Kundalini Yoga can be practiced safely and effectively at home. Here are a few key points to use as a guide when practicing at home.
What is Kundalini Yoga?
Let’s start with the basics. Kundalini Yoga is the Yoga of Awareness. It is appropriate for all practice levels - from beginner to experienced Yogi. Kundalini is a term associated with consciousness. Consciousness allows us to bring a fresh perspective to old situations, adapt efficiently to change, become leaders in our lives, approach challenges with kindness and confidence and explore emotions with curiosity rather than judgement.
Consciousness in Kundalini Yoga is awoken through a Kriya (series of movements), Mantra, breath work, meditation and relaxation. These elements help the body, mind and spirit work together. Kundalini Yoga prepares the body for the gradual and incremental rising of consciousness. It does not force the rising of energy.
What is a Kriya?
A Kriya is a series of movements completed in a specific order for set periods of time. Collectively these movements lead to transformation. While each movement contained within a Kriya is powerful and has a specific effect, the effect of combining these movements is heightened. There are thousands of Kriyas and each one offers a different healing effect. Kriays range from meditative to rigorous, and offer mental, emotional, spiritual and physical benefits. Everyone responds differently to the effect of a Kriya - so the best suggestion is to explore and to work with a teacher whom you trust and ask questions.
What is Mantra
Kundalini Yoga uses Mantra (sound Vibration) to start and end each class. The opening Mantra (Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo) attunes the practitioner to inner guidance and to the Universe. For higher perspective. The closing Mantra (Sat Nam) affirms the truth of our nature. These Mantra create a vibrational connection between the finite, our human form and that which is infinite, the creative force of the Universe. Each sound that we make communicates a message, regardless of the language. Sacred languages, (Gurmukhi, Sanskrit, Arabic, Latin for example) are specifically used for communicating a spiritual message. These messages help us to connect to ourselves and each other.
Kundalini Yoga Mantras are uplifting and beautiful, The Mantras capture the intention of the practice and compliment the movement and the energy flow perfectly. For your listening pleasure - here is a link to my favourite Kundalini Yoga Mantras on YouTube.
Breathing is a simple and effective way to alter a mood or a mindset. Focussed and conscious breathing is a big part of any Kundalini Yoga practice. Breathwork (or Pranayama in Sanskrit) is the practice of channelling life force energy. While the majority of breaths we take per day come automatically as the body’s main responsibility for keeping us alive. When we take conscious breaths, this life force is used for healing, for greater awareness and to calm and still the mind. When you next take a Kundalini Yoga class, notice the cuing of the breath and how you feel before and after the breathing practice. You will surely notice the difference.
Meditation is often omitted from other styles of Yoga. With Kundalini Yoga, meditation is expressly included in each practice. I think of meditation like a dessert. After all the work of the Mantras, the Kriya and breathwork, the full fruition of the practice comes in the final meditation. Meditation is a way of focussing the mind, welcoming thoughts and understanding what decisions and choices we can make to live life to our fullest capacity.
Set Yourself up for Success
1. Create a Space in Your Home
Choose a space that is big enough to hold your yoga mat. Decorate the area with words of inspiration, meaningful items, a candle or any other items that help you feel calm and connected.
2. Choose the Right Time in Your Day
The perfect time to practice is when you can do it. Choose a time in your day where you can dedicate 20-30 minutes to your practice. Ideally where you are not rushed, the house is fairly quiet and you can easily build it into your schedule. The body works best in repetition and routine, so having a fixed time helps to cultivate your new habit and make it easier to stay committed.
3. Start Small
Focus first on establishing your practice. Commit to getting to your mat everyday. The good news is you can start with a 10 minute practice and gain amazing benefits. Starting small means you can work your way to a longer practice once your habit has been established. A three minute meditation can help you create powerful change in your life. All you have to do is do it.
4. 40 Days
It takes 40 Days to change a habit. The technology of Kundalini Yoga is built around this premise. Practicing a Kriya or meditation for 40 Days will bring you real and tangible results. Your consistent practice will show you new aspects of yourself. You will likely see yourself and others in a new light. All of this is life affirming and will lead to greater opportunities and transformation.
5. Working Through Pain
Firstly, identify the areas of the body that require extra care and compassion. Pain often shows up in our joints and muscles. Pain is often referred from other places in the body. For example,
Pain in the knee can stem from the joint above or below. So the hip and ankle may also need extra support during the pract. Secondly, grab some props. This could include pillows, blankets, towels or books available in your home. All of these items can be used to make your sitting positions more comfortable. Placing a cushion or a block under your buttocks can alleviate strain on the knees. A blanket placed under the knees can make kneeling more accessible. Turdly, listen to your body. If the props allow you to move comfortably, then this is the right approach. If, after using props, you feel uncomfortable and experience more pain simply sit and imagine yourself doing the movement in your mind. You will reap all the same benefits without causing further injury. Your Kundalini Yoga practice should bring you to an uplifted state. Play around until you find the right adjustments for your body. Practice a Kriya until you find the right approach. You don’t need to do everything exactly as stated to get amazing benefits.
6. During Menstruation
The menstrual cycle is a time of extra sensitivity for women. This is a time for heightened intuition, creativity, emotional awareness and spiritual strength. Take care to approach your Kundalini Yoga practice with the same qualities and characteristics. During the time of your period, it is important to avoid breath of fire and inversions such as downward dog, shoulder stand and pelvic lifts. Please also avoid strenuous movements such as leg lifts or abdominal work. You can resume these movements once you reach the last few days of your period. Opting for a gentle approach will ensure the balance of your practice and respect for your body.
Approach your Kundalini Yoga practice with the loving attention you would offer a friend, a child or your favourite pet. Let the practice be soothing balm to your day. Kundalini Yoga is not just exercise done for the sake of movement. It is a process to bring you to greater awareness. Treating it this way will allow you to reap the reward for many years to come.