Kundalini Yoga Postures: Awakening the Power Within
Kundalini yoga is one of the more spiritual forms of yoga. While it uses the poses of classical yoga, it also places great emphasis on breathing, meditation, mudras or hand gestures such as bringing the palms together in prayer and chanting. Kundalini yoga postures are performed in sequence and can sometimes be quite demanding. Before listing specific poses it would be helpful to give a brief explanation of what Kundalini yoga is.
It is thought that lying coiled at the base of the spine is a reservoir of energy known as prana. Prana is the animating force of the universe and is analogous to chi in Taoism and the soul in Christianity. While prana lies dormant, it can be awakened through the practice of yoga. Once awakened it travels up the spine through a series of seven channels known as the chakras. At the top of the head is the seventh and final chakra. Once awakened, enlightenment occurs.
Kundalini yoga postures are performed in a unique way. There is a set or series of poses done in a repetitive way. Each pose has a breathing technique performed in conjunction with it. Poses and breath work together to awaken the prana and channel it up through the chakras. Breathing in this manner can be thought of as being similar to using a baffle on a fire. In each case oxygen fans the flames bringing increasing heat. Kundalini makes great use of breathing techniques and poses known as kriya. Kriya are thought to cleanse the channels through which the prana flows. Kriya aims at focusing on a specific part of the body.
Kundalini yoga postures are performed in a manner not found in other styles. Rapid periods of exercise are followed by periods of meditation. This is thought to both revitalize the spirit and to awaken the prana.
Because the goal of Kundalini is to awaken the prana and move it through the chakras, poses are aimed at the parts of the body where the chakras are found. The Easy Pose and the Lotus Pose are first performed as they target the base of the spine. Other poses include the Rock Pose, the Crow Pose, the Frog Pose, the Cobra Pose and the Cat Cow Pose.
In meditation the hand gestures known as mudras are used. Among these are Buddhi Mudra, Prayer Mudra, Gian Mudra, Shuni Mudra and Surya Mudra. If you are unfamiliar with the mudras and poses they can easily be found on the Internet.