This deeply spiritual practice uses breath work to develop your awareness of your body, your energy and your emotions
Anyone who takes yoga classes religiously will know that there are countless variations of the practice, but Kundalini yoga is one of the most spiritual classes that you can sign yourself up for. Praised for its energy-boosting benefits, those who do it regularly claim that just one class can feel like an awakening for both your body and mind. Developed by Indian royalty, and kept secret for years, it wasn’t until 1968 that yogi Bhajan, a master of Kundalini yoga by the age of 16, came to the West and taught Kundalini yoga. It took off mostly in LA, where it grew in popularity amongst recovering addicts and helped them to break away from false stimulation of drugs and begin a healing process. “Kundalini yoga really connects you back to the origins of yoga,” says Lucy Keaveny, a yoga and meditation teacher (kundalinirise.co.uk). “It’s an incredibly powerful practice that is less about downward dog poses, and more about the repetition of breath work which cleanses and helps awaken Kundalini energy, and open up the chakras.” For people who regularly practise meditation, the meditative state that many reach between transitions reaps the same benefits, such as reduced anxiety, improved concentration and enhanced selfawareness “It’s a physical practice, but the incorporation of breath work and repetition of the movements enables you to not only move physically, but mentally and emotionally as you clear the energy blocks in your system and begin to awaken your kundalini,” says Lucy. “It tends to attract people who want to take the fundamentals of yoga to the next level, as it promotes a spiritual connection. It can take a while for it to click, but many people come away saying that they’ve experienced an emotional high, and feel more connected to themselves and the world around them.” Be prepared for a different kind of yoga if you do decide to give Kundalini a go. The teacher may wear white, as colours are thought to effect the consciousness too much, and at the start of the class, there could be chanting which is recited in a seated position with your hands at your heart centre, to tune into the energies of Kundalini, then later again to reach a meditative state. Sound healing is often practised during a Kundalini yoga class using gongs, which produce a strong sound wave that stimulates both the physical body by influencing the surface of the skin, and an emotional one, that helps to purify and calm anxious minds.
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