Let's be honest with ourselves, yoga is a great form of exercise, but sometimes it is the stress-relief component that gets us into the nearest studio for a leisurely afternoon. However, it can often be a daunting task to glance through your busy schedule and try to block off a 90 minute chunk of time, making even the idea of settling in for a lengthy yoga session more stressful than soothing. If you are looking for a little self-indulgence that will fit right into your hectic work week, then Kundalini yoga may be just the thing for you!
Kundalini yoga is considered to be the most comprehensive form of yoga, primarily because it combines meditation, mantra, physical exercise and breathing techniques into a heated workout. It is most commonly known as the Yoga of Awareness and it encourages all participants to focus on self-awareness and connecting with the universe at large. Although the origins of Kundalini yoga are shrouded in secrecy, popular belief holds that it began around the 5th century by Persians and was passed on orally from a master to a chosen disciple. Unlike other styles of yoga, which originally promoted celibacy and and the removal of oneself from society, Kundalini yoga was intended to encourage participants to embrace the "householder path." This style of yoga was practiced by people who were family and job-oriented, in order to demonstrate how to balance their inner lives with their outer worlds.
Check out this video to see some unique Kundalini yoga breathing techniques:
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For thousands of years, Kundalini yoga was transferred - by word of mouth - throughout the world, until it finally reached the United States in 1969. Schools were created in order to expose more and more people to this new and energetic style of yoga, and it began to take on a more structured form. Unlike the most common types of yoga, Kundalini yoga consists of six major components: 1) Tuning in with Adi Mantra (an introductory chant), 2) Pranayam (different breathing techniques) or warm-up, 3) Kriya (a set of exercises that range from simple, energetic sequences to vigorous moves that incorporate strong breathing techniques like Breath of Fire), 4) Relaxation, 5) Meditation, and 6) Close with a blessing song ("May the Long Time Sun Shine Upon You").
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So why has Kundalini yoga remained so popular? Because it was basically created for people just like you, making it conducive to the working-woman lifestyle. In short sessions (usually under an hour), you can squeeze in a workout and relaxation time in just one class! The exercises commonly associated with Kundalini yoga are known for their quick and powerful nature. Plus, people who practice Kundalini yoga are known to initiate beneficial changes in their lives much more swiftly and efficiently (check out the Kundalini Research Institute to see how!).
For more information on Kundalini yoga, check out these sites: