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Kundalini yogaKundalini yoga is a physical and meditative discipline, comprising a set of techniques that use the mind, senses and body to create a communication between "mind" and "body". Kundalini yoga focuses on psycho-spiritual growth and the body's potential for maturation, giving special consideration to the role of the spine and the endocrine system in the understanding of yogic awakening (Sovatsky, 1998).
Kundalini Yoga concentrates on chakras in the body in order to generate a spiritual power, which is known as kundalini.
Kundalini is the potential form of prana or life force, lying dormant in our bodies. It is conceptualized as a coiled up serpent (literally, 'kundalini' in Sanskrit is 'That which is coiled.' (Sanskrit kund, "to burn"; kunda, "to coil or to spiral") but some claim that it should be translated 'lock of hair of the Beloved') lying at the base of our spine, which can spring awake when activated by spiritual disciplines.
Kundalini yoga practiceThe practice of kundalini yoga consists of a number of bodily postures, expressive movements and utterances, characterological cultivations, breathing patterns, and degrees of concentration (Sovatsky, 1998). None of these postures and movements should, according to scholars of Yoga (Sovatsky, 1998), be considered mere stretching exercises or gymnastic exercises.
Shannahoff-Khalsa (2004) describes several Kundalini Yoga techniques in his Kundalini Yoga Protocol. Most techniques include the following features: cross-legged positions, the positioning of the spine (usually straight), different methods to control the breath, the use of mantras, closed eyes, and mental focus (often on the sound of the breath). The author emphasizes that the techniques are not meant to be a substitute for medical care and advice.
Like a few other yogas, kundalini yoga links movement with breath. It is differentiated by a direct focus on moving energy through the chakra system, stimulating the energy in the lower chakras and moving it to the higher chakras. The chakras are energy centers, seven in total, located beginning at the base of the spine and ending at the top of the head. An eighth chakra exists in Kundalini Yoga, which is the electromagnetic field, sometimes called "aura." The aura is thought to be strengthened through the practice of Kundalini Yoga. Kundalini Yoga is intended to awaken the energy that resides in the spine by activating the nerve channels that are intertwined there.
Kundalini Yoga is sometimes called "the Yoga of Awareness" because it awakens the "kundalini" which is the unlimited potential that already exists within every human being (Sat Bachan Kaur Karla Becker, 2004). Practitioners believe that when the infinite potential energy is raised in the body it stimulates the higher centers, giving the individual enhanced intuition and mental clarity and creative potential. As such, Kundalini was considered a dangerous practice by ruling powers and so, was historically practiced in secret. The knowledge was handed down by Master to student only after long initiation processes to determine the student's commitment.
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