Kundalini Yoga Kriya #5 – Kundalini Awakening Raja Yoga Set
Background and Design of Kundalini Awakening Raja Yoga Kriya:
This Kundalini Yoga Kriya hails from the Regal path of Yoga — Raja Yoga. It is a powerful kriya (set) and you should approach it with respect and intelligence. The kriya uses the combined power of breath control (pranayama), specifically suspension of breath, in conjunction with Body Locks (Bandhas) to awaken and channel Kundalini Shakti (energy) from the lower centers (chakras) to the higher ones. You should practice this set by using the modifications provided and move to the more advanced techniques only after mastering and feeling physically comfortable with the easier versions.
This kundalini yoga kriya, uses all three bandhas — root lock (mula bandha), abdominal lock (uddiyana bandha) and neck lock (jalandhara bandha) — to propel kundalini from one chakra to the next is sequence. The energy is brought first to the lower chakras (root, sex, naval) activating them, then moved to the heart chakra and throat chakra, and finally to the 3rd eye and crown chakra.
Benefits of Kundalini Awakening Raja Yoga Kriya:
As Kundalini is channeled upwards, the organs, glands and nerve junctions along the path are targeted with energy and their functioning rejuvenated and improved. Although this set helps the digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems, it is especially effective in strengthening your nervous system. Furthermore, this set helps bring energy into the brain region promoting greater power of awareness and intelligence.
Description of Kundalini Awakening Raja Yoga Kriya:
The following 3 body locks will be used in the practice of this kundalini yoga kriya so I will describe them first and then provide the details for the set.
Root Lock (Mula Bandha): To apply root lock you should contract the rectum, sex organ and naval (lower abdominal region) by pulling these 3 muscle groups up and in.
Abdominal Lock (Uddiyana Bandha): To apply abdominal lock (also called diaphragm lock) you should pull the abdominal muscles up and in under the rib cage.
Neck Lock (Jalandhara Bandha): To apply neck lock draw your chin back and slightly down (like a soldier at attention) creating tension in the back of the neck and causing a compression of the throat region.
Triple Lock (Maha Bandha): Maha Bandha is when all 3 locks above are applied together.
There are some variations to the locks described above, but for this set they should be applied as described.
Beginners version of Kundalini Awakening Raja Yoga Kriya:
- Sit up straight with your legs crossed (sukh asana). You can sit on a chair as well, but sukh asana is preferred.
- Hold onto your knees with your hands. This is called Drona Mudra.
- Inhale deeply, then exhale and while holding your breath Out, apply and release Root Lock 1 time(s).
- Now inhale, then exhale and while holding your breath out, apply and release Root Lock plus Abdominal Lock 1 time(s). So apply both locks together and release them together, not one at a time.
- Now inhale, then exhale and while holding your breath out, apply and release Root Lock, plus Abdominal Lock, plus Neck Lock 1 time(s).
- Inhale, then exhale and repeat the entire cycle increasing the count by 1 to 2, 3, 4… up to 8. So for each count you will do just Root Lock, then Root Lock + Abdominal Lock, then Root Lock + Abdominal Lock + Neck Lock.
- Once you finish the 8 count, inhale and interlace your fingers having the index finger pointing upward. They raise your arms straight up such that the upper arms are hugging your ears. Now exhale again and while holding your breath out, apply Triple Lock (Maha Bandha). Hold Maha Bandha with breath held out while stretching up with your arms. At the same time visualize energy flowing up your spine from the base to the crown of your head. Hold as long as comfortable and then release.
- Relax on your back in Shav Asana (corpse pose) for 5 minutes.
Intermediate version of Kundalini Awakening Raja Yoga Kriya:
- All the steps are the same as the beginner version, except work from a count of 1 all the way to 12. In addition, apply Maha Bandha with extended arms and visualization 3 times. Each time holding with breath held out for as long as comfortable. Don’t forget to relax in shav asana at the end :-).
Advanced version of Kundalini Awakening Raja Yoga Kriya:
- All the steps are the same as the intermediate version, except work from a count of 1 all the way to 16. Again you will apply Maha Bandha 3 times at the end and relax afterwards.
Hints, Tips and Cautions for Kundalini Awakening Raja Yoga Kriya:
- Students very much liked this kriya during our Kundalini Yoga teacher’s training course, but at the same time this is the one kriya which has also created difficulty for students in my classes. So, take your time as you develop mastery over this set. Move ahead systematically. Any pranayama exercise that requires breath suspension should be approached with caution.
- Since this set is stirring Kundalini a little more directly, you should generally be in good health and good physical condition before undertaking its practice.
This concludes the Kundalini Awakening Raja Yoga Kriya.