Kundalini yoga is a style of yoga that works directly on your glandular and nervous system. It incorporates mudras (hand positions), asanas (postures), mantra (sound), and meditation to help you experience that inner peace within yourself. Although the goal of all forms of yoga are the same, Kundalini yoga classes are set up quite differently from regular yoga classes and may be intimidating to some people. If you are curious about beginning your practice but are facing some resistance, then I want to confront some myths for you that I hope will ease your doubts:
1. You always have to wear white
There are some Kundalini yogis that always wear white, head to toe. It is taught that wearing white expands your aura 1 foot which allows you to have a greater presence. But not everyone wears white. I always wear white when I teach, because I feel like the expanded aura helps my presence when I’m teaching. Yet most of my everyday wear is black. There are no rules in Kundalini yoga– experiment with yourself and see what works best for you.
2. You can never cut your hair
Again, there are some Kundalini yogis that never cut their hair. It is taught that your hair is a natural conduit of energy that enters your body, kind of like an electrical wire. When you cut your hair, you lose valuable energy and nourishment that can help you reach levels of higher consciousness. Yet there are plenty of yogis that still cut their hair, including me.
3. You have to be flexible
I’ve seen people from ages 5 to 85 doing Kundalini yoga. The yoga exercises known as the kriya are designed so everyone with all physical abilities can experience the power of yoga. Also, students are encouraged to close their eyes and go within during the kriya set. Yes– that means you can enjoy your practice without the pressure of wandering eyes judging your every move. So even if you aren’t the most flexible person in the world, no one will ever know because they can’t see you!
4. You have to wake up every morning at 4:00 am
It is encouraged for every student to participate in sadhana– a daily spiritual practice. It is also encouraged to do sadhana between 4:00-7:00am when the energy from the earth is greatest and allows you to receive most from the universe. Almost all Kundalini yoga studios have sadhana in their studio every morning, but it is not required to go. And it’s not a rite of passage. The depth of your practice doesn’t depend on how often you attend sadhana in the morning. Again, experiment with yourself and see if 4:00am sadhana works for you!
5. You need a more challenging workout
Maybe Kundalini yoga isn’t as physically demanding as Ashtanga, but there are some kriya sets that can make you sweat like you just ran 10 miles. Sometimes you’ll be pumping your arms up and down vigorously for 3 minutes, or in stretch pose for 5 minutes. The kriya changes with each class and each teacher. If the class is too easy for you the first time, just keep coming back- I guarantee you will be sweating in no time!
6. Kundalini yoga is a religion
If you follow a certain denomination, you may find some mantras and meditations uncomfortable to you. But Kundalini yoga is all about inclusion, and we are all setting the same intention to uplift ourselves and others. Call it God, Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, universe..call it whatever you want. We are all praying to same God even though the name may be different. You will be surprised by the magic that happens when you keep an open mind and open heart.
7. Kundalini yoga is dangerous
If you do a quick google search on “kundalini yoga” there are some pretty alarming articles out there about kundalini syndrome, awakenings and psychosis. I’ve read them all. I can tell you that I’ve experienced similar sensations of euphoria, tingling, heat, and pressure in certain areas of my body. But these sensations aren’t dangerous; they are merely a manifestation of you clearing out all the gunk inside your body. Nothing to be afraid of. If the resulting peace and euphoria is what people call psychosis, then I’d rather be crazy!