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Kundalini Yoga

A Beginner’s Guide to Kundalini Yoga

This ancient healing practice awakens and connects you to the divine energy within yourself, so you can achieve a life full of lightness, joy, and boundless love.

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Life is filled with vibrant energy—everything and everyone we interact with is energy. Kundalini Yoga, which awakens you to the power of internal energy, led us to an expansive spiritual awakening within that touched every aspect of our lives. We’re now on a mission to share this ancient yoga practice with others.

In order to guide people in living this high vibrational lifestyle, it’s imperative to understand what Kundalini is, what it does to your mind, body, and soul, and why it works.

Throughout our lifetimes, we’ll all face triumphs, wins, hardships, and challenges. Kundalini guides us in reacting to the ups and downs from a more neutral headspace. This ancient healing practice was the first yoga ever created, and its technologies have been scientifically proven to activate specific parts of your brain that increase awareness and generate more balanced control. Through breath, specific movements, and timing, this practice works to increase the nervous system on a cellular level and increase your energetic awareness.

See also Is a Kundalini Awakening Safe?

Two women sit back-to-back in a meditation posture, hands in prayer at their chests.

What does kundalini mean?

In Sanskrit, kundalini means “coiled snake.” In early Eastern religion, it was believed that divine energy was created at the base of the spine. It’s energy we are born with, and Kundalini works to “uncoil the snake” and connect us to this divine energy within.

In its early creation, Kundalini was a study of the science of energy and spiritual philosophy, and in ancient times, royalty would sit with Kundalini Masters to hear the ancient scientific teachings of Kundalini and spiritual visions. Yogi Bhajan, originally named Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji, is credited with bringing Kundalini to our Western culture. (In 2020, years after his death, Yogi Bhajan was implicated in dozens of sexual assault and harassment claims.)

See also: As Kundalini’s Leader Was Disgraced, I Fell in Love With the Practice Anyway

Why do practitioners of Kundalini Yoga wear white?

Yogi Bhajan believed that colors have an effect on consciousness. The color white was thought to expand your aura by an extra foot, not only providing more protection from the harmful energy surrounding you, but projecting positive energy out into the world, as well. “We ask you to wear white so that you will reflect what is outside and go within yourself—that’s what white clothes can do for you,” he said in 1975.

Those who practice Kundalini Yoga also often wear white turbans or other head coverings. While optional, head covering are thought to focus your energy at the third eye or Ajna Chakra and create a sense of calm, as well as symbolize your devotion to the practice.

See also: 4 Head Coverings for Kundalini Yoga & Other Spiritual Practices

How can Kundalini Yoga help us?

We use Kundalini as a tool to achieve a life full of lightness, joy, and boundless love. Through Kundalini Yoga, you will begin to not only become aware of the geometry of your body, but also see how this practice affects the energy, emotion, and motion in your body, quickly and efficiently.

We all have “locks” in our body where energy is stuck and we are no longer in flow with our mind–body connection, the universe, and our highest potential. Kundalini Yoga pulls the energy at the base of your spine up, all the way through the roof of your crown and outward so that energy can flow and create balance in your energy centers and chakras.

Together, we’ll walk you through some of the technical parts of this yoga practice, including the breathwork, mantras, kriyas, meditations, and mudras, so you can understand what each of them are and their individual benefits.

At first, the chanting, breathwork, and some of the postures might feel weird. Yet in order to get the most from this spiritual practice, it is very important to commit to your practice, show up consistently, and come with an open mind.

5 aspects of a Kundalini Yoga practice

How to do the Breath of Fire

The most common breath used in Kundalini Yoga is Long Deep Breathing, where you breathe slow and deep in and out through the nose by expanding the stomach out on the inhale and contracting the stomach in on the exhale.

Every meditation and kriya has a specific breath and posture to help generate or release specific energy. One of the most common and loved breathwork practices in Kundalini Yoga is Breath of Fire. Breath of fire is practiced by breathing rapidly equal parts in and out through the nose by pumping your stomach to create oxygen in your blood and charge your electromagnetic field. Breathwork is a beautiful tool to have when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. We use Long Deep Breathing with our left hand over our heart and right over our stomach to instantly soothe our anxieties.

See also: Practice This Kundalini Meditation When You’re Having Trouble Believing in Yourself

Mantras

Mantras aren’t as intimidating and woo-woo as they sound! The use of chants and sound, or mantras, have the power to signal a chemical reaction in the brain and body, positively affecting your mood. The moods we feel—like happiness, joy, and sadness—all vibrate at a specific frequency. By chanting a mantra, we are channeling the positive power of them, whether it’s peace, abundance, or prosperity.

Chanting a mantra attracts your body to vibrate at that frequency, elevating your mood to higher vibrations, creating a more abundant and high-vibe state of mind. You don’t always have to be sitting in meditation to use mantras; you can also use mantras in your sleep or when you’re driving—the energy of the sacred tones and sounds will fill your space and attract that energy into reality. We love the mantra for success and prosperity where we chant “har” (sounds like “HUD”) for prosperity.

See also: 13 Yoga Mantras to Memorize

Kriyas

When you put breath, posture, and sounds all together, you have a kriya—or a set of exercises. Kriya means “action,” and it is through a specific set of actions and commitment where manifestation can begin to take place. Kriyas work on all levels of your mind, body, and spirit, creating an overall healthy and abundant life full of vitality. One kriya you can practice today is the Kriya for Balancing the Aura, which works quickly and effectively to protect your energy field, build your physical stamina, and elevate your energy.

See also: 8 Detoxifying Poses + Kundalini Kriyas

A person sits in a lotus position, with their wrist resting on their knee, thumb and pointer together in a mudra.

Mudras

Mudras are hand positions that lock and direct energy into different parts of our brains. Thousands of years ago, yogis mapped out the hands and how they are connected to different parts of the brain and body through specific hand placement. We always use a finger to finger placement and press down to activate the energy.

The most common mudra in Kundalini yoga is the gyan mudra that uses the thumb and index fingers to stimulate knowledge. In order to accomplish this mudra, you must firmly press the thumb and index finger together, which activates the points of the fingers. The index finger is associated with Jupiter, which represents expansion. In this mudra, you experience receptivity and calmness. We use this passive yet powerful form unless there is another active form specified.

Another favorite and effective mudra is one that opens up blocks of communication, which can help in everything to a first date to a nerve-wracking business meeting. Press the pad of the thumb onto the nail of the Mercury (pinky) finger for one minute. This allows you to develop the inner confidence to communicate all you need. After this, lightly touch your thumb to your pinky finger, channeling your communication energy to align with your ego.

See also: Mudras 101: Sacred Hand Gestures

Two women sit side-by-side in meditation, with their hands on their bellies and heart, during a Kundalini Yoga session.

Kundalini meditations

Meditations in Kundalini Yoga have releasing and healing results. During meditation, you can feel entirely awakened, heightened, and moved by the energy you’re releasing or creating. The meditations in Kundalini yoga are practiced at specific lengths to achieve different results. A 3-minute meditation affects the electromagnetic field and circulation of blood in the body, while an 11-minute meditation begins to alter the nervous and glandular systems of the body. A 31-minute meditation affects all cells, rhythms of the body, and clears out the subconscious mind.

The following is a simple and easy meditation you can practice on your own to get a feel for how Kundalini can affect you mentally, physically, and emotionally. This meditation gives you a boost of energy, making it a great practice for when you wake up in the morning or during the middle of the day if you’re feeling drained and depleted. This meditation can bring in new, vibrant energy and can rejuvenate your focus, coordination, and spirit. If you’re feeling tired, do this meditation and then take a simple Savasana (Corpse Pose)).

A step-by-step Kundalini meditation:

  1. Sit comfortably with legs crossed and your spine straight. Place your palms together in prayer pose at the center of the chest with the fingers pointing up.
  2. With eyes closed, you’ll focus your gaze at the brow point where your third eye or 6th chakra is located, which is the point between your eyebrows and up a bit.
  3. Your breath will be divided into four equal parts as you inhale.
  4. After you breathe in four equal parts, you will hold the breath and exhale, breaking the outgoing breath again into four equal parts and then hold out for a few seconds.
  5. On each inhale and exhale, pull your navel point toward your spine. Each breath cycles takes about 7–8 seconds.

This meditation is best practiced for 3–5 minutes. We love to add the mantra Sa Ta Na Ma to this meditation, and we encourage you to play this mantra if your mind is anxious or your thoughts are distracting you. Sa Ta Na Ma means “Infinity, Life, Death, and Rebirth.” This mantra will help you focus your mind and ultimately connects you to your highest and most true self.

See also: A Kundalini Yoga Sequence to Help You Feel Strong and Secure


About the Authors

Brittany Deanda and Tara Schulenberg are certified Kundalini yoga and meditation instructors and the co-founders of the popular mind/body/spirit podcast, Elevate the Globe. Learn how to incorporate a Kundalini practice into your spiritual practice, discover stress healing techniques, and inspire a newfound commitment to your health and wellness.

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