First introduced to the western world in the late 70s by Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini yoga is a combination of breath, movement, and sound. It derives from the Sanskrit word kundal, which translates to “coiled energy.” The idea is that we all have energy gathered at the base of our spine and, through the practice of Kundalini, we bring that energy up our spine through the seven chakras, and out the crown of our head.
“The process of growth through Kundalini Yoga is a natural unfolding of your own nature,” Yogi Bhajan has said. “Like a snake, you will need to shed old skins to be more of who you are.” The ultimate goal of Kundalini is to increase your self-awareness by silencing your mind and unblocking your chakras so that your vital energy can flow freely.
"The practice of kundalini is filled with really challenging breath exercises coupled with asanas and meditation," says yoga instructor Caley Alyssa in our 28 Days To Yoga Bliss class. "These are often practiced in repetition for a pretty lengthy period of time and move a lot of energy around in your body."
There's a reason why the practice has gained popularity only recently: The ancient teachings of Kundalini yoga were kept secret for a very long time, only taught to royalty and nobility for thousands of years until Bhajan brought it to the West in the late 1960s and began to teach it publicly.