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The Quest for a Healthy, Happy Life with Kundalini Yoga

It’s Friday evening in a downtown yoga studio. An instructor sits at the front of the room, dressed in white from head to toe, eyes shut, leading the class in a deep, harmonic chant. The class echoes the song back to their instructor—and in the act of doing so, they are moving into greater awareness. This class works the mind as well as the body in a practice known as Kundalini yoga.

Kundalini yoga dates back to fifth century B.C., to its roots in India. According to the 3HO Foundation (3HO.org) it was brought to the West by Yogi Bhajan, during the counter-culture movement of the late 1960s. When Bhajan made his move to the West, it was the first time in history that the teachings and secret science of Kundalini were taught openly and freely.

The word “Kundalini” translates into English as “the curl of the lock of the beloved.” This refers to the flow of energy and consciousness that exists within each person. Kundalini is known as the yoga of awareness. The Kundalini Research Institute says that this refers to the individual consciousness becoming one with the universal consciousness, or the energy within and around us. When these two states of mindfulness unite, self-realization is obtained. The highest level of awareness is reached when our strengths and weaknesses become realized by the authentic self.

The journey of self-awareness has benefits to the body, mind and soul. Kundalini yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, is a blend of pranayama, postures, movement, music and meditation. Pranayama is a series of breathing exercises that teach relaxation and self-healing. These blends of postures and breaths are also known as kriya. When performing pranayama and kriya, one begins to harness the mental and physical energies of the body. By doing so, yogis are becoming one step closer to universal awareness.

While Kundalini yoga is focused on uplifting an individual’s energetic state of being, there are physical benefits as well. It is believed that when performing pranayama and kriya, the nervous and glandular systems are stimulated, initiating a release of hormones and calcium into the body. This release of hormones may also produce a burst of heightened creativity.

Students of these teachings believe that the path to the universal self is not one that happens overnight, or even after a few classes. Kundalini is viewed as a lifestyle that allows the soul to radiate throughout life. It is not just yoga and meditation; the benefits are multifaceted and can bring enhanced personal awareness to business and family relationships and communication.

Jaimie Watts is a recent graduate from Arizona State University, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in English Studies. In her free time, you can find her writing and hanging out with her cats. Contact her at JaimieLWatts@gmail.com or BooksLaughsTravels.com.

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