Kundalini Yoga 101: Everything You Wanted To Know

A typical Kundalini yoga class is comprised of three parts: an opening chant (known as “tuning in”) followed by a brief warm-up for your spine, a kriya (which is a sequence of postures paired with breathing techniques), and a closing meditation or song.

Each kriya—which is Sanskrit for “action”—pairs a physical pose with a breath or meditation. These poses can be anything you choose based on the part of your body that you want to focus on, like cobra pose for your spine or warrior for your legs and glutes.

While different kriyas use different breaths, one of the most popular breathing techniques is Breath of Fire, which consists of short, quick breaths (almost like a dog panting). To do Breath of Fire, seal your lips and breathe in and out of your nose at a rate of about two to three breaths per second. As you breathe, expel the air in powerful spurts to engage your core.

Chanting and singing are also key components of Kundalini yoga. There are endless mantras and songs that you can recite during your practice but most classes start with the Adi Mantra, which means “I bow to the subtle divine wisdom, the divine teacher within.” Another common chant you’ll hear in a Kundalini class is Sat Nam, which means “I am truth.”

You can also expect a meditation-heavy class. Each set during Kundalini yoga has different poses that involve movement, breathing techniques, mindfulness, and a mantra. Between postures, you’ll have a minute or two to relax and focus inward. After the entire set, there’s a relaxation followed by a meditation, then a mantra before class closes.

Bonus: While you don’t have to wear head-to-toe white, it is common in Kundalini. That’s because the color white is thought to ward off negative energy and extend your own aura. Teachers will often also wear a white head covering, such as a hat, scarf, or turban, to contain the energy within the body.

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