Serpent of Fire: How Kundalini Yoga Works as Lifestyle and Practice
Kundalini is a style of yoga that utilizes meditation as well as physical exercise. The practice is centered on the concept that within all of us there is a dormant energy; an energy that signifies something ancient and divine harbored by all living creatures since the beginning of time.
Kundalini practice focuses on the base of the spine, where it is said each person’s untapped energy lies. This energy is traditionally personified as a fiery serpent coiled in rest.
Indeed, Kundalini as a Sanskrit noun comes from the word, Kundalini meaning coiled. It is a means of accessing the power of the unconscious through dynamic breath, chiropractic rhythm, and a meditative process of oneness.
Through mental discipline paired with a series of physical posturings, students of Kundalini work to move this fiery and serpentine energy up through the spine and towards the crown chakra.
Scholars have found that the first mention of Kundalini was written sometime between the 16th and 17th centuries in the sacred Hindu text known as the Upanishads. However, a vocal discourse making reference to the movement of serpentine energy through the body can be found as early as the 11th century.
Kundalini itself emerged as a union of various yogic techniques known as Hatha, Kriya and Laya. It combines these traditions with Tantric visualization. The iteration of Kundalini most known in the West was engineered and popularized by Yogi Bhajan. It requires a movement of the spine while using dynamic breath in order to create movement through the navel up towards the head. This practice of movement and breath helps to stimulate the pituitary and pineal glands in the brain.
The known benefits of Kundalini range from the mental to physical. The most common testimonials have reported increased vitality, improved mental agility, and a greater sense of awareness of the body’s functions. Kundalini yogic practice has also been known to improve gastrointestinal function, sharpen the nervous system and expand lung capacity. Spiritually, instances of spiritual awakening and detachment from Earthly suffering have been notably recorded from Kundalini practitioners.
Kundalini is not merely a means of increasing flexibility. It is used as a means of connecting with the greater world, so that we can access spiritual forces that help us to guide and grow in our communities. If you’re interested in giving this practice a try come by Rasa Flow Yoga – we offer Kundalini classes at both of our studios!