What is Kundalini yoga?
Kundalini yoga is a technology of awareness through; mantra (sound vibration), pranayama (breathing exercises), asana (yoga postures), mudra (hand gestures), dristhi (focus points for the eyes), relaxation, and meditation.
"Kundal" is a sanskrit word meaning coil or spiral, and often referred to as "curl of the hair of the beloved." Beloved, meaning; the creative force, the infinite, universal source, the divine, Spirit, God or however you like to name it. In the West we often refer to it as the Holy Spirit. It is that "something that is bigger then us," but exists within us all, it is that primal force that gives life to every living thing.
"Yoga" is a sanskrit word meaning yuj or to yoke, to bring union. It means to unite who we are, every part of our being, with our Higher Consciousness. To unite the finite with the infinite. Practising yoga helps to calm the fluctuations of the mind, to open our heart and overcome fear and limiting patterns, so that we may awaken, and live from a place of love, joy, stability, compassion and acceptance.
Kundal "curl of the hair of the beloved,"and "Yoga" to bring union. Kundalini Yoga is therefore uniting and awakening the God, Spirit, or Higher Consciousness within us.
How is Kundalini yoga different?
Kundalini Yoga focuses more on the neurological, nervous and glandular systems and the movement/transformation of energy, than stretching and exercising the musculoskeletal system. Having said that Kundalini yoga is very physical and can be challenging as well as blissful. The physical practices serve for helping to cleanse the body and mind and raise our awareness/consciousness, as apposed to doing yoga poses for purely physical benefits. The physical benefits are more of a default of the practice but not the focus nor aim in of itself.
The beneficial outcomes of practising other types of yoga aren't only just physical, they can also awaken the practitioner but it would take 22 years of practice to reach levels of awareness that a regular practice of kundalini yoga can bring in 1 year. The technology of Kundalini yoga means it is much more effective in awakening our Higher Consciousness due to it being designed by Yogi Bhajan specifically for this age, as we move into the aquarian age, and the challenges that brings. All teachers who teach under the label "Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bhajan" will use set kriya's that he taught. If you are in the UK make sure you find a teacher that is registered with KYTA (Yogi Bhajan's Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association), to ensure you are being given the authentic and correct practices.
Who is it for?
Kundalini Yoga is a yoga for householders, for people who have to cope with the daily challenges and stresses of holding jobs, raising families, and managing businesses. It is a path for everyone who wants the skills to cope successfully with the challenges of our times.