Updated: May 21
Kundalini yoga is so rich, deep and expansive that one could spend a lifetime studying and writing about it but since I like to keep my blog posts short, sweet and readable in under 5 minutes, here's just a teeny tiny snippet about this practice, from my own experience and study.
Kundalini Yoga is known as the "yoga of awareness" and focuses largely on different facets of the energetic body: auric field, chakras, etc. This style can be very physical, but compared to some other yoga styles I've practiced in the past (and I love them all), I have found the focus to be less on perfecting the physical asanas (postures) and more about balancing energy within and expanding the mind and energetic field.
In my experience, this is a FAST-acting practice, meaning that I felt emotional, mental and spiritual effects right away. I was so lucky to have a few awesome teachers/friends who I could text after a meditation to be like: "is this normal??" Change happens fast with this practice.
As a sober person, I appreciate that this practice brings balance to my state of mind quickly. It's the fastest way that I know how to calm any anxiety, resentment, fear, or ego without any outside substance and without any negative side-effects.
If you've ever seen any yoga pics from the 70's of people sticking their tongues out while in Cow Pose, with their eyes rolled up, they may have been practicing Kundalini. Among some, it has a "weird" reputation, but there is a good reason behind every posture, eye gaze, mantra etc. Kundalini focuses on physical movements that stimulate different parts of the brain and glandular system to help us secrete helpful hormones. I've never shied away from weirdness, but if you do, I can attest to the fact that it's all for a good reason and this stuff works. Rarely is there anything too unusual in a Kundalini class, but in case there is, I always look at it as a great opportunity to tell my ego to take a break for an hour or so. The benefits are so worth it.
There is some different language in Kundalini yoga so I wanted to define the word "Kriya" for you, as you will hear it often in this practice. The word Kriya refers to "action that leads to a complete manifestation" (from The Aquarian Teacher textbook). Its a set or series of postures put together in order to achieve a certain outcome. On occasion, it can be just one posture or movement. There are Kriyas for everything: Kriya to relieve inner anger, Kriya to relax and release Fear, Kriyas to open the heart, Kriyas to become intuitive... the list goes on. Two great online resources to find Kriyas are 3ho.org and spiritvoyage.com
It's often recommended that you practice a meditation or Kriya for 40 days straight in order to make the practice a habit and to really reap the benefits of what that particular Kriya or meditation has to offer. I highly recommend picking one that resonates with you and trying it out for 40 days. You might consider journaling during the process to see what happens. If you do, please reach out - I'd love to hear about your experience!