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Kundalini Yoga: Unlocking the Body’s Energy
Yoga instructors specialize in the Kundalini style. Read on to learn what to expect.
Kundalini yoga is built around the idea that untapped energy is coiled at the base of the human spine, much like a sleeping snake. When a kriya—a sequence of poses and designated breathing techniques—is performed, Kundalini practitioners awaken the untapped energy and allow it to move through the spine and rouse the seven chakras throughout the body. A typical class begins with a chant and stretching before an instructor leads the kriya, which can include poses held for a long period of time, rapid and repetitive asanas, mudras (hand poses), and interior body locks. Everything is done while performing specific breathing exercises led by the instructor. In the end, the class meditates, perhaps while their teacher strikes a gong or sings.
Each chakra is considered an energy center that, when opened, may allow people to increase stamina, tone muscles, overcome anxiety, or reach a greater spiritual awareness. Many opt to practice in large groups, because it is believed that as each person’s chakras open, the individuals' consciousness fuses with universal consciousness. These ideas come from Kundalini's early proponent in America, Yogi Bhajan—the Siri Singh Sahib, or the Sikh leader in the Western Hemisphere. He first introduced his faith’s yoga practice to a packed high-school gymnasium in Los Angeles in 1969.