Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training
When Hal and I committed to our relationship 4 years ago, one of our commitments was to pursue healthy lifestyle choices of diet and yoga. It has been my dream for over 5 years to be a yoga teacher, and this week I am starting on that journey. I feel giddy just talking about it.
I remember talking to a yoga teacher of mine when I lived in Charleston 5 years ago, and telling her how I knew that one day I would be a yoga teacher, but I was still exploring the various yogas and had not found the one that deeply resonated with me. I have to thank Sierra Hollister, kundalini yoga teacher extraordinaire, for helping me start on the journey to become a Kundalini Yoga teacher sometime four years ago. (Sierra teaches on Monday mornings from 10:15 am – 11:45 and Thursday evenings from 7-8:30 at Asheville Yoga Center and on Tuesdays for lunch from noon- 1pm at One Center Yoga.)
Kundalini yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual discipline which is a consolidation of the highest physical and meditative techniques found in the teachings of Raja yoga, Shakti yoga, Bhakti yoga, tantra, Kriya yoga, Laya-yoga, Nada yoga and the pillars and Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. Kundalini yoga is called the yoga of awareness because it directly affects ones consciousness, develops intuition, increases self knowledge, and unleashes the unlimited creative potential that exists within every human being.
Mainstream traditions have shown that kundalini energy can be awakened and enlightenment attained by practicing a combination of yogic techniques—ideally following the guidance of a certified teacher—including the use of mantra, prana and breathing techniques, sadhana, asana practice, meditation, or purely through devotion and prayer.
According to one source, the word kundalini literally means “the curl of the lock of hair of the beloved.” It is a metaphor, a poetic way of describing the flow of energy and consciousness which already is said to exist within each person. The practices are said to enable the person to merge with or “yoke” the universal self. This merging of individual consciousness with the universal consciousness is said to create a “divine union” called “yoga”.
Kundalini is a Sanskrit word meaning either “coiled up” or “coiling like a snake.” There are a number of other translations of the term usually emphasizing a more serpent nature to the word – e.g. ‘serpent power’.
According to the yogic tradition Kundalini is curled up in the back part of the root chakra in three and one-half turns around the sacrum. Yogic phenomenology states that kundalini awakening is associated with the appearance of bio-energetic phenomena that are said to be experienced somatically by the yogi.
This appearance is also referred to as “pranic awakening”. Prana is interpreted as the vital, life-sustaining force in the body. Uplifted, or intensified life-energy is called pranotthana and is supposed to originate from an apparent reservoir of subtle bio-energy at the base of the spine. This energy is also interpreted as a vibrational phenomena that initiates a period, or a process of vibrational spiritual development.
The main emphasis is a difficult regime of breathing techniques meant to increase the store of “prana” in the body. The well known physical postures are only meant to be an aid to maintain peak physical fitness, so as to support the real work of the breathing practices. All of this has, according to tradition, to be accompanied by prolonged and unbroken meditation practice.
Thank you to these sources for the information and pictures for this blog.
Asheville Yoga Center http://youryoga.com
One Center Yoga http://onecenteryoga.com