Although Kundalini yoga has only been available in the West for a few years, the practice is much older than that and it includes the tenet of chanting. Yogi Bhajan brought Kundalini yoga to the west in 1969 when he founded the 3HO (healthy, happy, holy) organization to introduce the practice to the public. Kundalini, which means "awareness," had not been taught to the public, but Yogi Bhajan believed everyone should benefit from it.
Kundalini taps the energy at the base of your spine and draws it up to awaken each of the seven chakras. You have achieved full enlightenment when the energy reaches to top of your head (the crown chakra). Kundalini uses breathing exercises, meditation, which include mantras and mudras (hand poses), chanting throughout, poses, and sometimes periods of silence.
What to Expect at a Kundalini Yoga Class
You will begin your Kundalini class with a chant after which you will engage in some warm-ups to stretch your spine and increase flexibility. Next comes the main part or kriya, where your instructor will lead you through a set of poses and breathing. The poses usually focus on one area of your body and your instructor probably won't adjust your poses. A period of meditation concludes the class. During meditation, you will focus your eyes on a certain spot, hold your hands in certain positions (mudras), and use a specific posture. You may hear a gong and there may be a closing song.
Kundalini Yoga Benefits
Kundalini differs from other yoga styles because of its power. It is efficient and effective so the changes you want to happen in your life can occur faster than with other yoga styles.
Yogi Bhajan's classes use mantra throughout the practice as an effective method to achieve self-expansion and spiritual elevation. A new awareness of the power of words is one of the first signs of "awakening."
Kundalini's benefits are more internal than external, and can be profound. Along with the benefits you receive from getting more exercise, the practice stimulates your body so that you become "healthy, happy, and holy" in your mind, body, and spirit. The ultimate goal of Kundalini is for you to find and understand your highest destiny.