Here's How Kundalini Yoga Can Help You Get Unstuck
I’m not one for prescriptive attitudes like “you need to do this!” or “you need to do that!” It’s definitely not my style. That kinda talk makes me cringe a little bit (ok, a lotta bit.)
So take today’s post as just a suggestion, not a prescription. Yoga isn’t for everybody! I totally get that. But from time to time we all may find ourselves in moments where we feel stuck mentally, emotionally, or physically.
Yoga can help reopen that flow of energy to get us unstuck.
I look forward to my yoga and meditation practice so much (almost as much as my morning coffee) that I just have to share what it’s done to help me in my life, work, and beyond.
My favorite beginner’s Kundalini yoga class is shared at the bottom of this post! It’s only 30 minutes, give it a try!
Enter: Kundalini Yoga
Most peeps are familiar with a vinyasa or hatha yoga practice. These are the more mainstream types of yoga styles that feature postures like downdog, chaturanga, and the warrior sets. But there are many different styles of yoga.
Kundalini yoga is a very old (no one really knows how old) style of yoga more often called the “Yoga of Awareness.” It encompasses repetitive movements, or kriyas, meant to target your conscious awareness and align you with your higher self.
What did I learn in my first class, you ask? That this is style of yoga is not for sissies. The chanting, breathwork, and level of difficulty had me thinking this style was definitely not for me.
To put it lightly, I also thought Kundalini yoga was really strange.
This style pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I couldn’t deny that after that first class I felt so much more physically and mentally tough than when I went in.
So What are These Kriyas?
A kriya, or set of repetitive movements, is meant to help an individual align with a specific goal, or a specific aspect of themselves.
One kriya may be good for enhancing energy, while another is good for relaxation, and so on and so forth. However, I believe that the outcome of a practice is always up to the intention put behind it and for each individual to discern for themselves.
Kriyas are the pillars of a Kundalini yoga practice. This style of yoga was brought to the western culture in the 1960’s through Yogi Bhajan, a popular and successful guru who brought these teachings from his eastern homeland out to the west.
We as a culture soaked up these teachings because, well a.) it was the 60’s, lol… and b.) these teachings had never been shared with outside cultures ever. Even today, it’s clear that this style of yoga is just a relevant today as it was thousands of years ago.
The objective is decentralized and selfless - help people actualize their Higher Self. Kundalini does not claim to be the way; it is simply a way, one tool on each individual's journey to personal discovery. Going to a class today feels so fresh, relevant and forward thinking, you would think it was a hybrid Eastern-Western concept developed specifically for the 21st Century.
Introduction to Kundalini: The Yoga of Awareness, Huffington Post
Is Kundalini Yoga Scary or Dangerous?
This is a common worry, and I too once had a healthy level of skepticism around the reasonings behind this practice.
This style of yoga is known as being a way to awaken an energy center that lives at the base of the spine (or the root chakra), often depicted in ancient illustrations as a coiled serpent that when uncoiled, awakens the consciousness of the individual.
Yeah, not the most pleasant sounding explanation, huh?
There are some individuals out there (who in my opinion approach this with misguided intentions) who attribute this form of yoga with providing the ability to awaken some sort of “mystical dormant power” within them, and to be quite honest, to me that is total hogwash.
The whole point of a yoga practice is connecting with the peace that resides within.
So when taken into account that the practice is about self reflection, discipline, and focus - and when used correctly and with a healthy intention (don’t put Kundalini yoga, or any type of yoga or guru, up on a pedestal, aight?) this practice can be safe and beneficial.
My biggest piece of advice with this if you’re feeling uncomfortable is just like with anything else, follow your intuition.
What Are the Benefits?
Well, besides having rock-hard shoulders and killer breath-of-fire abs, the benefits of Kundalini yoga stretch further into the mental territory like no other yoga practice I’ve tried.
Many kriyas in a typical Kundalini yoga class involve repeating the motion for 3 minutes or sometimes even 11 minutes at a time!
This style of yoga has the potential to challenge your comfort zone and strengthen your mental state like nothing else.
Plus, Kundalini yoga aims to target the energy meridians of the body. If you’re familiar with Chinese medicine, you may have heard of these points or lines before.
Have you ever been to the chiropractor, masseuse, accupressurist, or pedicurist and felt incredible afterward? Energy was flowin’, my friend! These meridians are similar to chakra points as well. They’re like energetic highways and points of strength in the body.
My point here is that while sometimes Kundalini movements may at first seem like “Why is this a thing?” it’s because the movements are targeted to work on the subtle energetic level below the surface, so not necessarily the quick muscle movements that a traditional workout class would target. It’s all about getting energy to flow.
Enhancing Resilience & Mental Toughness
If you’re having trouble with feeling stuck, staying mentally tough, or feeling resilient in your life or work schedule long enough to believe in yourself or stay in a stable emotional place for even a full day straight, this yoga style can definitely help.
The reason Kundalini yoga is so effective with this is because it gently brings you to the edge of your comfort zone and allows you to face off with it.
It’s also gentle, because it’s just you and your mat, your body, and your mind. It’s not moving one step forward and then four steps back. It’s not terrifying, there’s not someone pushing you to the edge of a cliff and yelling, “Jump!”
These kriyas bring you to a safe place where you can face off with your limits and surpass them.
After incorporating a regular Kundalini meditation practice, I quickly became way less swayed by small disturbances, mood fluctuations, or perceived setbacks. I don’t find myself riding the emotional see-saw of “Everything is great!” then suddenly “This is all shit!” like I used to.
That rollercoaster of self doubt used to be debilitating.
Every now and then I might step onto my mat with anxieties and doubts, but when I leave my mat I always come away with clarity of mind, inspiration, and a level of energy that no level of caffeine has never been able to replicate.
Letting the Creativity Flow
If the creative faucets are squeaky dry, sometimes just getting rooted into your body is all it takes to flow those faucets again. In addition to finding a kriya that’s super magnetic and right for you, a Kundalini yoga practice can absolutely be the tonic needed to open the floodgates.
Afraid to speak up, share your voice, or otherwise be the creative tornado of awesomeness that you want to be?
Just the act of chanting the opening mantras can help you surpass a fear of sharing your voice and help strengthen those skills of speaking openly so you can confidently express yourself. Sometimes just getting started is the hardest part, and the opening mantras can help with this.
“When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off.”
In addition to allowing that creativity to flow, this can also lead to creative ideas that allow more abundance to flow into your life. If you’re seeing your level of abundance crawl to a halt, instead of panic, take a moment and hit the mat. It could be that your next idea on how to get out of that rut is just one breath away. You can always panic later. :)
Protecting Your Back, Shoulders, and Neck
A lot of Kundalini kriyas are done sitting down. Because of the long-held repetitive motions of some of these kriyas which may include twists or flexions, these motions bring more fluidity and movement to areas of the spine, shoulders, and neck that tend to go unaddressed when we sit at our desks all day.
If you want to experience this, I’ve included my favorite Kundalini beginner video at the bottom of this article which includes some great flowing kriyas that have helped my back, neck, and shoulders so much.
You Are Your Own Guru
I like to look at my Kundalini yoga practice with reverence because I take this time during my mediations to connect with my higher self, God, and the Earth. I don’t look at a yoga practice of any kind (or anything else) as something that could ever take the place of those things.
Yoga is simply a tool, like drinking fresh water or eating clean, that has the potential to align us with the goodness that’s already within.
If you’re feeling stuck, the answer may not be some other teaching, tool, course, or book - it’s you.
Kundalini yoga teaches us that we are our own gurus.
And I believe that when we are able to stand firm within ourselves, when we deeply know who we are, our values, and purpose, when we set healthy boundaries and when we are not easily swayed by the opinions of others, then we are able to be a vessel for our highest light and for God to work through us.
Is Kundalini yoga needed for this to happen? Of course not. But just like a beautiful piece of music, a hug from a loved one, or an encouraging word when we need it most, it’s one of the many tools that helps us be uplifted on our journey.
(No, it’s not me in the video! Brett Larkin is one of my favorite yoga teachers of all time and her Kundalini Class for Beginner’s is the class I recommend to get started on your Kundalini journey because it is such a great introduction to the practice. She’ll walk you through the opening mantras, the breath of fire, and more. Get ready to feel invigorated and refreshed!)
“Love is the ultimate state of human being where compassion prevails and kindness rules.”