Even though I’ve been practicing yoga for over a decade, I only heard about Kundalini Yoga in the last year or two. It seemed to be on the periphery; it wasn’t mentioned or offered in a standard gym or studio class. But as I dove deeper and deeper into the spiritual and yoga worlds, I kept running across Kundalini Yoga. People swore by its transformative power. My interest was piqued.
However, watching a few videos online of people practicing Kundalini kriyas, it seemed… out there. Plus, at the time Yoga Tree wasn’t offering any Kundalini classes, so it seemed like a risk I didn’t want to take trying out an unknown studio with this exotic (to me) style of yoga.
When Yoga Tree opened its Potrero Hill location, it also started offering Kundalini classes with Eva Monova. I went the first week it was offered, and it was indeed different. But different in a good way. It definitely wasn’t a sweaty vinyasa class, but I still felt like my energy had shifted through the practice.
Interview with Eva Monova (Part 1)
What is Kundalini yoga?
Kundalini Yoga is the yoga of awareness and transformation. It activates the life force within, stimulates the glandular system and strengthens the nervous and immune systems. Kundalini Yoga not only activates the kundalini but it prepares the body, mind and spirit so it can receive and contain the energy, and brings the system back into harmony.
In the Eastern tradition Kundalini is honored as a the Goddess Shakti – the Divine feminine. It is usually represented as a coiled up serpent at the base of the spine. As the Kundalini Shakti rises up the spine it awakens and empowers each chakra. The symbolic representation of the spiraling serpent is the revelation of our true potential our own creative energy and as the snake sheds its own skin so we come to realize and rejuvenate ourselves.
The caduceus is one of the most ancient symbols. It is also know as the DNA spiral and healing used by the medical profession. The caduceus represents two serpents – (the central nadis Ida and Pingala) intertwined around the central pillar (the spinal column – Sushumna) with the wings on either side (the two hemispheres of the brain) with the circle in the center representing the master gland – pineal gland. It also symbolizes the kundalini energy – awaking the light codings in our cells and DNA.
How is a Kundalini yoga class different from a Hatha or Vinyasa yoga class?
Awakening the Kundalini Shakti is fundamental to all yoga practices and traditions including Hatha Yoga. The focus of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan is on the personal experience and awareness through the practice of kriya.
Kriya means movement, action that leads to a complete manifestation. Kundalini kriya is a combination of asanas, sound, pranayama, mudras, concentration, meditation and deep relaxation. The practice and repetition is of each kriya provides steady and rapid results, sustainable, personal growth and healing.
Mastering a kriya brings with it power, and the ability to complete things and change of consciousness.
What is a Kundalini yoga class like?
An understanding of the chakras of the body, and how the practice of kriyas, pranayama, meditation effects them is perhaps the most encompassing explanation of Kundalini Yoga. The class is a sequence of asana, movement, pranayama, bhandas, mudras, mantras, sound vibration, meditation and deep relaxation.
Kundalini Yoga Class:
- Tune in – In easy pose with mantra “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo”
- Warm up – Breathing techniques, Sun Salutes – to get the prana flowing.
- The Kriya – The specific sequence – working with a particular chakra, area of the body for a specific effects.
- Meditation – It is a necessary compliment to physical yoga exercise. The exercises in the kriya bring the body and mind to a state where deep meditation is easily achieved.
- Relaxation – Deep relaxation that allows the body to rest, rejuvenate integrating and settling all the systems.
- Tune out – Singing the song “Long Time Sun”
If it’s my first time, what should I expect? (during and after class) What do I need to know before hand? What should I wear?
In Kundalini class the breathing is through the nose unless otherwise stated. The focus of the eyes and the attention (Drishti) is on the third eye (the brow point). Drishti is the specific focal point where the gaze rests during asana and meditation.
It is important to practice on an empty stomach and not to have had any alcohol, drugs or stimulants. Make teacher aware if any injury, condition, pain, if pregnant or any concern you may have.
Want to experience Kundalini yourself?
Yoga Tree is hosting the venerable Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa (Founder of Golden Bridge Yoga) & Gurushabd Singe Khalsa at Yoga Tree Mission and Castro again this August.
- KUNDALINI YOGA KRIYAS & MEDITATIONS: The Way of the Spiritual Warrior
(Friday, 8/22 from 9am – 5pm at Mission): We live in a global community, and feel each other as never before. That sensitivity brings a responsibility to step up and find our inner strength, for the sake of ourselves as well as others. We have been told by many teachers and guides that times will get rough at the dawning of the Aquarian Age. Now is the time to develop the strength, courage, and wisdom to sail over any chaos.
- KUNDALINI YOGA: ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
(Saturday, 8/23 from 1:15pm – 4:15pm at Castro): To live in a mental magnitude that supports your Soul’s mission requires two things: Gratitude and then more Gratitude. What is the secret behind Gratitude? Living Humbly. To be Humble has no fall. The sole purpose of this life is to live with your Soul. If you are living and projecting from the depth of your Soul, nothing can disturb you.
- KUNDALINI YOGA: MAGNIFICENT GRACE
(Sunday, 8/24 from 1:15pm – 4:15pm at Castro): Grace is untouchable. When we open to the understanding of true Grace, we are kissed by God. We have grown complacent in the use and misuse of Inner Power. Power is an energy much like Grace; however, Grace is our true inheritance in consciousness.
For more information and to register, click here.