Yoga has been around for centuries. In fact, some say that the practice started way back 3000 BC. This makes yoga older than the religion Hinduism.
From relative obscurity, yoga has developed into a holistic exercise program that not only provides physical and physiological benefits but also mental, emotional and spiritual.
One of the forms of yoga that is being practiced now is the Kundalini yoga, which uses a set of yoga postures and yoga movements. There are also a lot of breathing exercises and chanting, which in yoga is called mantra. Unknown to many, the mantra’s value does not only lie in the words that are chanted but also in the way the sound are pronounced. It is believed that each word when said strikes a specific point in the mouth that will trigger a response from the brain.
The word kundalini means “a curl of the lock of hair.” According to long-time yoga practitioners and masters, this is a metaphor that actually refers to the energy that is yet to be untapped inside us.
It means energy of awareness, which the program hopes to provide its students.
Yoga masters believe that once this energy is tapped, people will be more connected not only in the spiritual plane but also in the present reality. Although all yoga exercises emphasize health and wellbeing, kundalini has been proven to be useful in teaching practitioners internal balance and stress relief.
What is essentially different form the Kundalini yoga compared to other forms of yoga is its content. Unlike other forms of yoga that only makes use of two to three elements, the Kundalini yoga incorporates the all the elements: asana, which refers to the postures and the movements that they have to master; pranayam, which refers to the breathing routines; mantra and of course meditation, which is its primary focus.
The program is taught in different sets of movements, which are called krivas.
Exercises are taught by the book. Yoga masters cannot come up with movements and let their students perform them. Kundalini yoga is taught in its purest form.
Some kundalini classes also make use of gongs. Some yoga masters believe that the sound that comes from the beating of the gong can help in relieving the blocks that we have in our minds and bodies. In short, the sound of the gong can be used to help yoga practitioners relax before, during and after the class.
Classes begin with centering exercises that helps practitioners to focus on the yoga lessons and get rid of other thoughts. The teacher will chant the mantra “Ong Namo, Guru Dev Namo.” This is a call for inner guidance and for the teacher inside each practitioner to guide them.
After this, the class will do warm-up exercises and movements for about 10 to 20 minutes. This will prepare them from the actual yoga sets that will follow.
As conclusion, the whole class will undergo meditative states and deep relaxation that many believe to help people de-stress. Like what was done at the start of the program, a kundalini yoga class will conclude with another call. This time it is done through a song of blessing, which goes like this, “May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you, and the pure light within you guide your way on.”