In the practice of Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bhajan®, postures, also known as asanas, form one leg on a table of the experience. Breath, mudra, eye-focus, mantra, and body locks join with the postures to affect body, mind, and soul.
Postures practiced in Kundalini Yoga include forms that are familiar to the Hatha Yoga practitioner such as downward dog, forward bends, and seated poses. However, in a Kundalini Yoga class or manual, Sanskrit names are rarely used to identify a posture; instead, it is verbally described and almost always includes a demonstration or an illustration.
Kundalini Yoga also includes a suite of asanas that are less commonly used in a Hatha Yoga setting and may involve movement within a posture such as spinal flex, life nerve stretch, and spinal twist. A specific sequence of postures builds the foundation of a kriya.
ANGLES AND TRIANGLES
The postures of Kundalini Yoga consciously employ the energetic effect and flow of the body’s balance and geometry:
Effects of Lifting the Legs to:
- 0-12 inches: everything below the navel point
- 0 to 6 inches: ovaries/sex glands
- 6 to 18 inches: navel point, kidneys
- 12 inches to 2 feet: liver, spleen, gall bladder, pancreas
- 1½ feet to 2½ feet: liver, upper stomach, gall bladder
- 2 to 3 feet: heart, lungs, stomach
- over 4 feet to 90 degrees: thyroid, parathyroid, pineal glands
- 90 degrees: pineal and pituitary glands, memory
Lifting the Arms 60 degrees: heart and lungs
EFFECTS OF A POSTURE
Everyone understands that a posture may build a specific muscle group. We begin to expand that. There may be reflexes – this hand may be connected to something else in the body. There may be interconnections throughout the body, connecting its most distant parts in unexpected ways.
Each asana in a kriya is an exercise, a meditation, a connection to energy flow, and a self-diagnostic instrument for the Kundalini Yoga practitioner:
As an Exercise
- Isolate specific muscles.
- Pressurize specific points or areas to enhance glandular and organ function .
- Re-direct, flush, or increase circulation.
As a Meditation
- Create a special link and foundation between mind and body.
- Release emotional masking and blocks stimulated by the posture.
As a Connection to Energy Flow
- Open energy pathways between meridians.
As a Self-Diagnostic Tool
- Signals of pleasure or discomfort and pain indicate conditions of the muscles, glands, and/or emotions.
You’ll go through stages as you adjust to the effects of the postures within Kundalini Yoga. At first, you may feel awkward. If you hold it, it starts to feel better. The asana starts to find a natural place in you as you give a new form to your conscious and unconscious patterning. First you create the form, then you start transforming all the things you’re not even aware of.
The West and scientific statistics look at you in relation to the average. The West compares you to someone else; but yoga compares you to your own potential. In Kundalini Yoga, the emphasis is not on perfecting the physical posture but on the experience – and effects – of it. Whatever you think your physical limitations are, there is a place for you in Kundalini Yoga.