Welcome to the practice of Kundalini Yoga for beginners, the purpose of which is to assist us with the awakening of the sacred energy system of our bodies. While this highly revered practice involves yoga poses, it also includes chants, mantras, deep breathing (pranayama), and meditations. As a result, all work together holistically to encourage sacred life force activation within our being.
In Ancient Sanskrit, the term Kundalini Shakti interprets as Coiled Serpent. The belief is that there is a concentration of energy which wraps itself around the sacrum at the base of the spine. The coiled serpent symbolizes this divine energy. The purpose of this practice is to awaken the serpent and encourage it to move toward the crown of the head. In so doing, it brings with it a transformation of positive and energetic results.
When done properly, the results are hard to miss. For instance, you notice that your body increases in strength and your mind in clarity. You also experience a greater sense of relaxation and self-assurance along with an increase in self-awareness.
Kundalini Yoga for Beginners
Video from: BrettLarkinYoga
About the Kriyas
Kriya means action. in kundalini yoga, it is a sequence of postures while enacting both breath and sound simultaneously to allow the manifestation of the desired result. In other words, think of a kriya as a progression of actions performed in sequence to produce positive results throughout the body, mind, and spirit. You may select a meditative kriya to begin and then add the more strenuous physical ones as you progress.
You will find kriyas useful for diffusing overwhelming fear or anger, elimination of disease, and the expansion of your awareness but that’s not all. There are kriyas in kundalini yoga for every area of life. If you want to learn more, I recommend that you seek out one of the many instructions available either online or at a local class to find the right kriya for you.
The nice part is, you quickly notice how you respond more graciously to your environment after you start regularly practicing your selected kriya routines. You might say there is a kriya for everyone and for all purposes.
History of the Kundalini Shakti
The first historical record of mention is from around 1,000 B.C., wherein the Upanishads mention Kundalini Shakti. It’s described as a sacred science of energy and spirituality. The original practice of the Upanishads was to sit down and listen to the teacher while in later years the physical science was developed to express the visions of the Upanishads.
One of the more interesting historical facts is that the science of Kundalini was a deeply hidden secret known only to a secret society of Indian yoga elite for thousands of years. That’s why it’s known as Raj or Royal yoga. Then, in 1968, a holy Sikh, Yogi Bhajan arrived in the Western world from India and introduced Kundalini Yoga to the public. Now you’ll find teachers and classes anywhere you land in the United States or Canada and it continues to grow a strong following around the world.
Kundalini Philosophy of Practice
The concept of the sacred energy of creation at the base of the spine is not a new one. It was a well-known philosophy long before Buddhism or Hinduism came into being. This same belief follows through to the practice of kundalini yoga today. This practice teaches that we’re all born with an ability to be in touch with our Divine if we mindfully follow the teachings to uncoil the snake.
Furthermore, unlike many religious organizations, kundalini promotes no harsh rules or dogmas. Nor does it make the typical religious claim of being the “only” path to enlightenment. It only claims to be “one” way to help people on their journey to self-discovery. Clearly, this is a practice, not a religion which makes it a great choice for an improved lifestyle for people of any culture or belief system.
Kundalini Yoga vs. Other Yoga Practices
Kundalini yoga is an ancient form of yoga that is revered above all other yoga practices. One of the greatest reasons why it’s so honored is that it produces greater results in a shorter amount of time. Therefore, some considered it to be a more efficient system than other traditions of yoga in our world today. Additionally, other yoga practices such as Hatha or Bikram are more geared toward weight loss or physical strength while Kundalini focuses on holistic wellness, relaxation, and increased awareness.
“The main difference between kundalini yoga and other forms is a matter of time. Kundalini yoga is yoga for householders, for people who have to cope with the daily challenges and stresses of holding jobs, raising families, managing businesses. It gives results in the shortest possible time. It does not require you to leave your home, become an ascetic or sit in a cave. Kundalini Yoga is for everyone who wants the skills to cope successfully with the challenges of living in this day and age.”
Breath of Fire
Video from: BrettLarkinYoga
Benefits of the Kundalini Yoga Practice
We activate the blessings of kundalini when we practice regularly and therefore let our sacred life energy run through every part of our bodies. It clears our minds while it boosts our intrinsic life force so that we feel fully alive. There are many benefits to be derived and I’ve listed several below along with a suggested kriya to help you get your healing started. Please note that each of the benefits outlines an understood effect. However, with so many kriya combinations from which to choose, it is easy to affect more than one or many of the benefits at one time.
1. Set Your Intentions
Set your intention to a personal competency, virtue, or quality you want to develop or accomplish. Some intentions may include intentional forgiveness, removal of negative energy, a release of trauma, or simply to open yourself to new awareness. When you set an intention while you practice kundalini, it remains with you throughout your daily activities. This is one way to bring about change in your life at an intrinsic level.
2. Self-heal Your Body
Through the chants, meditations, and physical motions of this system, your body, mind, and spirit naturally come into better alignment. Of course, it follows that this spontaneously brings about better health. Additionally, you may concentrate mindfully on an area of your body to spiritually nourish and promote healing with the use of specific kriyas.
3. Sensory Awareness of Your Body
Sensory awareness of our bodies is one of the primary goals of kundalini. Often referred to as the yoga of awareness, Kundalini yoga expands our sensory awareness and intuition for consciousness awakening.
4. Repair Your Nervous System
“The main problem in the world is stress. It is not going to decrease – it is going to increase. If through Pranayam the shock can be harnessed, the entire stress and disease can be eliminated.”
– Yogi Bhajan
Our nervous system affects all functions in our bodies. You see, when we have a strong nervous system, we are better able to respond to stressful events in a positive way. Conversely, when our nervous system is weak, we tend to try to escape from our daily stresses only to find they’re still waiting for us when we return. When we choose our kriyas carefully, we strengthen our nervous system which in turn, gifts us better mental and physical well-being. We are then able to face the world with the courage to resolve even the greatest of difficulties.
5. Meridian Energy Paths
Chakras are the energy centers that flows both in and out of our physical and spiritual being as they transmit and receive energy. Meridians are the energy paths through which our life force flows. To achieve a free flow of your energy, you must clear away energy blockages in both the charkas and the meridian paths.
6. Glandular System Strength
Glands are a part of our endocrine system and affect every aspect of our bodies. Our emotions are a direct result of endocrine secretion of specific hormone codes. This is true for the entire spectrum of human emotions.
“When the endocrine system is secreting properly, it is actually very difficult—I would say impossible—to feel bad. When the endocrine system is in balance, you are in balance. You feel good. You have a connection to your infinite reality. And when you feel better, you think better and you do better!”
One exercise I repeatedly run across when searching for glandular system strength is the cold shower. There are many sources online that you may research this technique but let me give you a brief outline of dos and don’ts.
The Dos and Dont’s for Beginners:
Don’t step directly under the cold water with your whole body. Instead, take it slow and easy.
Take steps as if this were a kriya so, think of it as a process rather than jumping right into the cold water.
Start by rubbing your feet, calves, shins, and knees.
You can massage each foot with the other foot during this process.
Don’t direct cold water onto your thighs because it will unbalance the calcium-magnesium in your body.
This is also true for your sex organs – keep them away from the cold water.
Slowly move your hands, arms, and shoulders under the water while massaging them
Then, direct the stream of water to your navel, abdomen, chest, and back.
The last step is to direct the water to your eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and cheeks but not to your forehead or hair because this is quite shocking to these areas and might make you sleepy instead of waking you up.
For your first time, you only need to remain in the cold water for one or two minutes of active massaging and showering. Of course, you may increase this time up to 5 or 10 minutes.
Follow this with a Kundalini yoga and meditation to start your day.
Stress is our own inherent resistance to change. Because our lives and all environmental factors around and within us are continually in a state of change. This often brings an undesired level of stress that builds up over time. When left on our own with no help, stress breeds illnesses, short tempers, lack of energy, depression, and a whole host of other undesirable outcomes. Please note that it isn’t the experience of stress by itself that is unhealthy. Instead, it is continual stress with no relief that wears your entire system down over time.
8. Expand Your Mind and Presence
In our modern world, there are so many ways to lose our way and feel alone in a crowd with no sense of accomplishment. Most of us struggle with multi-tasking, cell phones with incessant notifications or too many work hours in a day. It really wears you down and after a time, you might find yourself in total burn out.
The remedy for this is to tune out the rest of the world and tune into yourself. Kundalini yoga is an excellent way to do this. Remember, if you don’t know or understand yourself, it’s difficult to connect with others.
As stated above, there are many tried and true kriyas developed and used for centuries through the practice of kundalini yoga. Additionally, for each of the benefits listed above, there is one or many kriyas that helps you reach your goals.
However, below you’ll find four easy exercises for beginners in this practice. When you begin, remember to take it slow and easy at first. This is not calisthenics! Therefore, there is no need to hurry to achieve anything. Simply ease into it and don’t do more than you are currently capable.
“Kundalini yoga classes are a dynamic blend of postures, pranayama, mantra, music, and meditation, which teach you the art of relaxation, self-healing, and elevation. Balancing body and mind enable you to experience the clarity and beauty of your soul. No previous experience in yoga is required for you to achieve results with your very first class.”
– Yogi Bhajan, The Aquarian Teacher
Kundalini Yoga for Beginners: Yoga Poses to Get Started
If you are a beginner, please note that it is important to relax after each exercise so that your body has time to feel the exercise fully and is ready for the next one.
1. Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
- Come into Sukhasana (Easy Pose). Bring your hands to your heart in Prayer Mudra and rub the hands together a few times.
- Settle the joints of the thumbs into the sternum, close your eyes, and tune in with the Adi Mantra: Ong Namo, Guru Dev Namo (I bow to the subtle divine wisdom, I bow to the teacher within). Sing it out loud three times.
Found on: yoga journal
2. Ego Eradicator Pose
- This exercise can be done in Easy Pose or Rock Pose. Raise the arms up to a 60-degree angle. Keep the elbows straight and the shoulders down. Apply Neck Lock. Curl the fingertips on to the pads of the palms at the base of the fingers. Thumbs are stretched back, pointing towards each other. Eyes are closed.”
- Focus above the head. Breath of Fire. Continue for 1 – 3 minutes. Inhale deeply and bring the arms overhead with the thumb tips touching. Open the fingers, exhale and relax the arms down.
Found on: 3HO.org
3. Camel Ride Pose – Spinal Flex (Ustrasana)
Video from: Spirit Voyage
- Spinal flex (also called Camel Ride) is one of the quintessential Kundalini Yoga exercises. It is most often done while in Easy (cross-legged, seated) Pose, or Rock Pose (sitting on the heels).
- Inhale as you rock the pelvis forward and push the chest forward and up. Then exhale as you round the lower back, rocking your pelvis back.
Found On: Kundalini Yoga Basics: Spinal Flex
4. The Divine Grind Pose (Sufi Grind)
Video from: Daniela Mattos Yoga
5. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- Exhale and lower the hips to the heels and forehead to the floor. Have the knees together or if more comfortable, spread the knees slightly apart.
- The arms can be overhead with the palms on the floor, the palms or fists can be stacked under the forehead, or the arms can be alongside the body with the palms up.
- Breathe slowly and deeply, actively pressing the belly against the thighs on the inhale.
- Place the palms under the shoulders and slowly inhale up to a seated position.
Found on: Yoga Basics
6. Table Top Pose (Bharmanasana)
Image from: Yoga Basics
- In this asana, the practitioner kneels on all fours. The knees are aligned under the hips, and the hands under the shoulders. The back stays flat, with the head and neck aligned with the spine.
Found on: YOGAPEDIA
7. Cat Cow Pose (Marjaryasana)
Video from: Howcast
- Place hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips. Point your fingertips to the top of your mat.
- Begin by moving into Cow Pose: Inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat. Lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the ceiling.
- Next, move into Cat Pose: As you exhale, draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. The pose should look like a cat stretching its back. Release the crown of your head toward the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest.
- Inhale, coming back into Cow Pose, and then exhale as you return to Cat Pose.
Found on: Yoga Outlet
8. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
- On your hands and knees bring your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Firm your hands down, pressing through the outer edges of the palm and the fingertips. Tuck your toes under feet (hip distance apart)
- Engage your lower belly drawing the navel back to the spine. Press the floor away from you, lift your hips back and up to push yourself back into an upside-down V pose.
Found on: Eckhart Yoga
9. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Image from: Yoga Today
- Lie on your belly, with the chin on the floor, palms flat on the floor under the shoulders and legs together.
- Pull up the kneecaps, squeeze the thighs and buttocks and press the pubic bone down into the floor.
- Without using the arms, inhale and lift the head and chest off of the floor, keeping the neck in line with the spine.
- With the elbows close to your sides, press down into the palms and use the arms to lift you up even higher. Drop the shoulders down and back and press the chest forward.
Found on: Yoga Basics
10. Cross Crawl Pose
Video from: Authentic Product Reviews
- Lie down on your back with the arms by the sides and the palms flat against the floor. On the inhale, bring the left knee to the chest and at the same time bring the right arm up and over to the ground behind you.
- Exhale into the starting position and repeat with the opposite arm and opposite leg.
- Concentrate the breath’s energy at the navel center.
Found On: A Short and Sweet Kriya
11. Stretch Pose
Image from: Spirit Voyage
- Lie flat on the back, keeping the arms and legs straight as you raise them six inches off the ground. Raise your head, and focus the eyes on the tips of the toes. Begin Breath of fire.
- Breath of Fire is an equal inhale and exhale through the nose, focusing on the EQUAL rhythm at the nostrils.
- This posture is sure to change your mood and give you a massive dose of energy throughout your whole system.
Found on: mindbodygreen
12. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Image from: Do You Yoga
- Lie down on your back. Have the arms by the sides with the palms facing up. The eyes are gently closed, and the breath is soft and normal. Have the knees up slightly for comfort, if needed. Completely relax.
Found On: A Short and Sweet Kriya