Starting Your Yoga

For those unfamiliar with this ancient practice, kundalini is described as the serpentine energy resting in the base of your spine. Once awakened, this energy – often depicted as a coiled snake – rises up the various chakras or energetic centers of the body to the crown chakra where higher consciousness is triggered, offering greater awareness of one’s soul (or True Nature), life purpose and the nature of reality itself.

A regular practice of kundalini yoga helps to strengthen and tone the entire body, releasing stress, anxiety and chronic ailments such as insomnia. The combination of movement, breathwork, meditation and chanting encourages a deep level of healing and self-love. The postures are safe and effective for people of all ages, fitness levels and body shapes. The use of mantra and sound energises, releases tension and promotes healthy sleep habits and improves the immune, digestive, eliminative and nervous systems.

Unlike a vinyasa flow class, where Kundalini yoga for beginners online move fluidly from pose to pose, kundalini classes are based on set ‘kriyas’ or sets of exercises. These are a combination of strong repetitive arm movements, breathing techniques and hand gestures that help to build physical strength and mental and emotional resilience. Traditionally, practitioners wear white as it is thought that the color expands your aura and helps you focus inwards. Practitioners also typically wear turbans or head coverings which are not for religious reasons, but to help focus their attention on the third eye or Ajna Chakra and create a sense of calm, clarity and protection.

Kundalini Rising: Starting Your Yoga Journey

The spiritual element of kundalini is what really distinguishes this practice from other forms of yoga. Yogi Bhajan, who introduced kundalini yoga to the West in 1975, believed that every person on this planet has taken a body and a life for a reason, and when the coiled serpentine energy of kundalini rises, it can provide an opportunity to find that purpose and live it fully. However, if we’re not ready for it, kundalini can show up as something of a wake-up call with experiences that might be distressing, or even terrifying, such as a health crisis, relationship breakdown, a mid-life crisis or a Saturn return in the astrological chart.

Blocked or misdirected kundalini rises can be extremely challenging for many people as they experience non-ordinary or distressing symptoms such as tingling, spinning and headaches. If this happens, it’s important to seek out the guidance of a transpersonal or depth psychotherapist who understands the power and impact of these spiritual experiences.

The spiritual aspect of kundalini yoga is what makes it so different from other forms of yoga – particularly for newcomers to the practice. The energy of kundalini is intense, powerful and incredibly sacred, so it is best not to be pushed by the mind or rushed by the body into a higher consciousness experience that could be very difficult to manage, or even harmful. For this reason, a good guide is essential to ensure the experience is beneficial, enjoyable and safe.

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