Kundalini Yoga and Meditation (as taught by Yogi Bhajan)
“In Kundalini Yoga the most important thing is your experience. It goes right to your heart. No words can replace your experience. Your mind may accept the words or it may not, but your consciousness will not accept just words.” Yogi Bhajan
Kundalini Yoga is a yoga for householders, for people who have to cope with the daily challenges and stresses of holding jobs, raising families, and managing businesses. It is for everyone who wants the skills to cope successfully with the challenges of living in this day and age.
The basics of Kundalini yoga are asanas, mudras, bandhas (energy locks), and mantras (sound currents). The classes are a blend of postures that are either repetitive or held for a specific amount of time, and supported with pranayama, mantras and meditations. No previous experience in yoga is required to achieve results from the very first class, and it is suitable for students of all levels. The Kundalini energy, which lies dormant at the base of the spine, is the life force of the universe. Awakened, it is creation in motion. Through the use of breath, movement and sound we can indeed awaken this powerful energy within and the benefits of Kundalini are plentiful. It strengthens all of the internal body systems – glandular system, nervous system, lymphatic and digestive system as well as balancing all the chakras. It is healing, mentally and physically, and provides an immense sense of wellbeing, openness and aliveness. It strengthens core energy, focus and concentration capacities, and can successfully tackle resistance to letting go of old habits that no longer serve you. Your entire being will be more balanced, helping you to communicate more effectively and to make the right choices in your life, opening yourself up to constant progress and true happiness.
There are thousands of Kriyas, for example to balance and strengthen the nervous system, to detox your kidneys, for disease resistance, to heal your spine, to open your heart – the list is limitless and this is what makes this science so fascinating. Once you step in, you realize this ocean is endless, bountiful and blissful. And it is challenging you – the deep spirituality that lies at the core of its teachings will guide and support you – to open yourself up to your creativity and power, facing the challenges of your life with joy, strength and love. Kundalini yoga is not an exercise – it is an experience – giving you the experience of your true Self – this is why it is called the ‘Yoga of Awareness’.
Hatha yoga refers to a set of physical exercises known as asanas, designed to align your skin, muscles, and bones. The postures are designed to open the many channels of the body especially the main channel, the spine so that energy can flow freely.
Hatha is also translated as ha meaning “sun” and tha meaning “moon.” This refers to the balance of masculine aspects active, hot, sun and feminine aspects—receptive, cool, moon within all of us. Hatha yoga is a path toward creating balance and uniting opposites.
In our physical bodies we develop a balance of strength and flexibility. We also learn to balance our effort and surrender in each pose.
Hatha yoga is a powerful tool for self-transformation. It asks us to bring our attention to our breath, which helps us to still the fluctuations of the mind and be more present in the unfolding of each moment.
Vinyasa yoga is a discipline that utilizes postures and breathing techniques. This form of yoga offers a range of health benefits to those who practice it, as it encompasses all areas of mind, body and spirit
Derived from hatha yoga, Vinyasa yoga differs in some important ways from its predecessor. Vinyassa yoga is often faster paced, and the assanas (postures) are linked together in a series of movements that are synchronized with the breath. Much emphasis is placed on the breath and the transition in and out of the assanas. Generally speaking, upward movements correlate with inhalations of the breath, and downward movements with exhalations.
The continual movements, from one pose to another, gives you an added cardiovascular benefit, which more traditional forms of yoga do not have. The routine practice of vinyasa yoga can increase muscle strength, endurance and flexibility, and reduce levels of stress.
Vinyasa yoga offers much diversity. The pace can vary and there is no one particular sequence that instructors must follow. In fact, the name vinyasa is a Sanskrit word that translates as “variations within parameters.” This flexibility allows the teacher to tailor the sequences to their own philosophy. So, if one class doesn’t work for you, try another, until you find one that you are comfortable with.
Yin yoga practice is a slow, deep practice affecting the connective tissues of the body. A Yin Practice benefits the physical body by freeing up the tight connective tissue capsules that form around the muscles and joints. As the body ages this tightening increases creating limited mobility. The moisture that keeps the joints lubricated begins to dry up and the body takes on a brittle quality often associated with old age. This physical aging is not just due to natural aging but lack of addressing the tissues that are responsible for maintain the agility of the joints. When people say Yoga Keeps you young, they are referring to the suppleness of the joints and whole body due to the moisture stimulating stretches of a practice. Yin Yoga aims to work on this directly.
The psychological and emotional benefits of a Yin Practice are enormously healing for the entire well being of a person. The long holds in a single still Yin posture becomes a time of inner reflection, meditation and peace. The nervous system is calmed, the mind stilled, and in this state the body returns to its natural healthy rhythm.
Yin Yoga postures have a positive effect on the “Life Force” or Chi flowing through the meridian systems of the entire body. These meridian pathways run through the connective tissues of the body, So when we stimulate the deep connective tissues in a Yin Yoga practice, we positively affect the flow of Life Force or CHI. This is another reason why the practice has such healing benefits.Lighthouse
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