Kundalini yoga, what it is and what are the effects of the exercises

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Pola Kolczyńska
Pola Kolczyńska
Namaste! My name is Pola Kolchinskaya. As a yogini and alternative medicine enthusiast, my life revolves around the pursuit of harmony of body, mind and spirit. Leading meditations in a women's circle, attending and organizing self-development workshops and exploring the depths of spiritual development are my daily practices. My passion for yoga has taken me to the most exotic corners of the world, including Bali, where the magic and energy of the place enhances the experience of yoga practice. The blog I run is a reflection of my life philosophy - sharing the joy of life. I love discovering new cultures, people, flavors and spaces, which inspires me to share it all with my readers. I believe that every trip, every workshop and every practice is a step towards a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. My goal is not only to inspire people to live in harmony with themselves, but also to show what a multidimensional adventure life can be when we allow ourselves to reflect and breathe deeply.

Kundalini yoga is the most tantric and mystical variety of yoga, which includes chanting, breathing exercises and repetitive poses (asanas). Their purpose is to activate the inner Kundalini energy, or shakti. This is the spiritual energy that is located at the base of the spine. Because Kundalini yoga awakens this energy, it is meant to strengthen your consciousness and thus help you move beyond your ego. Sometimes this practice is also called “Yoga of consciousness.” How to start practicing kundalini yoga? You can find out everything in our article.

Kundalini yoga for beginners – first classes.

Although Kundalini yoga is practiced all over the world, its origin is not entirely unknown to us. The concept of Kundalini energy has existed for many centuries and was mentioned as early as 1000 BC in ancient Vedic texts. Kundalini yoga is most associated with Yogi Bhajan, a Hindu yoga teacher. He is credited with introducing the practice to Western countries in the 1960s. The term “Kundalini” comes from a Sanskrit term and means ‘snake’ or ‘serpentine force’ because, according to practitioners, Kundalini energy is like a coiled snake that sits at the base of your spine, asleep and unstimulated. Kundalini yoga is practiced to activate this energy, which moves upward. With yoga, the energy begins to vibrate within us and flow along the line of the spine at which some of the chakras are located, which are the seven central points in your body. Each is responsible for a different function in the body. Before the first class, participants should remember not to eat anything heavy 2-3 hours before the class begins, as prana (vital energy) will be diverted to the digestive system, and some exercises may not be feasible. So it’s worth remembering not to experience the opposite of the intended effect – that is, an improvement in physical health as well as emotional health.

Root chakra, the base

The root chakra, known as the first chakra, or Muladhara, is red in color. It is located at the bottom of the spine and is responsible for the proper functioning of all internal systems. If we have a blocked first chakra we easily get into conflicts, are sad and often do not believe in our own strength and abilities. We sometimes suffer from depression, have problems with the intestines and reproductive system.

Sacral chakra

It is orange in color and is located near the navel. Problems with the second chakra are directly related to the sexual nature and lack of perceived pleasure and reduced vitality. Often also with a pessimistic approach to daily life. Interestingly, sexual energy and the energy of creation are very close to each other, so the sacral chakra can also promote the stimulation of creative energy.

Solar plexus chakra

Assigned the color yellow, it is located between the navel and chest. Its abnormal functions manifest as aggression, helplessness and often workaholism. It is accompanied by diseases related to the digestive system. The liver and gall bladder are organs suffering through blockage of this chakra. Closely related to it is also the diagnosis of diabetes.

Heart chakra

This green chakral center is located near the heart. It is primarily responsible for feelings and empathy. Although people who have a lot of empathy in them help others and are appreciated by society, they often forget about themselves, their needs and feelings. This is closely related to cardiac problems.

Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini Yoga

Throat chakra

It is blue in color and is affected by all conditions located in the throat area such as pain, respiratory disorders, asthma, thyroid dysfunction, People with a blocked blue chakra are filled with bad emotions. They have a lot of grief, guilt and sadness inside.

Third eye chakra

It is strongly associated with brain functioning and is dark blue in color. Problems that occur here are those with memory and concentration. People who have this energy point blocked are short-sighted in their actions and often forget important things. Diseases that afflict people with problems in this area include migraines and sick sinuses

Crown chakra

It is purple in color and is closely related to nature and the psyche. When blocked, it leads to depression and causes intolerance and social withdrawal. Unblocking it makes us open, hopeful and trusting.

It is believed that with an increase in Kundalini energy, it helps to balance these energy places and contribute to spiritual and physical well-being. It is also said that regular practice of this type of yoga leads to spiritual enlightenment, known as “Kundalini awakening.”

What are the benefits of Kundalini Yoga?
What are the benefits of Kundalini Yoga?

How is it different from other types of yoga?

Compared to other forms of yoga, Kundalini is a more spiritual practice. It still includes physical activities, but they are not its main focus. This differs, for example, from hatha or vinyasa yoga, which revolve mainly around postures. Kundalini is also more precise and repetitive. While other types of yoga flow with the breath, Kundalini yoga combines chanting, movement and breathing according to specific patterns.

About breathing, mantras, kriyas and mudras

Kundalini yoga consists of six main elements, which are performed in the following order:

  • Opening chant Each class begins with a chant, also known as attunement. This is followed by the actual part of the class.
  • Pranayama or warm-up. Participants perform breathing exercises and sometimes spinal stretching. The purpose of pranayama is to practice breath control.
  • Kriya. is a sequence of postures, pranayama, mudras (hand gestures), sounds and meditation. The length and intensity here depends on your instructor. Your body will feel completely different after kriya – your capabilities will be much greater than before the practice.
  • Relaxation. allows your body and mind to absorb the effects of kriya.
  • Meditation. Your instructor guides you through meditation to cultivate self-awareness.
  • Closing chant The class ends with a closing chant.

Kundalini yoga (kuṇḍalinī-yoga), A drawing of the body in an Indian manuscript depicting the energy centers (chakras), the main subtle channels (nadi) and the coiled energy of the snake at the base of the spine (kundalini). The snake is again shown on the left side of the drawing.

Kundalini yoga (kuṇḍalinī-yoga).
Kundalini yoga (kuṇḍalinī-yoga), A drawing of the body in an Indian manuscript showing the energy centers (chakras), the main subtle channels (nadi) and the coiled energy of the snake at the base of the spine (kundalini). The snake is again shown on the left side of the drawing.

Kundalini yoga effects

Kundalini yoga has several scientifically and anecdotally proven benefits, such as:

Yoga practice: relief from stress and anxiety

Like other forms of yoga, Kundalini helps relieve stress and anxiety. Numerous scientific studies prove this. In 2017, participants in one study experienced immediate relief after practice, and the effect lasted for the next three months. A similar 2018 study found that 8 weeks of Kundalini yoga lowered participants’ anxiety levels. The researchers therefore concluded that Kundalini yoga could be an effective treatment option for people with generalized anxiety disorder.

Improves cognitive function

In a 2017 controlled study, researchers examined 81 participants with mild cognitive impairment. The participants were randomly divided into two groups. One group practiced Kundalini yoga, while the other group underwent memory enhancement training lasting 12 weeks. While both groups showed significant improvements in memory at the end of the study, only the Kundalini group showed short- and long-term improvements in their cognitive functioning. This included skills such as reasoning, problem solving and cognitive flexibility, among others. In addition to improved cognitive function, the group that practiced Kundalini yoga also had fewer symptoms of depression at the end of the study.

Kundalini yoga classes improve self-esteem

Another small 2017 study found that Kundalini yoga can improve positive body attitudes and self-acceptance. These benefits were observed in nine women diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia. According to researchers, Kundalini yoga can help treat eating disorders through higher self-esteem, and this also promotes openness to people and improved relationships.

Meditation and spiritual enlightenment

It is believed that when Kundalini energy is awakened, you become more spiritually connected to yourself and others. These benefits have not been scientifically proven, but instead are backed up by people sharing their own evidence of this.

The purported benefits include:

  • greater empathy
  • increased creativity
  • improved charisma
  • increased energy
  • inner peace
Kundalini yoga, what it is and what are its effects
Kundalini yoga, what it is and what its effects are

Kundalini yoga dangers

If Kundalini is practiced in the right way then there is little chance that its effects will be harmful. However, the tricky thing about practicing “the right way” is that it’s very much tied to the teacher who guides you. Unfortunately, it seems that not all Kundalini masters are able to guide all their students effectively (yet). Some masters have been able to develop their own Kundalini energy experience very quickly, which makes them seem like suitable candidates for teaching in the yoga community. However, this does not necessarily mean that they are able to easily guide others through the same process.Kundalini yoga can be a frightening and anxiety-inducing experience for some, as it can trigger strong emotions. Bad experiences with this style of yoga can also range from frustration caused by practicing for several months with no results to psychotic episodes caused by an overly intense yoga experience.In the old tradition, only when yogis were fully prepared to experience Kundalini were they allowed to start practicing with a master of this special form. But in the modern world, people read about Kundalini mainly on the Internet and, because of its advantages, decide to start their practice immediately. This is not how it should be done, so it is understandable that starting the adventure with this form of yoga in a sudden way can lead to unfavorable results.

Kundalini yoga exercises – asanas

Lotus position – Padmasana

The lotus position is often used as a starter in all yoga classes, as it puts the body in a position conducive to meditation and breathing. At the same time, it conditions the body to maintain proper posture – something that would need to be maintained in virtually every pose and style of yoga practice. To perform Lotus pose, sit with your legs crossed on your mat with your feet extended and pointing upward toward the ceiling. Make sure your feet are not twisted, as this could cause ankle injuries. Keep your back straight and let your hands fall to your knees while meditating and establishing a proper breathing rhythm. Do not attempt this position if you feel tension in your knees.

Tree Position – Vrkasana

The tree position is as meditative as it is physical – just like any other yoga position. It teaches concentration and focus, while trying to balance your weight on one leg. Start by straightening up with your arms at your sides. Bend one leg with the knee pointing to the side and rest the foot against the opposite thigh. You can fold your hands together in front of your chest as you balance or raise them above your head by folding your palms together.

Corpse pose – Savasana

This is an asana often used to end a yoga session, mainly because of its restorative nature. Most people think it’s the easiest position because it simply involves lying on your back with your arms and legs on the floor. The truth is that it is one of the most difficult, as it requires silence, stillness and total relaxation – something that few people are able to do, as it requires blocking out all physical and mental distractions and detaching from life’s daily worries and stresses.

The cat and cow position – Marjarasana-Bidalasana

Cow and Cat actually consists of two different postures, but it is referred to as one because they are almost always performed together. The pose involves standing on all fours with your knees hip-width apart. As you inhale, you perform Cow pose and raise your head and chest toward the ceiling and lower your abdomen. While exhaling, you perform Cat pose in which you stretch your back up and bring your chin close to your chest.

Cobra pose – Bhujangasana

Cobra pose is great for stretching the back, strengthening shoulder muscles and relieving back pain. To perform this pose, lie on your stomach with your legs and shins touching the mat and keep your arms close to your sides. Bend your elbows and place your palms flat on the mat close to your shoulders. Then, using your arms for support, lift your upper body so that your back forms an arch and lift your head toward the ceiling.

Kundalini yoga is very different from other forms of yoga, such as Ashtanga or Bikram. It focuses much more on mental and spiritual abilities. Fortunately, it is also a very relaxed exercise, so it is more important to enter the class with an open heart and mind rather than an “open” body.

Kundalini classes last about an hour – in some cases up to 90 minutes. Depending on the yoga school and the sophistication of the practice.

Kundalini yoga book

There are many well-known and good books on yoga, which are again used in teacher training and programs, as well as in self-study. To you, however, we recommend those that are purely informational and guide books. Most of the best ones have their editions only in English If you are interested in expanding your knowledge in this way, you should definitely reach for, among others: such books for beginners and intermediates as:

1. “The Kundalini yoga experience”, Guru Dharam S. Khalsa and Darryl O´Keeffe

2. “Yoga for real life”, Maya Fiennes

3. “Kundalini Yoga Sadhana Guidelines,” 2nd edition

4. “Kundalini meditation”, Kathryn McCusker

5. “Divine Relationship, Two bodies, One soul”, Nam Kaur Khalsa, Siri Atma Singh Khalsa

Practicing kundalini yoga in 2022 – why is it worth it?

Originating in the world of ancient India, it was once associated with philosophy and religion. Today, adapted to current needs, it is an art that helps maintain physical and mental fitness. Yoga has become a very popular exercise system and has a proven, extremely positive effect on our bodies and minds. The benefits of practicing yoga are plentiful, which we will briefly try to present.

What for our bodies…

First of all, the use of a sufficiently wide range of exercises develops practically every muscle group, affecting their lengthening and endurance. It also improves the silhouette, increases the flexibility of joints and eliminates their ailments. It also corrects postural defects. Yoga exercises are beneficial for our spine, strengthening its muscles and eliminating back pain. Finally, it also strengthens our bones making them less prone to injury and fracture. Regular exercise is great for people with high blood pressure and heart disease. Yoga regulates blood pressure and allows it to regulate to its natural level. Yoga reduces the burden on the circulatory system, and the simultaneous effort made during training strengthens the heart. Finally, the exercises have an undeniable effect on speeding up the metabolism, which helps control weight, burn fat and lower cholesterol. In addition, doing exercises in the practice of kundalini yoga, increases immunity – we get sick less often. Why is it worth practicing yoga?

Why practice yoga?
Why is it worth practicing yoga?

Recent studies also indicate that regular workouts reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Through exercise, levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid, a deficiency of which can have a serious impact on the development of the disease, are raised.

Kundalini yoga practices – ladies gain more

Yoga is also recommended for women, including pregnant women. First of all, the exercises help keep menstrual periods regular, which can undoubtedly help those ladies who face similar problems. Statistics also show that yoga relieves menstrual pain. Thanks to its effect on the uterine muscles, the risk of miscarriage is reduced, and the body of a woman practicing yoga has a very positive effect on the development of the fetus. What’s more, yoga keeps you biologically youthful longer, improves the quality of your skin, and thus enhances your beauty.

Yoga, is also a state of mind

However, yoga is not only beneficial for the body, but also for the mind. Exercise primarily improves mood, ability to focus and internal mental balance. Doctors are increasingly recommending this particular form of recreation for people subjected to severe stress. This is because yoga, in addition to getting rid of excess bad emotions, also allows you to become immune to them and stabilize emotional fluctuations. Yoga is recommended for people suffering from chronic depressive states. As it helps chase away bad thoughts and bad moods, which are, as it were, the “ignition” for depressive states, it increases our sense of inner peace. It also improves self-esteem. The ability to concentrate and remember is also improved. This obviously affects success in personal and professional life. In addition, exercise is an excellent remedy for feelings of anger. Yoga helps eliminate aggression and restores balance in this area as well. It can prove to be a very effective natural therapy for all those who are plagued by a bad mood or just depressive states.

And that’s still not all…

At the very end, yoga is an excellent way to improve… sexual performance in men and women. In addition to generally strengthening the body and increasing flexibility, yoga improves the quality of the cardiovascular system and thus improves blood supply to the lower body. Finally, yoga also increases awareness of one’s own body, improves self-esteem and increases self-confidence, which also translates into the quality of the intimate sphere of life. The beneficial effects of yoga on our bodies and minds are undeniable and overwhelming. Yoga sensationally affects our entire body, improves vitality and beauty. It helps fight stress, eliminates depressive states and lowers anger levels. What is also most important, yoga can be practiced by practically anyone. It is fantastic for women, men, for children, adolescents, adults and the elderly. Yoga can be practiced at different intensities and in different arrangements, so the range of exercises can be adjusted even for people who are ill – in this case it is worth consulting a doctor. The reasons for making time for this amazing form of recreation are vast. After all, yoga has survived for millennia, and this must prove something.

Yoga is not just a specific set of exercises, the downward dog position, meditation in the lotus flower position, or exercises that allow you to stretch your body, but an opportunity to deepen your technique of working with your body in a multidimensional way. It is the ability to listen to one’s own body, to balance physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s a combination of mind and spirit. It’s awareness of breathing – which is expanded by the practice of fire breathing – and feeling the flow of energy in one’s body. Kundalini yoga is extremely popular, with celebrities such as David Duchovny, Demi Moore and Madonna also admitting to practicing it. So if you want to experience something more than physical exercise, you can do kundalini yoga. You will love this extraordinary experience.

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