Imagine a female serpent resting at the base of your spine, lethargic but coiled, coursing with potential primal energy. The goal of Kundalini yoga is to rouse this slumbering serpent, moving her through the chakras of the spine to the crown, releasing energy through the body and helping you achieve all sorts of sublime results — like spiritual growth, enlightenment and bliss, unleashed creativity and realization of life’s purpose. Not bad, huh? If you’re still not convinced to stop everything and look up a class near you, here are 5 more reasons you should try Kundalini yoga.
1. YOU’LL REFINE YOUR MANTRA MUSCLES.
Mantras are a key part of Kundalini yoga. While your instructor will surely talk you through the mantras of any given class, it wouldn’t hurt to get to know several great ones ahead of time. Kathryn E. Livingston has compiled a lovely list of ten powerful Kundalini mantras to start with. Read their meaning, practice them, understand them.
2. BREATHING WILL TAKE ON A WHOLE NEW MEANING.
Talk to anybody who has attended a Kundalini class and, although every class is unique, you’ll hear descriptions of lengthy, focused sessions of panting, long deep diaphragm breathing and Agni-Prasana. Agni-Prasana is also known as Breath of Fire and involves pulling air in and pumping it out while remaining completely relaxed through the abdomen, chest, rib cage and shoulders.
3. YOU MIGHT EXPRESS A GLOW THAT CHANGES SOMEBODY ELSE’S LIFE.
In John Selby’s book, Kundalini Awakening: A Gentle Guide to Chakra Activation and Spiritual Growth, he describes being a college kid living a typical college life when he walked in on a friend’s sister practicing Kundalini. “I’d never before encountered a real live person fully immersed in such a potent state of inner reflection,” Selby writes. “She seemed to be almost visibly broadcasting some sort of inner spiritual peace and energy.” Fast forward a few years and he’s a changed person, committed to Kundalini and eventually writing a book so others could share in his extraordinary understanding.
4. YOU’LL GET TO EXPERIENCE SOME FASCINATING SIDE EFFECTS.
Definitions vary regarding what constitutes a Kundalini Awakening, and some thought leaders have broken it into different phases — like in this in-depth and evocative piece by Mary Shutan that discusses the difficulties of the first phase and the elusive nature of phases two and three. For a less esoteric look at some potential effects of a Kundalini Awakening, Kay Ireland tells us to expect tingling, temperature change, pinched nerves, bursts of energy, back pain and — perhaps the most surprising — spontaneous, effortless movement into other yoga poses.
5. YOU WILL HAVE BRILLIANT REASON TO WEAR LOTS OF FLOWY WHITES.
When you walk into a Kundalini yoga class, the first thing you might notice is that everyone (well, everyone who has been there before) is wearing white. Yogi Bhajan, the man who brought Kundalini to the western world in 1968 and founder of the Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization (3HO), espoused the many benefits — to the self and to others — of wearing white, including these:
You’ll expand your auric radiance by at least one foot.
You’ll exercise awareness, as keeping whites clean require a certain carefulness of conduct.
Your white clothing will reflect what’s going on inside you and in the world around you.
In fact, whether you’re attending a class or just starting to learn about Kundalini yoga, try draping yourself in some white and see how you — and the world — respond.
And if you are trying Kundalini yoga for the first time or you’ve been practicing it for years, we’d love to hear about your experience!