Last updated on November 28th, 2023.
Kundalini Yoga has been popularized by big-name celebrities like Cindy Crawford and Colin Farrell, who practice this form of yoga themselves. This type of yoga is a bit different from more mainstream types of yoga. If you’re new to Kundalini yoga, there’s a lot to learn.
Kundalini yoga is a type of yoga that was brought to the West by Yogi Bhajan, who emphasizes internal awareness above all else. Kundalini yoga utilizes movement, sounds, and breath. Through the practice, one can expect to grow internally and become their true self.
There is so much more to Kundalini yoga. If you want to know more about what defines this practice, continue reading. We will cover what differentiates Kundalini yoga from other yoga types, the difficulty level of Kundalini yoga, and more.
How is Kundalini Yoga different?
Kundalini yoga is becoming of the most recognizable yoga types due to the fact that it has many differentiating qualities. There are several things that make Kundalini yoga stand out, and they will be examined in the sections below.
How Kundalini Came to Be
Even though Kundalini yoga has just begun to gain mainstream popularity, it is not new by any stretch. It is thought to have been started hundreds, if not thousands of years ago. Its exact origin is unknown but we’ve put together a summary of the Origin of Kundalini Yoga with what is known. According to the Upanishads, which are a collection of Vedic writings, Kundalini yoga can be dated back to between 1,000 BC and 500 BC.
Though Kundalini yoga has an uncertain history, its teachings can be traced to one man, Yogi Bhajan. His influences were so great that his students continue to spread the Kundalini philosophies and moves that he taught when he was alive.
The Energy in Kundalini Yoga
One of the most distinct beliefs in Kundalini yoga is that every human being has a dormant energy that is located at the bottom of the spine. Many of the poses that are executed in Kundalini yoga are aimed toward unlocking that dormant energy. This is called the Kundalini awakening.
The Mantras in Kundalini Yoga
The mantras recited in Kundalini yoga are uncommon, being that they come from the Gurmukhi language. Also, there is a staggering number of mantras that are exclusive to Kundalini yoga. You can find a mantra for any problem that you are dealing with.
What does a mantra do? find out in this article!
The Purpose of Kundalini Yoga
What makes Kundalini yoga different from many other yoga types is its purpose, which is to help those who practice attain a conscious life. The practice is largely spiritual, whereas much of today’s mainstream yoga types have a significant focus on physical fitness.
This is not to say that no other yoga practices have spiritual components, as this would be untrue. However, Kundalini yoga’s spiritual influences are undeniably strong, and they purposefully drive the physical component of the practice.
The Intricacies of Moves in Kundalini Yoga
Another differentiating quality of Kundalini yoga concerns the moves done in the practice. Each move incorporates the following components:
- Body Poses
- Hand position
All of these components mesh together to create unique moves that help you to attain enhanced consciousness. Some of the moves that students do in Kundalini yoga can be challenging, as they require you to control multiple parts of the body at the same time.
In addition, many of the moves in Kundalini yoga focus on movement over holding a still pose. Taking controlled breaths is also important for engaging your mind and body.
What is Kundalini Yoga good for?
Kundalini is not popular without reason. Even without a clear Origin for Kundalini Yoga the practice has persisted and there are many benefits to the discipline, and you’ll discover that the benefits are both physical and spiritual. Check the benefits out in the sections below.
Attain Internal Guidance
One of the main benefits of Kundalini yoga is attaining inner peace and guidance. The teachings of the practice help to ingrain into seekers’ minds that they can develop their subconscious mind to the point that it can help with guidance.
An individual who is having trouble with intuition or is not confident in their ability to make life decisions would benefit tremendously from practicing Kundalini yoga.
Another great benefit of practicing Kundalini yoga is the sense of connection that you get from chanting “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo,” which can be roughly translated as “I bow to the divine wisdom within myself.” Repeating this chant helps those who are practicing connect to their own wisdom.
As a bonus, this chant also connects you to the masters who have chanted the phrase before you.
Calmness of the Mind and Body
People who practice Kundalini yoga report that they feel calmer about things that they cannot control. They also feel a reduction in intrusive thoughts and edginess. The breath of fire, which is done in combination with poses and mantras, helps to allow the student to let go of anxiety and stress.
Is Kundalini yoga hard?
Kundalini is not a difficult type of yoga to master, especially if you are under the tutelage of an experienced Kundalini master. However, there are moves that are difficult to master, and holding certain poses can be downright painful.
While there are some moves that require you to have sufficient control over your body, there are also many moves that are perfect for beginners to try.
Kundalini Yoga Moves for Beginners
To gauge whether you will be able to do Kundalini yoga, read the below descriptions of some beginner Kundalini yoga poses. Soon you’ll realize that anyone can do Kundalini yoga.
Breath of Fire
The breath of fire is one of the most prominent techniques used in Kundalini yoga. It is a controlled breathing technique used to heat up the body while removing toxins. This how you do the breath of fire:
- Inhale while pushing your stomach outward. You should not do this forcefully; it should be done gently but with purpose.
- Exhale and pull in your stomach. Imagine your stomach moving closer and closer to your spine. This should also be done with gentle force.
It seems easy enough, but it could take several tries to get this breathing technique right. Having a good instructor to help you with the rhythm and breathing force may be necessary.
The ego eradicator pose is used in Kundalini yoga to clear the mind. The move is extremely simple- just do the following:
- Sit on your bottom with your legs crossed.
- Flex your fingers at your middle knuckle. Make sure that the tips of your fingers are situated where your fingers and palms meet.
- Your thumb should be pointing upward.
- Point your eyes toward the third chakra and begin to do the breath of fire, which was described above.
Getting the hand position right may take a moment, but once you’ve got it, you won’t forget how to do it. It is believed that this move is a great way to open your heart, clean your lungs, and clear negative thoughts from your mind.
Seated Cat Cow
The seated cat cow pose is another simple move in Kundalini yoga. It requires the student to follow the below steps:
- Sit on your bottom with your legs crossed and your hands resting on your knees.
- Inhale while you arch your back and look towards the sky.
- Pause for a couple of seconds.
- Exhale, round your back, and drop your head as you pull your tummy toward your spine.
This move is done repeatedly under the direction of a Kundalini master.
The shoulder twist is another relatively easy Kundalini move to master. To do the move, you need to:
- Sit on your bottom with your legs crossed in front of you.
- Put your fingertips on each of your shoulders. Your elbows should be parallel to the ground.
- Inhale as you twist your torso to the left.
- Exhale as you twist your torso to the right.
As you do this move, make sure that you allow your head to move freely.
Can You Lose Weight Doing Kundalini Yoga?
While Kundalini yoga is not meant to be used solely as an exercise program, someone could potentially lose weight as they practice. The below sections will tell you how to lose weight while doing Kundalini yoga.
Flexing Your Muscles
Many of the moves require you to move in a controlled manner, pulling your stomach in as you move your body in different ways. If you want to lose weight while doing Kundalini yoga, you can flex different muscles on purpose to work up a sweat and lose weight.
Reduction in Stress
Stress is one of the leading causes of weight gain, and food is often used as a coping mechanism to deal with stress. Kundalini yoga is known to reduce stress, which reduces the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your brain. When your stress level is reduced, your desire to overeat will diminish, and you may lose a considerable amount of weight.
The amount of weight you lose will depend on how severely you were overeating prior to starting Kundalini yoga.
Mental Changes Spark Motivation
Oftentimes, when people start Kundalini yoga, their thoughts become more focused on self-improvement. This may spark in students the motivation needed to start and maintain a healthy exercise routine. This does not happen in everyone, but some have noticed this. (If you are looking to start your journey in self-improvement, there are 3 experts on self-improvement you should know!)
Note: If you are not doing Kundalini yoga with the right attitude and with openness of mind, then you’ll be missing out on the most important part of the practice. If your only goal is to lose weight, try doing cardio moves or one of many fat burning exercise programs. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that you consult your doctor before you begin any new weight loss program.
What Will Happen If Kundalini Is Awakened?
There is some confusion concerning what will happen if Kundalini is awakened. It is believed that when Kundalini is awakened, the dormant energy located at the bottom of your spine is able to flow freely. Once that energy begins to flow, it moves through each of the seven chakras and results in an enhanced state of consciousness.
This awakening can manifest in either positive or negative ways, and this makes some people want to avoid this awakening.
A positive awakening can present in a way that is full of unadulterated bliss and unconditional love. The person may feel like all is right with the world. On the other hand, if the awakening presents in a more negative way, the person may not feel at all like themselves. They may lose their mind, quite literally.
For this reason, masters of Kundalini warn those who practice Kundalini not to try to coax the awakening to happen. They believe that rushing the awakening is what causes negative experiences. Instead, they encourage people to practice Kundalini under the direct guidance of an experienced teacher who is aware of the risks of an awakening.
Now you know a ton about this great practice. We hope that this article will be used as a guide to help you learn more about Kundalini yoga!
Now, if Kundalini yoga really spoke to you. You can always try Kundalini yoga teacher training online.