What Is Kundalini Yoga and What Are the Benefits?
Kundalini yoga is a form of yoga that involves chanting, singing, breathing exercises, and repetitive poses.
Its purpose is to activate your Kundalini energy, or shakti. This is a spiritual energy that’s said to be located at the base of your spine.
As Kundalini yoga awakens this energy, it’s supposed to enhance your awareness and help you move past your ego. Sometimes, the practice is also called “yoga of awareness.”
Read on to learn more about Kundalini yoga, its potential benefits, and how it differs from other types of yoga.
What is Kundalini yoga?
Although Kundalini yoga is practiced around the world, its origin is unknown. The concept of Kundalini energy has been around for centuries and was mentioned in ancient Vedic texts from 1,000 B.C.
Kundalini yoga is most associated with Yogi Bhajan, a yoga teacher from Pakistan. He’s credited with introducing the practice to Western countries in the 1960s.
The term “Kundalini” comes from the Sanskrit word “kundal,” which means “circular.” It also refers to a coiled snake. And according to practitioners, Kundalini energy is like that coiled snake: It sits at the base of your spine, sleeping and unaroused.
Kundalini yoga is practiced to activate this energy, which allows it to move up and through the chakras along your spine.
In yoga, chakras are the seven energy centers in your body. They include:
- root chakra
- sacral chakra
- naval, or solar plexus, chakra
- heart chakra
- throat chakra
- third eye chakra
- crown chakra
As Kundalini energy rises, it’s believed to help balance these chakras and contribute to your spiritual wellness.
With regular practice, Kundalini yoga is said to lead to spiritual enlightenment. This is called a “Kundalini awakening.”
What are the benefits?
- Nervous System. Kundalini yoga strengthens your nervous system. …
- Willpower. …
- Brain Power. …
- Creativity. …
- All Embracing. …
- Compassionate Communication. …
- Awakened Intuition. …
- Wise Choices.
Kundalini Yoga is a practice that has been gifted to us to strengthen and improve our nervous system. These Kundalini kriyas and yoga poses will clear and focus the mind, and bring balance to your body.
For your first time practicing each of the following, begin with 30 seconds or 5 deep breaths and work up to 3 minutes for each exercise. This allows time for the oxygen and chemical changes to occur in the bloodstream.
Lotus Pose, or Padmasana in Sanskrit, requires open hips and consistent practice. This pose creates an essential foundation for meditation practice while helping to manage stress with a conscious stretch in the front of the thighs and ankles.
Lotus Pose: Step-by-Step instructions
- Sit on the floor in Dandasana with your legs extended. Bend your right knee out to the side, and cradle your knee and your foot in your hands. Rotate your leg from the hip (not the knee) and guide your foot into your left hip crease.
- Bend your left knee, rotating the thigh outward from the hip and, just as you did on the right. Lift your shin slightly and guide the left foot over the right, and bring it to tuck into the right hip crease.
- Settle the tops of your feet against your upper thighs and release your knees towards the floor. Try not to let the ankles sickle.
- Sit up tall, lift your sternum and lengthening your spine. Sitting on a folded blanket may help keep the spine from rounding.
- Take slow, deep breaths and stay in the pose as long as is comfortable.
Lotus Pose creates a solid foundation for meditation practices. Settling into the pose activates the relaxation response (parasympathetic nervous system) and deactivates the stress response (sympathetic nervous system). Lotus Pose may help lower or regulate blood pressure. Physically, you can count on it to open the hip joints and stretch the front of the thighs (quadriceps), the groin and the ankles.
Getting into Lotus requires both thighs to rotate outward, moving from the hip sockets. The hip is a ball-and-socket joint with a circular range of motion that varies greatly from person to person, so this pose is a breeze for some people, less so for others. Don’t judge and don’t force the pose.
When you bring your foot across toward the groin, maintain an even stretch of the inner and outer ankles in both feet. Don’t allow one side of your feet or legs to feel overstrained.
Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose is a solution to solve these and many other problems, just sitting (or lying down) at home! Bhujangasana, the Cobra Pose, is a pose that you do while lying down on your stomach. It gives your body (especially the back), a good stretch that melts your stress away almost instantly!
- Lie on your belly. Separate your feet and legs to hip width. Point your toes, so the tops of your feet are on the floor.
- Bend your elbows and place your hands on the floor next to your ribs, stacking your wrist and elbow.
- On an inhale, begin to peel your chest away from the floor, lifting into spinal extension.
Low Cobra: Keep your low belly on the floor and elbows bent. Look straight ahead or down toward your cheeks. If your low back is tender or you have neck pain, stay here.
Full Cobra: Continue pressing your arms toward straight (without locking your elbows!) until your belly is completely off the floor and you are on your pubic bone. Gaze straight forward, which will help keep your neck long.
Tips for Beginners Cobra Yoga Pose
If you are new to cobra pose remember it is important to engage through the abs and legs to support the lower back.
Moderate body weight in the hands. Focus on lifting with the muscles of the back and core. Eventually, you may be able to hover your hands off the floor in this pose.
Toes point straight back not allowing the feet to sickle inward. Reaching back through the big toe will help with this and also provide a wonderful stretch along the facial plane of the body.
Hug elbows alongside the body and relax shoulders away from the ears. Hug them into your torso – no chicken wings!
Relax your jaw and keep head in line with the spine. It’s tempting to look up in this pose but make sure you are keeping space along the back of the neck and think more about drawing the chest forward and up to deepen the pose.
Archer’s Pose, or Akarna Dhanurasana, is a seated yoga pose designed to build both strength and flexibility. It is a fairly challenging pose. It is a good idea to practice related poses such as Bound Angle Pose and Forward Bend Pose prior to attempting this asana. Investing time and energy to achieve Archer’s Pose is well worth the effort – being able to hold Archer’s Pose brings a wealth of benefits with it.
ARCHER’S POSE BEGINNERS
1.) Start by sitting up straight with your legs out in front of you. Lengthen your torso up toward the ceiling.
2.) Inhale, and slowly bend forward into seated forward bend. Keep your back straight as you reach for your toes.
3.) With your right hand on your right toes, slowly draw your left foot back towards your right ear.
4.) Lift and straighten your back so that your right hand still touches your right toes while your back stretches up and back. Your left elbow should lift so your left forearm forms a straight line pointing down toward your right toes.
5.) Hold for fifteen to thirty seconds.
6.) Exhale and release down. Reverse the pose.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF ARCHER’S POSE
ARCHER’S POSE FOR MENSTRUAL AND ABDOMINAL PAIN
Archer’s Pose is well known for providing relief for pain in the pelvic and abdominal area. This pose stretches out and expands the entire lower region. Practice slowly and gently to ease cramps.
ARCHER’S POSE FOR IMPROVING BREATHING
Archer’s Pose is a wonderful chest-opening and lung-expanding exercise. This pose brings more oxygen and deeper breathing into your system.
ARCHER’S POSE FOR CORE STRENGTH
Archer’s Pose is a pose requiring a fair amount of strength. Holding this pose builds muscles and stability which serves the body well not only in other yoga poses but for moving through life in general.
ARCHER’S POSE FOR IMPROVING FLEXIBILITY
Archer’s Pose requires flexibility in the legs, arms, and hips. It tests and expands a number of body parts all at once. By practicing Archer’s Pose, you benefit a number of body systems all at the same time.
BENEFITS OF ARCHER’S POSE
- Builds core strength
- Stretches and strengthens legs
- Improves hip mobility
- Decreases menstrual pain
- Expands the lungs