Kundalini is one of the "gentler" types of yoga in that it is less strenuous and physically demanding compared to the fast-paced styles like Ashtanga or Bikram Yoga. Kundalini Yoga is all about achieving concentration and a sense of focus while increasing your flexibility by doing, and transitioning to, different yoga positions at a slower pace. Kundalini Yoga is among the more popular styles of yoga because Kundalini Yoga poses can be done by people of all ages, regardless of the level of flexibility or practice. Here are some examples of the basic poses you can expect to do at a Kundalini Yoga class.
Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
The Lotus Pose is often used as a starter pose in any yoga class because it places the body in a position conducive to meditation and breathing. At the same time, it also conditions the body to maintain proper posture – which is something you would need to sustain in practically every pose in every style of yogic practice. To do the Lotus Pose, sit cross-legged on the mat with the feet turned out and upward facing the ceiling. Make sure that your feet do not sickle, as doing so would result in ankle injuries. Keep your back straight and let your hands fall to your lap as you meditate and establish a steady breathing pattern. Do not do this pose if you feel any tension in your knees.
Tree Pose (Vrkasana)
The Tree Pose is as meditational as it is physical – just like every other yoga pose out there. It teaches concentration and focus as you try to balance your weight on one leg. Start by standing tall, arms at the sides. Bend one leg with the knee pointed to the side, and place your foot against the opposite thigh. You can put your hands together in front of your chest as you balance, or raise them overhead with your palms together.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
This is often used to end yoga sessions because of its restorative nature. Most people think this is the easiest pose because it basically just involves lying on your back with your arms and legs on the floor. Truth is, it's one of the most challenging because it requires silence, stillness, and total relaxation – which is something that not a lot of people are able to do because it requires blocking out all physical and mental distractions and detaching yourself from the daily worries and stresses of life.
Cat-Cow Pose (Marjarasana-Bidalasana)
The Cat-Cow is actually composed of two different poses but is referred to as one because they are almost always done together. The Cat-Cow Pose involves getting on all fours with your knees at hip-width distance. On the inhale, you do the Cow pose and lift your head and chest toward the ceiling and let your tummy drop. As you exhale, you do the Cat pose wherein you stretch your back upward and bring your chin towards the chest.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
The Cobra Pose does excellent work in stretching the back, strengthening the arm muscles, and relieving lower back pain. To do this pose, lie on your tummy with your legs and shins touching the mat, and your arms close to the sides. Bend your elbows and plant your hands flat on the mat near your shoulders. Then, using your arms for support, lift your upper body so that your back forms an arch, and lift your head up toward the ceiling.
Kundalini Yoga is markedly different from other forms of yoga, such as Ashtanga or Bikram. The focus is placed so much more on the mental and spiritual capacities that the poses involved in the practice are usually played around with, offering more variation to accommodate the theme of the day. Fortunately, Kundalini Yoga is a very free-spirited exercise so what is more important is that you enter the class with an open heart and mind than an open body.