‘Yoga’ has become an umbrella term that covers a diverse set of physical, mental, and spiritual practices that strengthen the body and enrich one’s inner life. One type that’s gained quite a sizeable following in recent years is Kundalini Yoga. Known for its holistic practice, Kundalini Yoga combines the physical and spiritual to awaken a powerful, transformative energy in the body.
In this blog, Daftein explores the fascinating yogic teachings behind Kundalini Yoga and its emphasis on the balancing and realignment of chakras, as well as expounds on how they work together to bring enlightenment to practitioners.
The Essence of Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini Yoga is an ancient practice that traces its origins to India, though exactly when it was created and who first practiced it is unfortunately lost to time. What we do know is that according to its yogic teachings, the human body is a vessel for a powerful, though dormant, transformative energy known as kundalini (from the word kundal or ‘coil’).
One can access, awaken, and cultivate their kundalini through the conscientious practice of Kundalini Yoga’s series of targeted exercises and meditations. Regular practice facilitates the movement of kundalini through the seven chakras or energy centers of the body, resulting in a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual awakening.
The discipline culminates in a state of heightened understanding over one’s True Self and one’s connection to the divine. This particular attention to ushering in new heights of existential perception beyond the ego is why Kundalini Yoga is often referred to as the ‘yoga of awareness’. Its focus on awakening the kundalini to clear blockages and restore balance to the body’s energy centers is also why it is distinct from other styles that only work with one’s postures and physical positions.
Chakras, the Energy Centers of the Body
‘Chakra’ is a concept that originates from ancient Indian spiritual traditions. They are thought to be vital points located along the central channel of the body, metaphysical spinning discs of pure energy aligned with the spine. It is believed that there are seven major chakras.
These chakras serve as gateways for the flow of vital life force energy (prana) throughout the body. Each of the interconnected points of energy is associated with specific qualities and functions to maintain the balance and flow of life energy within the body. Thus, they are of utmost importance to a person’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Let’s take a closer look at these seven main chakras:
- Muladhara (Root Chakra): This energy point is located at the base of the spine, which is a fitting location as it represents one’s foundation and connection to the earth. It is associated with feelings of stability and physical vitality.
- Svadhisthana (Sacral Chakra): Found in the lower abdomen, just below the navel, the sacral chakra is associated with creativity, sensuality, and emotional well-being. It is considered the seat of a person’s desires and passions.
- Manipura (Solar Plexus Chakra): Located in the solar plexus, in the area of the upper abdomen, Manipura is linked to personal power, self-esteem, and inner strength. Practitioners consider it the center of one’s willpower and determination.
- Anahata (Heart Chakra): Situated in the chest area where, as the name suggests, the heart would be. Anahata is the chakra that represents love, compassion, emotional healing, and one’s connection with others. It governs the ability to give and receive love unconditionally.
- Vishuddha (Throat Chakra): Situated in the throat region, Vishuddha is the chakra that is associated with self-expression, speech, and communication. It rules over a person’s ability to speak their truth.
- Ajna (Third Eye Chakra): Positioned between one’s eyebrows, the Ajna chakra is often referred to as the ‘third eye’. It is believed to be the center of one’s intuition, inner wisdom, and spiritual insight. This chakra represents a person’s ability to perceive beyond their ego and the physical realm.
- Sahasrara (Crown Chakra): Found at the top of the head, Sahasrara is the highest chakra and represents spiritual connection and transcendence. It is associated with the unity of the individual self with the divine and thus one’s ability to reach enlightenment.
Awakening the Chakra System’s Energy
Kundalini Yoga’s ultimate goal is to awaken one’s dormant kundalini energy so it can be harnessed to gain enlightenment. There are various practices you can explore that would help you unlock yours, from kriyas or sets of exercises to meditations and breath work techniques designed to target specific chakra points.
Here are some of the most common methods of awakening that energy with Kundalini Yoga:
- Deliberate Breath Work. Kundalini Yoga promotes the practice of deep belly breathing and alternate nostril breathing. These deliberate ways of breathing prepare the body and mind to activate and balance the energy at the base of the spine.
- Meditation and Mantras. Regular meditation and the chanting of mantras enhance one’s ability to focus on the inner world or spiritual sense. Kundalini meditation practices can include visualisation, too.
- Yoga Asanas. Since kundalini energy passes through the chakra points along one’s spine, it only makes sense that aligning the spine would facilitate the healthy flow of energy. The Cobra pose (Bhujangasana) and the Cat-Cow pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana) are two such poses that activate the chakras.
It should be noted that while Kundalini Yoga has gained widespread acceptance in various spiritual and alternative healing spaces, it is still a powerful and transformative process. It’s not one to be taken lightly or treated without due respect. Improperly awakening or mishandling kundalini energy can lead to adverse effects.
So, if you are thinking about adopting such practices, be sure to approach it with patience, an open mind, and respect. Seek guidance from reputable and qualified sources like a yogi or a guide-coach from Daftein who could help ensure a safe and balanced experience.
Benefits of Kundalini Yoga
Practicing Kundalini Yoga benefits the mind, body, and spirit in various ways. When one’s chakra points are balanced and energy flows properly through them, practitioners may experience the following transformative effects:
- Increased self-awareness, intuition, introspection, and spiritual awareness, leading to the ability to access higher levels of consciousness.
- Enhanced mental clarity, creativity, and focus by reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and other emotional imbalances to improve one’s overall mood, sleep quality, and energy levels, as well as reduce fatigue.
- Deepened sense of compassion, love, and connection with others.
- Improved cognitive function. The practice of Kundalini yoga might be able to improve cognitive and executive functioning in practitioners, especially the elderly.
- Improved physical strength, flexibility, and vitality because it helps manage stress levels, increases body flexibility, and improves cardiovascular health.
Overall, the practice of Kundalini Yoga can do wonders for you and your journey of self-discovery by restoring the balance to your chakra points and bringing harmony in almost every aspect of your physical, emotional, and spiritual life.
Embracing Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini Yoga offers a transformative path towards enlightenment and self-realization. By awakening your kundalini and learning how to channel it through your chakras, you will become more mindful and conscientious with the way you live, perceive, and experience life. This deeper connection to your higher self and the divine will lead you to a state of harmony and enlightenment.
If you’re ready to embrace your journey or want to know more about the practice, get in touch with Daftein. Our Kundalini Yoga teacher can provide instruction and support so you stay safe all throughout the practice. Moreover, you can supplement your activities with our coach, who can act as your guide after you awaken your consciousness.