What is Kundalini Yoga and How to Awaken the Energy Within?

You can experience a Kundalini awakening and feel peaceful and strong.

Practicing Kundalini yoga.

(Boris Radivojkov / Shutterstock.com)

Kundalini yoga comes from ancient practices of the East, combining meditation, breathwork, and chanting to connect to energy within the body. But what is it? Kundalini means coiled snake in Sanskrit according to Yoga Journal. It’s a powerful, creative energy, said to run along the base of your spine. When you tune in and connect with that internal energy, you can tap into your purpose and unleash your full potential. 

Traditionally, Kundalini involves daily practices, said to uncoil the snake and connect with your inner divine energy. And science is confirming the amazing benefits. Research from the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that Kundalini yoga helps reduce anxiety in adults. 

An additional study published in the International Journal of Yoga found that practicing Kundalini yoga reduces levels of cortisol; a stress hormone that acts as the body’s alarm system. The participants saw benefits through a combination of postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and chanting meant to awaken the Kundalini and help balance the chakras. Even if you’re new to Kundalini, chances are you’ve seen or tried similar practices used in yoga classes.

Breathing techniques, known as Pranayama in yoga, help you connect with your mind and body and awaken the Kundalini. Different types of breathwork have certain benefits. Long deep breathing helps calm your mind and balance emotions, or you can energize your body through alternate nostril breathing. You may have also heard of the breath of fire, a rapid, rhythmic Kundalini breathing technique that purifies your body and stimulates your nervous system, according to Yogi Approved.

You’ve probably heard that repeating positive affirmations helps inspire confidence and good vibes. Well, reciting mantras work in a similar way. The repetition of sounds creates an energetic vibration that awakens the Kundalini. 

According to Sat Nam Fest two mantras used in kundalini yoga in their classes are "Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo" which means I bow to the subtle divine wisdom, the divine teacher within and "Aad Guray Nameh", which translates to I bow to wisdom through the ages.

Mudras awaken the kundalini through hand positions during meditation. Kundalini Yoga explains how to perform the different mudras. The Gyan Mudra, or Seal of Knowledge, stimulates wisdom when you touch the tip of your thumb to your index finger. The Shuni Mudra, or The Seal of Patience, inspires patience by touching the tip of your thumb with the tip of your middle finger. Pranam Mudra, or The Seal of Prayer, is simple enough: press your palms together at your heart to balance your body.

Kriyas put the power of the kundalini techniques together. Yogapedia describes kriyas as a set of exercises, breathing methods, and sound mantras that tap into the Kundalini energy channels in your body. They put you in a meditative state, easing your mind while raising your spiritual vibrations.

The founder of Kundalini yoga, Yogi Bajan, taught different kriya sequences. For example, during the Sat Kriya, you sit in a posture on your heels with knees together. Stretch your arms above and interlace your fingers. Then begin to chant Sat Naam while engaging and relaxing your belly. This practice helps to purify your body by messaging the internal organs.

You can also awaken the Kundalini by doing the Kirtan Kirya, one of the most important kriyas taught by Yogi Bhajan. During this 30-minute practice, sit cross legged. Your hands should be placed in a mudra, which changes as each fingertip touches the tip of your thumb while chanting saa taa naa maa, or infinity, life, death, rebirth.

Kundalini yoga inspires an inner awakening. When you continue to use these practices regularly, you’ll start to feel the benefits. Start with just a few minutes a day. You’ll give yourself a moment to connect with your Kundalini and unlock this powerful energy.

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