What does it mean?
Kundalini Yoga derives from kundalini, described in ancient Vedic culture as powerful energy that resides at the base of the spinal column until it is successfully channeled up to the crown in the process of spiritual realization. Many followers believe kundalini to be energy related to the divine feminine. In fact, it plays an important role in Hindu Mythology with respect to the episode of Sita’s abduction by Rama.
A key feature of kundalini yoga is its focus on chant and breath techniques as a means of awakening the kundalini. However, the term kundalini literally means “that which rises,” which suggests that this energy is simply manifested upward from the basic self. Some practitioners view kundalini yoga as a specific path along which one can transcend the ego and reach higher levels of spiritual awareness. Others, however, view kundalini yoga as a path of meditation and mental relaxation in which the meditative state can eventually be reached.
Key aspects of Kundalini Yoga
Chanting is an important aspect of kundalini yoga because it helps relax the body and the mind. It also draws awareness to the source of energy, or the kundalini. The goal of kundalini yoga classes is to facilitate the awakening of this energy within each of the participants. This awakening is viewed as being necessary for achieving enlightenment, or moksha, in some circles. At a basic level, this type of yoga class focuses on breathing techniques, meditation, and relaxation, all of which are useful in activating the kundalini energy.
Hatha yoga, which shares many of its practices with kundalini yoga, is the preferred type of practice for those who wish to awaken kundalini energy while minimizing the chances of injury. Both hatha yoga and kundalini yoga require the participant to focus on the breath during their routines. Hatha yoga focuses more on the asanas than it does on chanting, but many students still enjoy the relaxing effect of it. A hatha yoga class will generally include kundalini exercises, but may also include elements such as meditation.
In order to obtain the full benefit of kundalini yoga, a student should always recite a mantra to perform the asanas. This mantra is used as a reference point during the exercise, and in addition, it provides guidance to the yogi. In most kundalini yoga classes, there is a quotation printed on the banner overhead or on the walls of the room. The quote should be interesting enough to inspire the yogi to participate in the asana. However, a student may not always be able to locate a quotation suitable for them, so this aspect of the class can also be self-promotion.
There are different types of meditation, and each one is suited to particular kundalini yoga classes. However, a significant aspect of all types of meditation is that the yogi must remain focused on the mantra throughout the process. It is common for beginners to feel lost, and this leads to poor form in both breathing and body movement. A good kundalini yoga teacher will be aware of this potential danger, and will work to ensure that the novice’s concentration is maintained throughout the practice.
A popular form of kundalini yoga meditation is the shakti or yantra yoga. The term ‘shakti’ originates from the Sanskrit word that (searching) and rarity (king) comes from the root rah + data. In the context of shakti practice, it refers to the act of searching for perfection through physical, mental and spiritual practices.
In a nutshell
The goal of shakti practice is to awaken and energize the nervous system, while additionally strengthening the body at the same time. This process occurs via a series of highly coordinated movements and techniques, which are then followed by chanting. As the energy generated by the movements is converted into energy and stored within the body, the mantra is repeated in order to maintain the heightened state of energy. Kundalini yoga teachers are well-versed in the specifics of this practice and can provide instructions as to how to access the energy stored in the body and how to utilize it for greater benefit.