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What is Kundalini Yoga?
by Sushant Pandey
What is Kundalini Yoga? Etymologically the term- 'Kundalini' means coiled. In Tantra tradition
Kundalini stands for latent, hidden or coiled psycho-spiritual potential. Kundalini Yoga is practical branch of Tantra philosophy which provides us with tools and techniques to harness latent psycho-spiritual potentials within us. Aim of Kundalini Yoga is to awaken this dormant potential through advanced esoteric techniques of traditional Hatha Yoga and Tantra. Kundalini yoga is a part of the tantric tradition. Since ancient times, the ancients have realized that mental faculties can be refined and expanded and that mental experiences do not necessarily depend on an object. Tantra says that the range of mental experience can be broadened. With the help of the senses, mind can have an experience based on an object. This object based experience is subject to the limitation of time, space and corresponding object. On the other hand there can also be an experience beyond the framework of time, space and object. The second form of experience can happen when the present mind expands beyond its given definitions, borders and limitations and when this experience occurs, energy is released from yourself. Kundalini Yoga is the process of realizing this transcendental experience which is beyond the limitations of the mind and its faculties. This process of expansion of awareness and mental experiences happen through awakening and liberation of Kundalini Shakti (energy) within us. Process of Kundalini Yoga Process of traditional kundalini sadhana entails Bhuta Shuddhi or Tattva Shuddi (purification of elements). But before that it is highly important that the aspirant has trained his body and mind to a sufficient degree through practices of Hatha Yoga and meditations. Kundalini is cosmic prana (life force) embodied within us in dormant state. Before awakening the Kundalini one requires to go through intense purification of body mind system. Tools of Hatha Yoga such as Shatkriya (six cleansing practices), Asana (traditional Hatha Yoga poses) and Pranayama (Hatha Yogic breath-work); help to purify the body and mind from gross to subtle levels. Purpose of all these techniques in Kundalini Yoga Classes or training is to purify the pranic system consisting of Nadis (psychic or pranic channels), Chakras (pranic or energy centers) and Tattvas (elements). All the Chakras located in the body are the centers of Tattvas (elements). The lower five chakras Muladhara chakra (root), Swadhisthana Chakra (sacral), Manipura Chakra (Navel), Anahata Chakra (heart) and Vishuddhi Chakra (throat), are the centers of Tattvik activities. The other higher chakras are the centers of subtle elements experienced at higher dimension of awareness. These are those vital spots in the body where energy exchange or concentration is at intense level. Our body is electro magnetic bio-chemical entity. In other words the reality we live is based on energy transmission and exchange. Each information which flows in or out is based on energy exchange. These chakras are the centers of these energy flows. These energy centers are very vital also because there are energy lines emanating from there. On the physical plane these correspond to nerve plexus. Aspects of Teaching in Kundalini Yoga Training The first and the foremost goal of the Kundalini Yoga classes or training is to reset these chakras from blockages and malfunctioning. And this is the most challenging and arduous task to begin with. As one begin to work on the chakras through asanas, pranayama, mudra (pyscho-physical gestures) and bandhas (energy or psychic locks) lots of emotions and intensity of energy are felt. These upheavals experienced in classes of Kundalini Sadhana are the result of the upsurge of energy resulted due to chakra resetting and toning. As these chakras act like the subtle switches of specific centers in the brain and therefore also correspond to the specific instinct centers in the brain. Various Kundalini and Chakra oriented pratyahara (mind withdrawal techniques) and dharana (intensive focusing) meditation techniques equip the practitioners to channel the released or awakened energies in the pranic system. Kundalini yoga tradition is the process of transmuting the existing psycho-spiritual energies. As the energies within the body is refined and awakened, as a consequence state of consciousness is altered. Meditative awareness dawns upon the aspirant as a result of nadi cleansing and chakra activation. Tantra looks at matter-energy-consciousness in one continuum. And it believes that energy of matter can be transmuted. Therefore once bodily energies are mobilized through Hatha Yoga techniques, it begins to awaken a very refined awareness within the practitioner. In Kundalini Yoga training some of the techniques used like Tattva Shuddhi (purification of five elements), Chakra Shuddhi (Chakra cleansing), Chakra Dharana (intense visualization of chakras), kundalini kriyas and traditional Hatha practices are highly effective in creating a life transforming experiences in the person. Ideally in Kundalini Yoga Classes or training, there has to a perfect blend of activating and purifying practices like Shatkriya, Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha and internalizing techniques from stages of Pratyahara and Dharana. A proper combination of these elements in Kundalini Yoga Classes yield a very uplifting results. Apart from these techniques mentioned above there are range of meditation techniques involving different Yantras (visual primordial geometrical symbols) and Mantras (psychic sound vibrations). Each chakra has its corresponding sound vibration (mantra) and a specific psychic symbol. Some of the stages of dharana meditation on chakras, awareness of the aspirants is internalized deeply. Chakra Dharana technique is one of those practices which channel the awareness to such an extent so that a practitioner can visualize each symbol of the chakra with intense focus and awareness.
6 Types of Kriyas to Ultimate Purification
by Rishikesh Yogis
A human body is composed of three doshas commonly named as Vata (one that governs the
perfunctory function), Pitta (one that keeps the body’s chemical functions in check) and Kapha (the structure manager of the body). These ‘tridoshas’ (three doshas) need to remain balanced in the body for maintaining a sound health and well-being of an individual. There can be a number of external or internal fluctuations that can lead to a lost balance between these doshas. Gathered waste, harmful toxins are some of the major causes of this disrupted rhythm. Through the practice of certain cleansing practices, you can restore the body to its natural health and well being by eliminating all the accumulated radicals. These cleansing practices are referred to as the Shat-kriyas in yoga science. Shatkriyas (or Shatkarmas) signifies six types of kriyas that are practiced for ultimate purification of the entire body and mind. These kriyas have been the studied and practiced by sages, gurus and yogis since the evolution of yoga. You can also decipher them as the methods of preparing the body for undergoing intense practice of yoga. Being internally cleansed is of the essence for mental, physical and spiritual beautification. Shatkriyas form a vital component in the study of eight limbs of yoga. The yogic kriyas are also explained in the ‘Niyamas’ denoting how a swachh (clean) body is closest to the divine. So, if you wish to undergo this celestial route of purification then you can learn about it by undertaking a yoga program or perform it under the guidance of a serious practitioner. Let us discuss the six types of kriyas and their benefits: Kapalabhati (Stimulating the brain cells by purifying the brain) The KAPALBHATI type of kriya is a quaint amalgamation of two words, where KAPAL denotes ‘skull and the functions, organs associated with it’ and BHATI that denotes ‘Glow, Sheen, and Luminosity’. Hence, this category of shatkriya is dedicated to the purification of brain cells and polishing the mind. It is an intense breathing technique which removes all the respiratory blockages from the tracts and detoxifies the entire lymphatic system. If you are attempting for this cleansing route then ensure not to go beyond 150-200 repetitions. Neti (Upper Nasal Track) Neti Kriya denotes purification of the nasal passage and the nostrils. Neti kriya is performed using four types of tools which you can choose from. These tools are Water (Jal), Thread (Sutra), Milk (Dugdha) and Ghee (Ghrita). This style of kriya is highly beneficial in releasing muscular tension from the facial muscles and imparts youthful glow to it. It is also helpful in relieving anxiety, depression and various types of mental congestion. It also balances the entire nervous system. Trataka (Eye Exercises) Trataka is a specific type of kriya that works towards promoting good eyesight, developing focus and enhancing physical and mental dedication. It is performed by freezing the vision on a particular object without blinking the eye. There are two types of Trataka kriyas that you can choose from, Jatra and Jyoti. Keep your eyes relaxed at all times while performing it. This would lead to secretion of tear glands which would further purify the visual system. Nauli (Abdominal muscle and Viscera) Nauli is an essential kriya implemented for the purification and toning of abdomen and its internal organs. This type of kriya is highly essential in simulating digestive system while cleansing it completely. Dhouti (Cleansing the intestine) Dhouti kriya is particularly specific to cleansing of the upper intestine. It is one of the most rigorous yet highly beneficial types of kriya after Nauli Shatkriya. This kriya is performed with the intention of inducing vomiting in order to clear any impurities or blockages in the intestine. There are three categories of Dhouti kriya namely, Jala Dhouti, Vastra Dhouti and Danda Dhouti. Specifically advantageous in treating constipation, gastric troubles, and bile disorders, Dhouti Kriya is also helpful in enhancing renal functions and eliminating worm from the liver. Obese people with a loose stomach and poor phlegm benefit greatly from this kriya. Vasti (Cleaning of the Rectum) As the abdomen is divided into three parts – upper abdomen, middle abdomen and lower abdomen, Vasti kriya is implemented to purify the lower abdomen. This includes the pelvic zone and bladder too. This is also referred to as the ‘Yogic Enema’ as the process is conducted to clean all the impurities through the colon. This shatkriya is highly advantageous for curing urinary disorders, digestive flaws, treating irregular bowels, and eliminating diseases like flatulence, bile, etc. Vasti kriya is also performed to tone the muscles in lower abdomen. Learn and practice these soulful kriyas for complete purification of the mind and body. Be sure to practice these under the supervision of a professional yoga teacher only.
Awaken the ‘Spiritual’ You with Kriya and Kundalini Yoga
by Rishikesh Yogis
In the fast-paced and competitive world, where our mind is equipped in handling endless affairs,
controlling and pacifying the mind for a while seems impossible. Every now and then, we get irritated, uncontrolled, and restless. Dealing the daily problems and handling the bundle of responsibilities, we have forgotten the true meaning and purpose of life, we have forgotten the ‘true’ us. Leaving behind the confusing and depressing lifestyle, if you are willing to discover your true being, to make tangible progress in spiritual life, to awaken the inner powers and achieve a higher state of bliss, then adopt the way of Kriya and Kundalini Yoga. The two philosophical terms of yoga, Kriya and Kundalini yoga serve different purposes. Kundalini yoga is a system of various practices that aims at the development of the mind and the body to pave the way for awakening the spiritual potentials. It is an awesome blend of asanas, breathing, meditation, mantra and relaxation. It brings harmony between the body, mind and soul. One of the easiest yet powerful practices of Kundalini yoga is Kriya Yoga. It is a series of asanas, breath, and sound that works towards the attainment of spiritual growth. It is a perfectly designed combination of powerful practices that provide subtle impacts on the overall well-being. In kriya yoga practice, the mind is influenced by the body. What’s best about Kriya yoga is you can perform it even if a number of distractions toss within your mind. By following the path of kundalini yoga and practising kriya yoga, you can find the ‘spiritual’ you. Let your passion, jealousy, pleasure, depression, pain, pride and prejudice not stand as an obstacle in the path of spiritual awakening. Without any limitations regarding food, habits, gender, age, everyone is fit for these practices. Just thirty minutes a day are required for the kriya yoga practices. In kriya yoga, the angles and triangles of the asanas, the powerful breath, the enchanting sounds of the mantras, and the eye-focus and body locks, all put together transform you by the end of practice. The changes your body undergoes during kriya yoga prepares you physically and mentally for a meditative internal space. Benefits of Kriya and Kundalini yoga: Makes you feel joyous, relaxed and healthy. Helps become more productive and creative. Transforms your life and makes you feel more fulfilled and content. Boost energy levels and improves whole being. Make you more intuitive. Strengthens nervous system, reduces hypertension and helps with depression. Protects you from negativities and helps you stick to your true identity. The magical tranquillity of Kriya and Kundalini yoga is possible to experience only under profound guidance. If you are willing to deepen your awareness and learn the most traditional and ancient forms of yoga, a 10-day Kriya and Kundalini retreat offered by Rishikesh Yogis Yogshala in the spiritual city of Rishikesh can help meet these goals. The marvellous yoga retreat is designed to provide in-depth knowledge and authentic understanding of kriya and kundalini yoga. The retreat is the golden opportunity to endow yourself with the teaching chosen from traditional scriptures such as Gheranda Samhita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika and various Yoga Upanishads.During the 10-day retreat, daily in-depth discussions with the right blend of philosophy and practical techniques of Kundalini yoga shall help you explore and learn more about Kundalini yoga. On top of that, innovative workshop sessions on subjects like Kundalini Yoga, Kriya Yoga techniques will be offered each day to help you with spiritual awakening. These 10-days, you will be under the shelter of highly experienced teachers of Rishikesh Yogis Yogashala who will guide you through every aspect of Kriya and Kundalini Yoga. Learn about the energy channels of the body- Chakras and how to bring balance, relaxation and well-being to your chakras in Chakra meditation sessions. Attend Tantra philosophy sessions that will change the way you perceive the world. Enjoy learning the mystic form of yoga in the rejuvenating and salubrious ashram-like environment. The retreat will prepare you for the intense techniques of Kriya and kundalini yoga and help understand the process of awakening spiritual potentials. So, this October, embark upon a journey of self-discovery with Rishikesh Yogis Yogshala’s 10-day Kriya and Kundalini yoga retreat.