Within the practice of Kundalini yoga, the poses are known as “asanas”. These positions are often used in combination with chanting, breathing, and locking practices. The result is a transformation of not only the body but also the mind and the soul too.
Asanas are put in a specific sequence, which is known as a kriya. Students will come into contact with a wide range of poses during an average session. Learning to perfect each of these asanas is one of the fundamentals of Kundalini Yoga practice. Through the poses, you can connect your body and mental state completely.
“If the body does not flow with the soul and the soul cannot command the body, the human life is lost. It has no purpose. The relationship between the human body and the soul is like the relationship of a lover and a beloved… The soul is in every part of life as the beloved is in every part of the lover.”
– Yogi Bhajan
Mastering Each Asana
Training the body to meet certain asana poses is an essential part of any student’s practice. The typical poses often include moves such as the spinal flex, life nerve stretch, and spinal twist. While these may appear difficult to the untrained eye or the new student, they become easier with practice. Taking the time to master your practice is the sole way in which you can enhance this skill set.
While each asana also has a Sanskrit name, these official titles are not often given during an average session. Instead, they are given a colloquial or descriptive name. For instance, you have poses including “Downward Dog” and the “Cat-Cow Pose”. The names are given to the asanas as they easily illustrate the way the position should look to the student. That means that newcomers to Kundalini yoga can easily understand how to begin posing.
The Importance of Asanas
The role that asanas play in Kundalini yoga is an important and significant one. Many of the colloquial names are taken from symbols or animals within nature. While creatures naturally use these poses within their everyday life, humans don’t often contort themselves in such a way. However, doing so naturally links the body and the mind – the conscious and the unconscious. In recreating these poses that we observe in the natural world, we are able to reap the rewards offered by the practice.
The asanas allow us to reconnect with our inner selves and adjust our focus. While it’s easy to get distracted by the noise of the modern world, practicing asanas and yoga in general means that we move back to a more basic and spiritual level. Each of the poses has a different and equally powerful effect. With each asana, we are offered the chance to relax the mind, engage with the soul, and enhance our own spiritualism levels.
Before the student delves deeper into the world of asanas, they ought to fully understand the benefits of practicing these positions. There is a great wealth of significance that can be attached to each of the sacred asanas. It is for that reason that these poses allow us to enhance all areas of our lifestyle.
As you gain momentum in your training, you will become in tune with your body and mind. Through each asana, you can gain something new – be it knowledge, power, or an enhancement of your well-being. There are mental, physical, and soul related benefits to engaging in the core asanas. Let’s take a moment to consider the benefits that you may encounter once you begin to practice Kundalini yoga.
1. Links body and mind 2. Boosts self-esteem 3. Increases circulation 4. Opens energy pathways 5. Increases flexibility 6. Relieves stress
1. Links body and mind
Connecting your body and mind is a noble desire. When these two elements flow together, they become one entity. When you activate various asana poses, you can begin to link these two areas and ensure that there is a solid connection there. Many students use asanas within their mediation and are able to use them as a tool to invoke their mind.
2. Boosts self-esteem
Those struggling with issues of self-esteem may find that practicing asanas is a solution. Posing in various positions – each of which is dictated by an asana – could help people improve their body image and also enhance their self-esteem and confidence. Research actually suggests that holding yoga poses can help people to increase their self-esteem. Engaging in a few moments of posing could have a dramatic effect on your mental state.
3. Increases circulation
Moving seamlessly from pose to pose could encourage the blood flow within your body. Improving your circulation and the flow of your fluids could enhance all areas of your health and well-being. As you move into each asana, you get the blood pumping throughout your body and enhance the flow levels. Should you struggle with circulation issues – as many people do – engaging in Kundalini yoga is an effective option.
4. Opens energy pathways
It’s not merely blood that flows through your body, you should also consider your Kundalini energy. This is a life force that moves throughout your channels and awakens your spirit. With each asana, you begin to unlock a new energy path and allow it to run from chakra to chakra. Newcomers should focus their attention on taking control of this energy and taking some mastery over it. The act of doing so will allow the flow to be smooth and swift throughout the body. Opening up these channels, the asanas offer a powerful benefit.
5. Increases flexibility
Flexibility is a characteristic that you must build over time. The more you practice an asana, the more flexible you will physically become. With each Kundalini yoga session, you may push your flexibility levels a little further than before. Rather than staying within your limits, you must take yourself outside of your comfort zone so that you can progress. One of the major benefits of practicing asanas is that you will become more flexible.
6. Relieves stress
Worries are dangerous. Stress can be a major factor in long-term health conditions and problems. Should you feel that you’re under stress, you must try lifestyle changes to solve the problem. One of the most effective forms of stress relief could be practicing yoga. A large body of research suggests that any form of yoga can help to reduce both the physical and mental effects that stress has on the body. Once you begin to include the asana poses in your daily life, you may find that they offer some genuine relief.
“The knowledge of your prana is your knowledge of your guidance.You should be grateful and graceful for every breath.”
– Yogi Bhajan
Different Types of Asanas
As we have already learned about the importance of asanas within Kundalini yoga, we should also take some time to understand the various poses. While there’s a broad variety of asanas out there that you will learn with time, to start with you only need to learn a small range of poses. When you have mastered the more basic positions, you can begin to advance. Here are some of the different types of asanas every student needs to know.