Kundalini Yoga: Yoga of Awareness
In this practice you will experience posture and movement (asana), focused and intentional breath (pranayama), mantra, rest (savasana), and meditation. The practice of Kundalini Yoga is an invitation to an ever deepening connected experience of your self as Truth, Love, and Wisdom.
What to expect in a Kundalini Yoga practice.
A Kundalini Yoga practice can be a different experience, even for someone who has practiced in other lineages of yoga. Some postures may be the same but utilized in a different way. Kundalini Yoga is a Shakti-based practice, meaning that the intention is to create movement within the system. This gives the practitioner the opportunity to experience stilliness in the mind and depth in the heart, even as things may be arising during the practice.
Kundalini Yoga - a practice opening up to many possibilities.
One of the great things about Kundalini yoga is how varied the practice can be. It can be adjusted for so many different needs and situations. There are kundalini practices that address so many different things (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) and in so many different ways (posture/movement, breath, mantra, meditation). Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science for health and longevity, can be incorporated. Akara numerology can be utilized as well so that we can see where a person might feel challenged in life and find kundalini practices to support that. It’s like putting the pieces of a puzzle together to find the practices that most fully support your needs at every level.
I like to take an embodied approach to the practice. Guiding awareness back to “How does this feel in my body?” I feel that much of the real work of spiritual awakening is related to embodying ever new levels of things like: love, wisdom, freedom, healing, and living from the intuitive heart. It’s great to have spiritual revelation. But how do we become that living revelation? I had a teacher tell me once that heaven and earth meet in this practice. I resonate with this because it does not deny our humanity or our divinity but seeks a merger in which both aspects of our selves are expressed and integrated.
Kundalini Yoga has been a steadying force in my life. If you would like to explore this for yourself, let’s journey together.
Here is a typical layout for a Kundalini practice.
We will open up the practice (often called “Tuning In”) with 3 chants of the Adi Mantra:
ONG NAMO GURUDEV NAMO
It is translated “I bow to the Creative Wisdom. I bow to the teacher
within”. The intention of this is to connect with the Golden Chain, the
entirety of teachers and practitioners that this technology has been
transmitted to through throughout all history. All of the love, beauty,
and strength that has been cultivated with these practices flows like a
river. Through the Adi Mantra, we connect to that river, and we also
contribute to it with our practice and our hearts of devotion.
Many teachers include 3 chants of the Mangala Charan mantra as well:
AAD GURAY NAMEH
JUGAAD GURAY NAMEH
SAT GURAY NAMEH
SIRI GURU DAVAY NAMEH
It is translated “I bow to the Primal Wisdom. I bow to the Wisdom of
the Ages. I bow to the True Wisdom. I bow to the Great, Unseen Wisdom”.
Next, we will go through some warm ups to get things moving. This may
include specific breath patterns and and movement of various types.
The majority of each class will be spent going through a kriya
(Sanskrit for “completed action”). Kriyas typically have a specific
purpose, and everything involved in the kriya serves this purpose in one
way or another. Kriyas can be quite different from one to the next, but
they typically include some combination of asanas (posture and/or
movement), pranayama (specific breath patterns for cultivating certain
things in our bodies and energetic systems), mudras (specific hand
positions held for subtle directions of energy in the body and mind),
mantras (phrases chanted either aloud - Jaap - or internally - Ajaap),
drishti (eye focus), and savasana (a period of rest to allow the entire
system to integrate any shifts that may have occurred during class).
Each class includes a period of meditation as well. Sometimes the
meditation will be directly related to the purpose of the kriya, but not
always. Certain meditations are more physical and active, while others
are more oriented towards stillness and contemplation.