast on this exact topic. I go over where this ancient technology originally came from, how chanting helps foster healing, what the different breathing techniques are, and why the Kundalini yoga poses are so important to becoming awakened.
I also talk a bit about how to take this ancient Tantric yoga practice off the yoga mat so that you can experience the benefits of Kundalini in your daily life.
Whether you’re ready to deepen your spiritual practice or you’re simply looking for a way to strengthen your current yoga practice, you’ll get all of your questions answered in this podcast.
And if not, then drop your questions in the comments section. I am more than happy to answer them and help you find the best yoga practice for you!
If you want to give Kundalini a try, or just explore the library of content within Uplifted, make new friends, and connect with me directly via live calls & pose reviews, join Uplifted now.
It’s free to try!
Hope to see you in there, or anytime on your mat!
So much love from my heart to yours – xoxo