CONVERSATIONS AT THE SANCTUARY: Awakening the higher potential residing within through Kundalini Yoga
Known as the Yoga of Awareness, Kundalini Yoga combines breath, mudra, mantra, and asanas to balance the glandular system and strengthen the nervous system, bringing balance to the body, mind, and soul. Learn more with Rie Komiya
In ancient India, it was believed that the source energy (some call it the life force, chi, pranic energy, or bio-energy) that we’re born with, lays dormant at the base of the spine like a coiled snake. Kundalini Yoga works to awaken this energy, allowing it to flow freely upwards through the energy centres (known as the seven chakras), leading to an expanded state of consciousness.
“Kundalini Yoga is a powerful practice. It is the study of the science of energy and spiritual philosophy. Understanding the process and intention of your own life force, enables you to discover wisdom and love, and live more authentically,” says Kundalini Yoga and Meditation teacher, Rie Komiya, who’s personally experienced its life-changing benefits. “Through practice, you’ll not only build physical vitality and increase consciousness, but you’ll also become more aware of how to shift your energy, emotions, and mental state to achieve a full and bountiful life.”
It was Yogi Bhajan who brought the practice out of India and transformed it into the beautiful practice (that marries ancient knowledge and modern science), as we know it today. Thanks to him, Kundalini Yoga has become accessible to us. If you’re interested in Kundalini Yoga and want to find out more before your first class, read on to learn more.
QN: PLEASE TELL US MORE ABOUT KUNDALINI YOGA, HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER FORMS OF YOGA?
RIE: Kundalini Yoga is suitable for everyone, ordinary people like you and me who have family, a job, and a social life. It’s designed to take your practice deeper – without having to stay in a cave for years and years of yoga training. Every Kundalini Yoga set includes kriyas (a series of postures, breath and sound work that initiates a sequence of physical and mental changes), pranayama (breath work), asana (poses), meditation, mudra (symbolic hand gestures), and the chanting of mantras (a mantra is like a “sound current” that tunes and controls mental vibration). There are thousands of sets, and each is designed to generate or release specific energy for a desired health benefit.
QN: WHY IS KUNDALINI YOGA OFTEN REFERRED TO AS THE YOGA OF AWARENESS?
RIE: Kundalini Yoga is called the Yoga of Awareness as its practice heightens your awareness. The practice of Kundalini Yoga is powerful, dynamic and profound. It emphasises your personal experiences, enabling you to confront your ego and view of life, and in the process, levels you up to a brighter and more empowered state of being by bringing about mental and emotional shifts very quickly.
Kundalini Yoga master, Yogi Bhajan, said “In Kundalini Yoga, the most important thing is your experience. It goes right to your heart. No words can replace your experience. Your mind may accept the words, or it may not, but your consciousness will not accept just words.”
QN: WHY IS THERE SO MUCH EMPHASIS ON MEDITATION IN KUNDALINI YOGA?
RIE: Kundalini Yoga Meditation is the style of meditation as taught by Yogi Bhajan. When we use the term “meditation”, we’re referring to the meditative state and being in it. Meditation is the process of cleansing the mind and is an essential part of Kundalini Yoga practice. It is as important as asana – which tends to be the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think of “yoga”. However, the practice of Kundalini Yoga is never complete without meditation. Meditation connects us with our mind, and creates communication between our mind and body.
The benefits of meditation are countless! They include: stress reduction; improved quality of sleep; a better sense of well-being and inner peace, chronic pain management; a heightened sense of creativity and intuition; personal growth; and a more open attitude towards life.
There are hundreds of combinations in Kundalini Yoga meditation and each has a specific purpose. For instance, there is meditation for stress relief; meditation for healing; meditation for deep relaxation, and so on.
QN: WHY DO WE CHANT MANTRAS DURING KUNDALINI YOGA AND MEDITATION?
RIE: When we practice Kundalini Yoga, meditation, mudra, and mantra all go hand in hand. I like to refer to mantra as the “technology of sacred sounds” because each mantra creates specific vibrations that affect your mind, body, and soul in different ways. When you chant a mantra, it stimulates the meridian points on the upper palate of the mouth. Constant stimulation of these specific meridian points done with precise sequences or rhythms, trigger the glandular system, thereby creating happiness or higher states of consciousness and discipline within the mind. Think of mantras as a form of “directive psyche”, a combination of words or sounds which help to focus the mind during meditation.
QN: LET’S TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF PRACTICING KUNDALINI YOGA. HOW DOES THIS PRACTICE HELP TO BUILD A STRONGER IMMUNE SYSTEM AND A STRENGTHENED CORE?
RIE: Kundalini Yoga works directly on the nervous system, glands, and organs. There are kriyas which help to boost the immune system through stimulation and cleansing. There are also kriyas which work on the thymus and the digestive system. Relaxation is key here, as a relaxed state of mind allows her to reset our fight or flight response that’s often over-stimulated by stress.
IF YOU’RE NEW TO KUNDALINI YOGA MEDITATION, IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU EXPLORE IT WITH THE GUIDANCE OF AN EXPERIENCED KRI CERTIFIED TEACHER, SO THAT YOU LEARN HOW TO PRACTICE CORRECTLY AND SAFELY, BEFORE DOING IT ON YOUR OWN AT HOME.
About Rie Komiya:
Originally from Japan, Rie Komiya is a KRI certified Kundalini Yoga teacher, Usui Reiki master and teacher, and Quantum Alchemy Crystal Bowl Level 1 practitioner, who has lived in Singapore since 1999. Having benefitted tremendously from her own practice, she’s a passionate about sharing self-care tools to improve health and wellness. Details about Rie’s weekly Kundalini Yoga and Meditation classes can be found here.