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Monday, April 2, 2007

Kundalini Yoga - Some Basics

By Terry Coyier



Recently I noticed an online article on ways to boost your energy during winter. Like many people, the cooler dark days can leave me depressed and feeling frazzled. Since good mental health is essential to wellness, I read on. The article listed five things you could do to boost your mood that took only ten to fifteen minutes each. One of the items listed was a Kundalini yoga movement. It looked interesting and easy, so I tried it and it worked. It’s based upon Kundalini yoga which is a type of yoga that focuses on breathing, sound and movement. Being someone who used to meditate, this type of yoga seemed like something I might be interested in, so I did a little research on it and found that it is, in fact, a terrific way to enhance your energy level and mood.



The word yoga comes from the root Yuj which means to join and is often meant to join the conscious with the Divine Spirit. The practitioner of yoga is called a yogin. Many people are afraid to try yoga because they think it involves complicated positions that require extreme flexibility. This isn’t true with Kundalini yoga. The word Kundalini comes from the Sanskrit word “kundal” which means “the lock of the hair from the beloved.” The hair represents the unlimited potential inside every person. Others state that the energy is like that of a coiled up snake sitting at the base of your spine. It is the breathing, chanting and movement that releases this energy so that you can realize your full potential.



Kundalini yoga is considered the most powerful form of yoga. It is based upon Kundalini energy which is “one’s dormant spiritual energy.” This energy is visualized as a coiled up snake at the base of the spine (the first chakra). The yogin can harness this energy by using breathing techniques, chanting and repetitive movements. It brings together the masculine and feminine powers of the body. The goal of Kundalini yoga is to move the Kundalini energy up through all seven chakras. When you reach the seventh chakra you experience enlightenment.



To practice Kundalini yoga you must know something about the spinal column, which is the location of five of the seven chakras, or energy centers. The spinal column is part of the Nervous System of the human body. The Nervous System also includes the brain and nerves. These things together are responsible for our thought, imagination, memory and intelligence. Five of the chakras are located along the spinal column. The other two chakras are located on the head – one in the middle and one on the top. As you breathe you visualize the Kundalini energy traveling up the spine. This energy begins and ends with you. It is the awakening of the self. Often when you awaken the Kundalini energy you will feel warmth along the chakras. Others have reported they feel a tingling sensation.



Kundalini yoga is practiced with sets of postures and exercises that work on a specific area of the body, mind and spirit. Hundreds of these sets exist that can be used to awaken you to your full potential. They address every aspect of human nature from issues with your physical health to areas of mental health to your general well being. After the sets are completed the yogin then enters a state of deep relaxation often accompanied by spiritual music and sometimes a gong. Finally you end with a breath or mantra meditation.



The following is a sample set used in Kundalini yoga to reduce anxiety:



In a soft monotone, recite out loud each of the sounds at each Chakra starting at the naval point and working up to the crown of the head. Chant “Har” and concentrate at the belly button. Chant “Haray” and concentrate at your heart center (sternum) Chant “Haree” and concentrate on your throat. Chant “Wahay” and concentrate at your brow point (1/2 inch up from the eyebrows in the center of the forehead). Finally chant “Guru” and concentrate at the top center of the head.



As with any form of exercise, precautions must be taken when practicing Kundalini yoga. You may experience heat developing in the body and may want to go slowly in the beginning. Also, some report a tingling sensation along the spinal column and in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It should gradually subside as you practice more. Last, you may experience some negative thoughts or desire to express violent emotions. These feelings also subside as you cleanse yourself of negative energy. To assist with these experiences, the beginner should practice with others and/or take classes. I looked up “Kundalini yoga" on Google and it came up with thousands of hits, many of them being places you can take classes or receive instruction. There are even free online instructions for beginners.



Kundalini yoga isn’t just a way to revitalize yourself during the winter; it is form of yoga that can help you in all areas of your life any time of year. It certainly, for many people, adds to the overall quality of their life and their wellness. It is relatively simple and you don’t have to be in great physical shape to practice Kundalini yoga. If you can breathe, you can do this!



About the Author



Terry J. Coyier is a 37-year-old college student studying for an Associates of Applied Sciences degree. She is also a freelance writer who writes about a variety of topics, many concerning health and mood. She lives with her son in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex.