What is Kundalini Yoga and How Can it Benefit You?

What is Kundalini Yoga and what can it do for me?

As a Kundalini Teacher, I get asked this question a lot.  Kundalini Yoga is a yogic lineage specifically designed for healing and transformation.  It was developed by Yogi Bhajan and brought to the West in the 1970’s.  Yogi Bhajan was the first person to publicly teach Kriyas and meditations that was otherwise kept secret by royalty. 

 I’ve been practicing yoga for over 10 years, and while I genuinely appreciate the benefits of vinyasa, yin, restorative, Iyengar, etc, in terms of transformation, Kundalini takes the cake hands down.   And when I say transformation, I mean on all levels.  I can’t think of an area of my life that hasn’t changed since I’ve started Kundalini Yoga, and I’ve been practicing Kundalini since 2013.  To get started, here’s a list I’ve made:

-Career change to work that feels more purposeful to me

-More energized

-Able to BREATH and stay centered through obstacles

-Shifted away from fear-based living

-More confidence

-Able to live with an open heart and connect with others authentically

-Able to manage MONEY better

-Shifted my diet in a way that WORKS for me

-Feel bursts of creativity and new ideas

To name a few. 

What exactly is Kundalini Yoga?  Kundalini Yoga is a Kriya based yoga.  Kriyas are poses put together in a specific way for a specific purpose.  There is some overlap between Kundalini with yin, vinyasa, and hatha, however Kundalini weaves the poses together in a very deliberate manner.  There are Kriyas for the liver, bladder, skin, heart, detoxification, etc, which makes Kundalini Yoga very helpful for the modern-day householder.  I choose Kriyas that will help me get where I want to go on that given day.

So how does it work?  There are many ways Kundalini Yoga works.  On an energetic level, latent energy is moved from the base of the spine, up towards the crown chakra.  What I’ve seen through my experience is that this results in an opening on all levels.  This is sometimes referred to as “Kundalini Rising.” We become open to connection, creativity, and to the divine.  In Kundalini Yoga there are exercises called “keep up” exercises.  In “keep up” exercises, poses are held waaaaaay longer than desired.  In these exercises, the practitioner releases “I can’t” and develops the “I can” mentality.  Kundalini also works in a number of ways on a physical level by stimulating digestion, increasing circulation, moving lymph fluid, all which help us to live with optimal health.  In addition, meditation which is often included in Kundalini Yoga classes also increases the functional ability of the part of the brain known as the hippocampus which is responsible for compassion, memory, self- awareness, and introspection according to a recent Harvard study.

To sum it up, Kundalini Yoga is an incredibly useful tool for overcoming challenges of modern-day lifestyle. Like no other form of yoga, it helps to shift negative thoughts and habits, so you can overcome limiting beliefs and live your potential.  I know this because I have tried it.  Find out for yourself!

Wake Up Your Life: Cold Showers

Cold showers are an amazing self care practice for healing and vitality.  In India, the practice of cold showers is known as the Sanskrit word Ishaan which translates to “sun.”  This makes sense, considering that cold showers are energizing, detoxifying, and strengthen the immune system.  I notice when I take a cold shower in the morning it’s like having a cup of coffee without the obnoxious 3pm caffeine crash.  As an added bonus, cold showers also tighten the skin and increase circulation transmitting your innate radiance!  I’ve outlined the practice below so you can try it for yourself.

1)      Cold showers are best in the morning.  They are energizing and stimulating to the whole system.  I like to take a cold shower right away, even before eating.  To prepare, coat yourself in a light layer of oil.  If you do this practice everyday, you will want to invest in bulk oils.  I buy them online.  Some of the oil will absorb into your skin, so I like to buy organic.  My favorites are sesame, olive, and almond oil.  Sesame is very grounding.  Olive oil is soothing to inflammation.  Almond is great for all skin types and contains vitamin E.  You can make it fun by adding your favorite essential oils.

2)      Turn the water on cold.  All the way on cold.  I like to ease into it by starting with the feet and legs.  Then arms.  Then face.  Neck.  Chest.  Belly. Pelvis.  Shoulders.  Low back.  In traditional Ishaan, the head and forehead are avoided. 

3)      Let out a warrior cry!  Victory!

4)      Towel off.  I usually use a worn-out towel for this part.  Some of the oil will stay on the towel even if you wash it.  I designate a towel for my practice.  I use the towel everyday and the towel usually lasts about 2 months.

5)      Congratulate yourself for being a badass!!!  Start your day feeling energized and refreshed.  You just took a cold shower, you can do anything now :-)