In a lot of ways, our yoga reflects who we are as a person. My practice is eclectic and depends very much on how I’m feeling that day and what I feel can most benefit my wellbeing.
One day, I might only explore restorative postures, like an extended Savasana and Legs Up the Wall. Other days, I might intentionally increase my heart rate with a Vinyasa flow, moving vigorously between Plank and Downward Dog. While I do love the physical benefits of my practice, I turn to the tenets of Kundalini yoga to investigate some more esoteric experiences.
Kundalini ignites my inner star child, the part of me that loves astrology, meditation, philosophy, and chakras. I also love how Kundalini identifies kriyas, or practices, that a student can focus on to deal with a specific issue. Depressed? There’s a kriya for that. Have an addiction you can’t kick. Try the addiction kriya. Want to increase your success? This article will point you in the right direction for some very specific strategies.
What is Kundalini Yoga?
Like any other type of yoga, you’ll get a different answer depending on who you ask. For me, Kundalini yoga is related to the belief that there is a coiled energy at the base of our spine, known in the ancient teachings as the Kundalini. Some believe that it takes the form of a coiled serpent.
When our chakras (the seven energy centers positioned from the base of the spine to the crown of the head) align, our Kundalini energy releases, moving up our spine and allowing us to use this energy in our daily lives.
My interpretation of this is that when we commit to our practice, we can access our highest selves. While I think that all styles of yoga can bring about this shift, there are some that consider Kundalini yoga the “fast-track” to achieving this type of transformation.
Benefits of Kundalini Yoga
You will often hear Kundalini yogis refer to their practice as a technology, not a religion. By that, they are emphasizing that while Kundalini yoga can sound really “out there,” its goal is to help you live a happy life.
When you practice it, you don’t just come to your mat to see what happens; rather, you practice with a specific intention and goal. It’s very targeted and helps to focus a wandering mind with a variety of strategies including pranayama, mudras (hand gestures), and various types of eye focuses.
Increasing Your Success with Mudras and Mantras
While it’s beyond the scope of this article to review all possible ways that Kundalini yoga can change your life, below are a few simple practices that you can get started with today. Again, there are kriyas for almost every life challenge you might face. Today, let’s focus on the goal of increasing your success.
1. Gyan Mudra
Kundalini teaches that each of our fingers is connected to a specific planet. Our forefinger, or pointer finger, is also called the Jupiter finger. Jupiter is believed to represent the energy of expansion in the universe. Success and expansion often go hand in hand.
Let’s say you’re a yoga teacher and you want to gain more teaching opportunities this year. Gyan mudra would be a great practice to help you expand your offerings.
To begin, find a comfortable seated position where your spine is in its natural curves and your hips are stable and supported. Uses blankets, props, or a chair as needed. Allow the tip of your forefinger to meet the tips of your thumb on both hands. Rest the back of your hand on your lap or knees.
If you want an even more active expression of this mudra, you can place the tip of the forefinger under your thumb and press these two together. Breathe deeply for about five minutes, visualizing your goal manifesting in the very near future. Feel the energy of expansion surrounding you.
2. Sat Nam Mantra
Sat Nam means truth, true self, or true name. You’ll be elongating the syllables so it will sound like Sa-Ta-Na-Ma. Consider how the highest form of success is sharing your true self with the world. Where are you hiding in your life? Where are you presenting a false self? This mantra can help clear out those blockages.
Begin in a comfortable, seated position. You will touch your thumb, in order, repeatedly, to your forefinger, middle finger, ring finger, and pinky. Then you’ll return back to the pointer finger and repeat. You’ll repeat the mantra, out loud, with each tap of your fingers. So your forefinger is Sa, the middle finger is Ta, the ring finger is Na, and the pinky finger is Ma.
There are quite extensive versions of this practice, but I like to keep it simple. I’ll begin tapping my fingers and whispering the mantra. With each round, I increase my volume until my voice is clear and strong. “Sa! Ta! Na! Ma!” I’ll stay at this volume for a few rounds and then gradually decrease the volume until I’m back to a whisper.
Finally, conclude with a few rounds of repeating the mantra silently.
3. Circling Your Psyche Kriya for Prosperity, Fulfillment, & Success
Here’s an awesome 11-minute kriya that was originally taught by Yogi Bhajan. Remember that Jupiter energy we talked about before? In this practice, you’ll circle the Jupiter finger round and round, while chanting, “Har, Haray, Haree.”
This is where Kundalini really works its magic and reveals itself as unique from other styles of yoga. Circling your fingers and chanting is not exactly a yoga posture; it’s a technology you can use to activate your energy.
While this type of practice might feel strange at first, give it a try and see how it feels. If you’re new to Kundalini, start with about 60 seconds and build from there.
Yoga teaches us that there is no substitute for direct experience; we are asked to take nothing on faith. Give these three practices a try, explore other resources on Kundalini, like this great piece on DYY, and see if it has a place in your practice. With a clear heart and open mind, success in Kundalini and in the rest of your life is inevitable.
Image credit: Alissa