Kundalini is a type of yoga that uses the combination of deep breaths with certain postures, or asanas, to stimulate your physical and mental awareness and bring your consciousness to new heights. Kundalini practice uses various asanas to awaken the body’s life force and bring this vital energy through each of the body’s seven chakras, activating each one. Ultimately the Kundalini practitioner develops the ability to activate all seven chakras, enabling them to open the sixth chakra, or the Third Eye Chakra. In Kundalini yoga, the life force is depicted as two sleeping snakes coiled around the base of the spine. When the life force is activated, the snakes circle up the spine toward the Third Eye. Intriguingly, this imagery is shared with the Western symbol of two snakes circling up a pole, commonly used on ambulances to represent medicine and health.
The true practice of Kundalini yoga can be surprisingly difficult for practitioners. It is a mystical journey that can only be achieved with great mental clarity. The final achievement of the opening of the third eye is commonly described as a spiritual awakening or enlightenment. It is the merging of the individual consciousness with the universal consciousness. The path toward attaining this state of opened consciousness can be a winding one. Each chakra deals with a unique aspect of the psyche, like confidence, sexuality, expression, and spirituality. In the practice of Kundalini, the practitioner is confronted with their own mental walls and insecurities as they work their way through the chakras. To finally attain the goal of opening the Third Eye Chakra, they must overcome any barriers or blocks they have in their mind, opening their mind, body, and spirit to the universe completely.
How to Open the 7 Chakras
Located at: Base of spine, tailbone
Deals with: Foundation, feeling grounded, survival issues, including money and food
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, or Bridge Pose – Lay flat on your back with arms at your sides. Bend knees and press your feet into the earth, lifting hips toward the sky. Bring your hands beneath you and link fingers together, rolling your shoulders underneath. Lift chest toward your chin, creating a slight backbend with your spine. Breathe and relax into the position, feeling your spine lifting upward. When coming down, first release your hands then slowly lower your hips to the ground, keeping knees bent. Finally unbend your knees and relax, flat on your back.
Svadisthana, or Sacral Chakra
Located at: Inside the lower abdomen, just below navel
Deals with: Connections with others, new experiences, pleasure, sexuality, feelings of well-being, inner child
Bhujangasana, or Cobra Pose – Lay flat on your stomach. Hands should be pressed onto the ground to either side of your shoulders. Press down with your hands into the ground, lifting your head and upper torso, keeping elbows pressed against your sides. Arch your spine backward, tilting your head back gently. The tailbone, pelvis, and legs should be pressed firmly against the ground. Stay and breathe, feeling your chest open and spine and stomach stretch. Finally lower yourself back down slowly onto your stomach.
Manipura, or Solar Plexus Chakra
Located at: The solar plexus – above the navel, right below the ribs
Deals with: Confidence, self-control, self-esteem, willpower
Dhanurasana, or Bow Pose – Lay flat on your stomach, arms by your sides. Lift your feet upward behind you, bringing them down to your buttocks. Grab hold of your ankles with your hands. Press your legs upward while holding onto your ankles, bringing your shoulders and upper torso off the ground. Arch your spine into the stretch, pulling back with your feet and tilting your head gently upward. Breathe deeply and find your balance, pulling back with your feet and up with spine. Make sure to keep your shoulders relaxed. Finally, lower your feet slowly back toward your buttocks, lowering your torso to the ground. Release your feet, letting your legs rest flat, and rest and breathe.
Anahata, or Heart Chakra
Located at: The center of the breastbone, just above your heart
Deals with: Love, joy, healing, inner peace, link between the body and the spirit
Ustrasana, or Camel Pose – Kneel on the ground with legs spread shoulder-width apart. Gently reach backward with your hands and rest hands on the heels of your feet. Keep your legs and pelvis pressed forward while bending your spine back, tilting your head backward. Raise your chest to the sun. Relax in this position, breathing deeply. Finally, let go of your heels and pull your torso forward to the original kneeling position.
Visuddha, or Throat Chakra
Located at: The throat
Deals with: Communication, self-expression, truth
Matsyasana, or Fish Pose – Lie flat on your back with arms at your sides. Slowly rise onto your elbows, keeping them tucked in closely to the body and letting your upper torso relax backward into a bend. Let your head fall backward, with your neck continuing the backward arch of your spine. Press shoulders outward – don’t let them hunch inward. Your pelvis and buttocks should remain firmly pressed against the ground. Relax backward and breathe. Finally, lower yourself back to the ground.
Ajna, or Brow Chakra, or Third Eye Chakra
Located at: Between the eyes
Deals with: Intuition, wisdom, imagination, decision-making, learning, perspective
Seated Yoga Mudra – Sit on your heels, back straight. Join your fingers together behind you and pull down, rolling your shoulders back, bringing your shoulder blades together, and opening your chest. Keeping your spine straight, bend forward, until you can press your forehead to the ground. Lift your arms behind you to the sky, keeping shoulders, back, and arms straight. Breathe. Finally, slowly lower arms and come back up to sitting on your heels.
Sahasrara, or Crown Chakra
Located at: The top of the head
Deals with: Connection to spirituality, bliss, the universe, inner and outer beauty
Return to Seated Yoga Mudra. Next, lift your buttocks, coming onto your knees, and rolling your head forward so the top of your head is pressed to the ground instead of your forehead. Keep stretching your hands backward overhead. Breathe and hold this pose, then slowly release.
One of our very own Green Apple Advocates is a professional teacher for Kundalini yoga. While it wasn’t her first form of yoga, Kia Miller fell in love with Kundalini yoga and has been practicing it for years now. She’s graciously agreed to tell us about it, so we can hear straight from an experienced practitioner!
Sound interesting? Check out the video here and let us know if any of you are thinking of trying Kundalini yoga in the comments!