What is Kundalini Yoga?
KY is known as the “yoga of awareness”. It is a technology of consciousness that offers tools to help awaken your awareness so that you can expand into your fullest potential as a human being.
The tools used in Kundalini Yoga are
- mudra – hand postures
- asana – body postures
- kriya – a series of asanas for an intended result
- pranayama – breathing techniques
- mantra – the repetition of sacred sounds
- drishti – eye gaze
- bandha – body locks
A typical Kundalini Yoga class begins by ‘tuning in’ with the chanting of the Adi Mantra, to connect us with our higher consciousness and create a container of sacred space for the practice. This is followed by some warm-ups to prepare the body for a physical kriya, or set of exercises with a purpose or goal in mind. For example, the theme of the class that day might be opening the heart, so the exercises would focus on stretching the muscles of the chest and ribcage, and expanding the lungs.
Kundalini Yoga asanas are very different from other styles of yoga, such as Hatha or Vinyasa yoga. Instead of moving slowly and holding postures, the postures in Kundalini are often rapid and repetitive, and done for an extended period of time – sometimes up to 11 minutes! In addition to strengthening muscle, the purpose of intense and, yes, challenging exercises, is to train your mind to get comfortable with discomfort. By pushing past your comfort zones, you realize you are capable of facing challenges… and overcoming them.
After the exertion of the physical kriya, there is typically a long, deep relaxation or savasana, followed by a meditation – often with the same purpose or goal as the kriya (i.e. heart-opening). Meditations may include hand mudras, breathing techniques, and/or the chanting of mantra… and sometimes all of the above!
Finally, the class is closed with the Long Time Sun mantra and chanting “Sat Nam” (“Truth is my identity”) three times.
Kundalini Yoga classes are structured in precisely this order- 1) tune in, 2) warm-up, 3) kriya, 4) relaxation, 5) meditation, and 6) closing prayer – so the benefits of the practice can be integrated in the body, mind and spirit.
The benefits of a regular practice are many, including:
- strengthens overall health and immune system response
- builds muscle, physical strength and stamina
- reduces stress and promotes inner peace and calm
- builds character, courage and a strong sense of Self
- balances chakras and energy-bodies
- awakens creativity
- builds intuition and mental clarity
- opens the heart and connection with the soul or Higher Self
- releases blockages, old patterns and limiting beliefs
- raises consciousness so you can expand into your highest potential as a human being
Kundalini Yoga was brought to the West by Yogi Bhajan in 1969 to help prepare humanity for the transition into the Aquarian Age.
Ready to take a Kundalini Yoga class?
What is the Age of Aquarius?
The Age of Aquarius is an astrological age, based on a concept known as the “precession of the equinoxes”. This concept describes the cyclical fluctuation of Earth’s rotational axis, which is caused by the gravitational forces of the Sun and Moon, over a very long period of time – approximately 25,800 years.
As Earth wobbles on it’s axis, the sun appears to move it’s location in the sky, traveling backwards through each of the 12 constellations of the zodiac. The cycle of precession lasts approximately 25,800 years, and there are 12 signs of the zodiac, so every ~2,150 years or so, the sun’s location moves to a new zodiacal constellation; each sign takes it’s turn influencing the Earth and all it’s inhabitants.
For the past 2,000 years or so, the sun has been in the constellation of Pisces, and it is now moving into the constellation of Aquarius – hence the start of the Age of Aquarius.
There is no consensus as to the official start of the Age of Aquarius. The ancient Mayan calendar ends abruptly in 2012, apparently marking start of the Age of Aquarius; more modern astronomers have used different mathematical models to place it anywhere between the years 1930 and 2597. In Kundalini Yoga, the Age of Aquarius is said to have begun on November 11, 2011. Regardless of which date you choose, one thing is clear – the Age of Aquarius is upon us.
The Aquarian Age is a time of rapidly-shifting consciousness, ruled by awareness, freedom of information, and the wisdom of experience. Below is a table comparing the characteristics of the Piscean Age and the Aquarian Age:
|Piscean Age||Aquarian Age|
This expansion of awareness is evident in the creation of the Internet, AI technology, crypto-currency, etc. Humans today have access to more information in just one day than people had during their entire lives just a couple hundred years ago. This is both a blessing and a curse – we have nearly unlimited access to information, which gives us enormous creative potential… but this also puts incalculable pressure on our brains and our nervous systems.
Consider the rise of mental health issues in the last couple of decades. In order to meet the demands placed on us mentally and physically in this age of information overload, we need tools to help us build stamina to deal with the stresses of daily life, intuition and discernment so we can clearly identify truth, and a strong sense of self in order to live in alignment with our values.
Kundalini yoga gives us techniques to balance the body, strengthen the mind, and uplift the spirit, which enable us to cope with the challenges of our times.