By Coach Kat, January 25, 2022, copyright Bronwyn Katdaré 2022
I hate yoga.
This is what I told myself as I was having existential crises (aka nervous breakdowns) in college and grad school. I tried to do the yoga videos, the calming meditations, just listening to the instructor speak while I had my eyes closed. Seriously, it made me even more anxious. My body became tense and screamed out in pain. I was rejecting it on every level. My mind hated yoga. My body hated yoga. I hated yoga. It just wasn’t for me.
Well, perhaps this is because I was not practicing the type of yoga that would be right for me. The kind that I would crave. The kind that made me feel both exhilarated and at peace after finishing. The kind that released toxic crap that was creating obstacles and open me up to…sometimes bliss but sometimes just simply feeling way better than I did when I started out that day.
Fast-forward many years and I am a certified Kundalini Awakening Yoga teacher! Kundalini Awakening Yoga is transformative magic that has been a game-changer in literally every aspect of my life. It was the missing link.
Kundalini yoga dates back to 1,000 B.C. as a spiritual practice originating in Vedic philosophy. It is mentioned in the Upanishads, which is a sacred collection of teachings that promote health through the practice of yoga. The original classes were teachings on peace, consciousness, and joy and did not incorporate physical practice. The physical practices – the kriyas – are taught today to continuously move energy through the body.
Kundalini yoga was brought to the United States from India in the 1970s by Yogi Bhajan, who adhered to strict disciplined practices. When people think about the practice of Kundalini yoga, they might think about his teachings and wearing white robes and head coverings. THIS is NOT THAT!
Kundalini Awakening Yoga borrows from all the traditional kundalini kriyas but makes it more active and accessible to everyone. It is known as the yoga of awareness that taps into the body, mind, and soul using breath, physical movement, meditation, and mantra. It is said to awaken the full potential of human awareness. Kundalini kriya is an orchestrated pattern of movements, sound, pranayama, mudras, concentration, and meditation that guides the energies of the body and mind to a specific result or change of consciousness.
Kundalini yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system by stimulating and toning the Vagus Nerve. The Vagus Nerve is a part of the Central Nervous System running from the hypothalamus and amygdala to the colon that controls the ability to move between the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems. The Vagus Nerve connects the mind to the body and vice-versa. When the Vagus Nerve oscillates correctly, it acts like a tuning fork setting the Autonomic Nervous System to vibrate at the level of the Parasympathetic Nervous System (rest-digest-heal) rather than the Sympathetic Nervous System (fight-flight-freeze). Although the Sympathetic Nervous System is necessary and keeps us safe and alive, present day society spends most of its time in this state.
Some people may have heard that Kundalini yoga is dangerous or that you don’t want to mess around with it. This is a myth! Kundalini energy is simply your potential. The point of ALL yoga is to raise Kundalini energy, your untapped potential - who you are and who you need to be. YOUR POTENTIAL is already there. In my classes and programs, the body is prepped for the release of the energy by strengthening the nervous system so it sets the vibration to the parasympathetic state: the rest, digest, detox, relax, and heal state of being.
Why do I teach Kundalini Awakening Yoga and incorporate it into my programs? First, Kundalini yoga balances the glandular system, strengthens the nervous system, and enables you to harness the energy of the mind and emotions so you can be in control of yourself, rather than being controlled by your thoughts and feelings. Kundalini yoga brings down ALL inflammatory markers in just 12 minutes/day.
Second, Kundalini is basically the energy of the body, your full potential that can be awakened. The energy flows through what are called chakras, or energy centers, that are connected by a channel of energy flowing up the spine and around the mind. The goal of Kundalini Yoga is to keep this energy flowing in order to release blocks.
Third, Kundalini yoga helps you break through your limitations and increases self-worth, your self-esteem, and how you value yourself and the world. Mantra is a very important part of a Kundalini practice based on the belief that chanting words at the energetic level creates vibratory changes in your state of consciousness. As Kundalini energy increases, it creates biochemical changes, your awareness increases so you can step out of the victim story, and take charge of your life. Trust the process and flow. Transformation happens quickly with Kundalini Awakening Yoga. It will open you up and you will feel changes in your body, mind, and soul.
Finally, Kundalini Awakening Yoga is a physically strengthening practice. Kundalini Awakening Yoga is for everyone, regardless of skill level or fitness level. Even those with restricted mobility can do this, even if they are simply chanting the mantras or using breath and meditation. It is simple with no practices or levels to achieve. It does not seek perfection but, rather, looks for continuous movement of energy.
If you do nothing, nothing in your life will change. You have to consistently practice to stay in a high vibration state, but it’s not about doing hours of practice per day. Mantras and chanting strengthen the Vagus Nerve by activating the vocal cords and muscles at the back of the throat. The mantra helps deflect the negative mind chatter and the energy around that chatter. The words of peace and joy from the mantra repeat through your system, the chakras, and positively affect all parts of your life.
(Bronwyn Katdaré is a certified plant-based holistic health coach, specializing in intuitive, lifestyle, and functional medicines. She is also a Soul-Centered Coach, incorporating Shamanic healing, Reiki of the Usui and Karuna traditions, Akashic Records, and Kundalini Awakening Yoga. Bronwyn is guest faculty with the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and a graduate of the FSS Three Year Program of Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing. She is also interested in quantum physics, astrophysics, transpersonal and Jungian psychologies, and ecopsychology).