Kundalini Yoga 101

What is Kundalini?

Kundalini is a primal energy that we are all born with. It is located at the base of the spine and is a transformative energy that we can all learn to activate and when awakened it can expand your awareness, promote both physical and emotional wellbeing, and inspire you to achieve excellence.

Kundalini Yoga works directly with the Kundalini energy and combines asana (physical postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), movement, stretching, mantra (sacred sounds), mudra (hand positions) and relaxation.

The combination of these components create exercises, kriyas (sets) and meditations to stimulate the glandular system, strengthen the nervous system, expand the lung capacity and purify the blood. 

Who Started it:

Kundalini Yoga emerged from the meditative practices of ancient Hindu India, possibly as long as 4,000 years ago, and was brought to the West from India by Yogi Bhajan in the 1960s.

Why it’s good for you:

Practicing Kundalini yoga keeps the body in shape and trains the mind to be strong and flexible in the face of stress and change. It increases oxygen and blood flow, balances the glandular system, strengthens the nervous system, and reduces stress-induced toxins such as adrenaline and cortisol, which is beneficial when trying to navigate life in this accelerated and fast-paced world. The beauty of Kundalini yoga is that you can experience the benefits in a very short time.

A regular practice will help you feel happier, healthier, more energised, and be more creative, productive and relaxed.

Kundalini has a vast repertoire of Kriyas and Meditations that also target problem areas in your everyday life, such as fear, depression, anxiety, fatigue, anger, break-ups, loneliness and sadness.

Research is now showing the benefits of Kundalini’s powerful and breath-controlled meditations for treating a range of health complaints from depression and anxiety related disorders to heart problems and memory lapses. The US Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation prescribes one of Kundalini’s Kriyas – the Kirtan Kriya – as a way to improve brain function, emotional balance, focus and memory.

What can you expect when practicing Kundalini?

Everyone’s experience of Kundalini will be different, however let me share mine. For most of my career I have performed around the world as a professional opera singer, and had practiced yoga as a tool to keep calm and centred, but my first experience of Kundalini yoga took me way beyond the benefits of the type of yoga I had been practicing up to that point.

I was on a yoga retreat in Mexico, burnt out from a busy schedule of singing and touring, and took my first Kundalini Yoga class. Deep down I was searching for some inner peace, balance and a greater sense of connectedness. My first encounter with Kundalini was a very powerful one and I realised during that first class that I had found what I was looking for.

The beauty of Kundalini is that it takes you away from the chatter of daily life to a place where you can experience real freedom and stillness, opening your mind to inspiration, excitement and new possibilities. Once we awaken Kundalini energy, we raise our energetic vibration to release stress and allow our mind to come back to peace and balance.

Top tips for making Kundalini an “everyday” practice.

Kundalini is very accessible and doable, even if you have a busy life. Start slow, find an exercise that resonates with you, whether that is with breath, mantra or movement and commit to at least 5 minutes a day. A meditation is a good place to start and Kirtan Kriya (page 130 of my book, ‘Everyday Kundalini’ ) is a simple and effective meditation. If you can find a class nearby to where you live, this will inspire you to keep up with your daily practice.

How has Kundalini impacted your life in a positive way?

Kundalini Yoga has benefited me in so many ways. I am calmer, happier, more energised and more creative. A regular Kundalini yoga practice has opened up all sorts of new opportunities for me, and truly transformed my life and especially my relationships.

My daily Kundalini Yoga and Meditation practice prompted me to open a yoga studio, supported me in my performing career and encouraged me to use my voice in a different way and produce mantra CD’s. Kundalini helps me keep up with my 3 year old daughter and inspired me to write a book about Kundalini, which has been published by Watkins under the title Everyday Kundalini.