Written by: Shannon Coman
Last week I took a new class at The Yoga Room for the first time. Wednesday mornings at 9 AM is now a Kundalini Yoga class taught by Jessica Cummings. I have done a few Kundalini classes here and there over the years but never found myself very drawn to it. I just didn’t get it and it seemed a little strange and not much of a workout. One of my close friends (who is now certified to teach Kundalini) calls it Kunda-looney, which still makes me laugh every time. My guess is lots of yogis might feel the same way I DID. I chose to blog about this class because I have recently started a love affair with Kundalini. I can’t explain the reason, but my recent experiences have shifted my perspective quite a bit.
A little bit about Kundalini: It is the term for “a spiritual energy or life force at the base of the spine,” conceptualized as a coiled up serpent. The practice is supposed to arouse the sleeping Kundalini Shakti from its coiled base through the 6 chakras, and penetrate the 7th chakra, or crown. This energy is said to travel along the left, right, and central, or main channels of pranic energy in the body.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not even sure what the hell that means but I don’t care. I know Kundalini is about energy and I know how I feel when I practice it. Something happens. Something really cool happens to me. Maybe if my affair continues I will dig deeper and try to understand more, but for now I’m just soaking it all in.
The cool thing about Kundalini yoga is the instructor picks a set to do for each class and you basically blast energy on one area of focus for 75 to 90 minutes. The results are said to be immediate and can be held on to and carried with you – it becomes a part of you. Jessica does a great job of explaining throughout the class what we are working on with the set she has chosen, as well as what is happening with individual exercises. Personally, it is easier for me to keep my legs up and breath of fire going for that extra minute if I have an image in my mind of the benefits it is having on my body and spirit. Something Jessica said in class really resonated with me. She said something like when you find yourself coming up against the wall, you have the choice to accelerate and push through it and if you do, you will find the place of sweetness and freedom. I love that.
I stayed after class and talked to Jessica for a few minutes. It is obvious she has a true passion for Kundalini and desires to share it with others because of the positive impact it has had on her own life. It is lovely when that comes out in a class through an instructor.
The sets in Kundalini have been around for thousands of years, but the instructors today have the opportunity to add their own flare and personality to the classes they teach. Yogi Bhajan introduced Kundalini yoga to the United States in 1968. He has said Kundalini is the fastest of all the technologies of yoga. One of the reasons this could be true is apparently one minute of breath of fire is equal to 20 minutes of long deep breathing in any posture. I like to think about that when I am in shoulder stand doing breath of fire. I think Holy Shit, it’s like I just held shoulder stand for 40 minutes. I’m a bad ass!
Oh, and my idea that Kundalini is not a great workout is CRAZY! I find I am way more sore after doing a Kundalini class than any other type of yoga. Surprising but true. It’s not the prettiest yoga and it is actually really hard at times, but I am definitely going to continue my Kundalini love affair for now and am excited to see where it takes me. I encourage you to try a class too, just to have a new and different experience if nothing else. Who knows, maybe your creative energy will be awakened and you will find your life’s purpose. Maybe you will develop awareness, consciousness and spiritual strength. Maybe you will just go around town calling it Kunda-looney. J But you won’t know until you try!
The Yoga Room offers Kundalini Yoga Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 9:30 AM. Jessica also teaches several classes at Zen Body Yoga & Wellness. Check the links for full schedules.