Kundalini Yoga is a style which focuses on rapid sessions of movement to awaken the life energy in your body and also long meditations to rejuvenate your spirit. The poses that are practiced are common with other styles of yoga but the way in which they are practiced may be different than what you are familiar with. Yoga teacher training will guide you on the way to take these poses and make them into more of a Kundalini Yoga practice.
Kundalini Yoga teaching tends to take the poses that are normally held for periods of time and turn them into a more dynamic movement. During a Kundalini yoga class session you may be lying flat on the floor on your back with both legs stretched out in front of you. Then bending your right knee and bringing it over towards your left side while you keep both of your shoulders flat on the floor surface. During Kundalini yoga sessions you may rapidly move and alternate sides instead of holding the pose for a few seconds which will turn the pose into a more aerobic movement.
The Bow Pose is a great energizing pose that is used in connection with the breath of fire in Kundalini yoga. To practice Bow Pose you should lie on your stomach and reach back with both arms to grab your ankles. If you cannot reach this point you can modify it by grabbing one ankle at a time. Then roll back and forth while practicing the breath of fire which is rapid breathing in and out through the nose. This is done at a much faster rate than the standard version in yoga.
Another pose that yoga teacher training has modified for Kundalini practice is the Cobra which is also an energetic movement. Start out by lying on your stomach and place both hands next to your shoulders-then push your upper body upward. Slowly come down and return to the lying down position. While practicing breath of fire keep repeating this pose. Some yoga teaching has the students stick out their tongues while practicing this pose.
Through yoga teacher training and yoga certification we learn that while doing meditations you are normally seated in an easy pose while your legs are crossed and your hands are place palms up on your legs. With Kundalini Yoga classes end with the traditional Savasana or a seated meditative Savasana. While you are in a seated meditation your yoga teacher may instruct you to focus your attention on the tip of your nose or the top of your head.
Sequencing Poses for Kundalini Yoga
You can sequence your poses for your Kundalini yoga practice according to your goal for the session. During Kundalini yoga practice there are many different sequences that can be practiced and each one has a different focus on the area of the body or the energy that needs attention. The sequences are referred to as kriyas. A kriya takes the yoga pose, movement, and breathing and combines them.
Energizing Sequence for Kundalini Yoga
- You can begin your day with breath of fire. Sit on a pillow or yoga mat that is comfortable. Cross your legs and keep them close to your body. Make sure that your back is straight and is aligning your spine from the tailbone up to the bottom of your head. Close your eyes and try to focus on your breathing. Breathe quickly through your nose not your mouth. You should be breathing in and out at a quick rate for at least 30 seconds up to one minute.
- Slowly stretch out your legs in front of you for Boat Rowing. Stretch your arms out in front of you keeping them straight. Rest both hands on your legs and lean your body back until most of your back without the shoulders can touch the floor. Slowly roll back up while stretching your arms over your head. Continue down to touch your toes or shins, depending on the flexibility. Move slowly back and forth five to ten times.
- Shake out your legs and gently rock back and forth on the buttocks until you feel comfortable. Now we are going to move you into a single leg stretch. Grabbing the bottom of your foot with your hand and lift it slowly up off the ground while keeping your leg straight. You can bend the other leg back to ease the stretch. Add one minute of Breath of Fire and then repeat with other leg.
- Moving into Bridge Pose stretch your arms while keeping them close to your body. Bring your feet closer to your buttocks with your knees bent. Lifting the thighs, buttocks, lower and middle back. The shoulders, neck and head should be resting on the ground. Add Breath of Fire. Release pose.
- Counter that pose with the hugging pose. While you are on your back bring your knees to the chest. Wrap your arms around the knees and hug while gently rolling from side to side.
- Finish the sequence with Corpse Pose for meditation. Lay flat on your back with arms and legs stretched out to your sides. Relax from your head to your toes directing each body part to relax as you think about it. Finish this for 8 to 10 minutes.
Yoga teacher training provides training in all areas of yoga and the different styles.