Kundalini Yoga, sometimes called the Yoga of Consciousness, is an ancient comprehensive yoga tradition that focuses on self-awareness through the use of breathing techniques, mantras, meditation and physical exercise. The objective of Kundalini Yoga, taught by Yogi Bhajan, is to empower individuals to fulfill the entirety of their destinies.
"Kundalini" is Sanskrit for a coiled “snake” or “serpent.” With Kundalini Yoga, it is believed that untapped powerful energy resides coiled up at the base of your spine. Through special techniques, a conscious awakening or enlightenment occurs when the Kundalini energy flows through seven energy centers, called chakras, throughout the body and flows through the top of the head.
Each Kundalini Yoga sequence incorporates physical body poses with specific breathing patterns for each position. Breathing may be done in quick, rapid succession or may be held during certain positions. Each sequence may cause spontaneous movements or vocalizations, which are thought to be the flow of Kundalini energy as tension is released throughout your body. Spontaneous movements or sounds, called kriyas, often include twitching, shaking and moaning.
Kundalini Yoga participants usually wear loose-fitting white robes and have their heads wrapped. Kundalini Yoga classes normally begin with a short chant and various warm-up exercises that focus on stretching your back and spine. You are guided and instructed through a series of poses that focus on specific body areas where Kundalini energy is to be released. During each pose or position, the instructor guides participants into the position’s corresponding breathing technique. Some positions require forceful exhaling, while others call for prolonged deep inhaling. Kundalini Yoga positioning and breathing can be considered an intense workout. The class typically ends with time for meditation, with or without relaxing music, and the instructor concludes meditation time by banging a large gong.