In my last blog, I would like give my thoughts on and a brief introduction to Kundalini Yoga. To recall, we have learnt that “Kundal” means claypot, representing the physical body we are in. We also learnt that “Kundalini” is the path where the energy, or shakti, moves.
What then is Kundalini Yoga? The literal meaning of Kundalini is “coiled”, represented by a metaphorical coiled snake at the base of your spine. This practice is supposed to uncoil your snake and release that energy within. It is known as the Yoga of Awareness, combining breath, mudra, eye-focus, mantra, body locks and postures to balance the body, mind and soul. In the process, it also balances the glandular system, strengthens the nervous system, expands lung capacity and purifies the blood. This type of yoga is claimed to be for everyone, from housewives to businessmen, for anyone to cope with the stress of daily lives. Kundalini is one of the oldest forms of yoga – it has been practiced since 500 B.C., and was kept a secret until 1969 when a Guru called Yogi Bhajan taught it to the public to share its benefits.
Sounds too good to be true? As a disclaimer, I have only tried a few Kundalini classes, so I am unable to speak for the long term benefits. From a beginner’s perspective, it is definitely a more spiritual class with opening and closing chants and some meditation. I was surprised by the Kriya, which means action. It is a series of repetitive movements together with breath designed to help you get the benefits of Kundalini Yoga. It could be something as simple as flexing the spine forward (inhale) and backward (exhale) continuously for 3 to 5 minutes. It felt really tiring halfway through the movements, as my muscles started to ache, and for me it took pure grit to complete the exercise. But I learnt that instead of getting agitated and irritated from having to perform the pose so many times, I had to try to get into a calm and meditative state and accept the achiness I was feeling. The good thing is that we can do Kundalini Yoga at our own pace, within the stipulated time.
So why do we have to repeat, or hold the pose for so long? The body needs time to be cleansed and strengthened from the amazing energy generated within us. This is also why we hold our asanas for a few breaths instead of going from one pose to another without a pause, unless we are flowing through a vinyasa. I realized that as long as I put my mind and energy in the Kundalini yoga practice, I feel a sense of calm, joy and peace after.
While doing my online reading, I incidentally came across a “Kriya to make you enchantingly beautiful”, and tried it out of curiosity. Firstly, I was surprised at how challenging some of the poses were. One pose involved Navasana with hands on floor for support, with straight back, and I had to hold for 3 minutes. There were 5 poses that took about 15 minutes altogether, and halfway through I already felt my body heating up. Of course, I looked in the mirror after this short workout. And I looked the same (haha). I believe it takes patience and discipline to build up a daily practice before you can see or feel any results. Like how all yoga styles are, you cannot expect results overnight. In case you are interested, link to website for your reference:
Ending off with a spiritual quote from Yogi Bhajan himself:
“This beautiful body cannot be eaten by anything except your own ego. God doesn‘t kill you. There is no death except your own ego, and your own negativity which reduces the voltage of your life force so your circumvent field becomes weak and death creeps into your body. This body is beautiful. It was made by a very special imagination of the Creator.
People search for the experience of God, the experience of freedom, energy, and consciousness. If we would only purify ourselves, then God would be known to us and come to live in us. That infinite energy is the giver in every situation. We recognize it by cleaning, caring, and utilizing what we have already been given.”
Ho Hui Lin 200hr Weekend class Jan to May 2014