Sun Salutation on a Deeper Level
Tantric Kundalini yoga is not simply about chakra meditation. While meditation is important you also need to release physical, emotional and energetic blockages from your body. Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskara is often seen as a warm-up exercise for yoga practice. However, if you practice it as a flowing meditation with chakra focus (as a Kundalini Kriya) you will experience benefits that are deeper than you imagine.
Sun Salutation combines physical movement, asana, mudra, mantra and breath awareness. The controlled practice of these different elements is what creates the Kriya.
Practicing Surya Namaskara as a kriya helps deepen mindfulness in your overall yoga practice. In my experience, Sun Salutation plays an important role for students seeking Kundalini awakening.
Opening The Energy Body
Kundalini students are often very focused on spiritual growth but, in order to experience kundalini awakening it is a necessary first step to open up the energy body.
Practicing sun salutation every day works improves energy flow throughout your body, exercises all the major muscles and increases flexibility of the spine. It also oxygenates the blood and prepares your body for meditation and kriyas. Synchronizing your breath with body movements in an uninterrupted rhythm during the sequence activates your chakras.
Practicing pranayamas and sun salutation every morning lays the foundation for activating dormant Kundalini energy in your body, in addition to numerous documented health benefits.
What is kundalini yoga
Kundalini Yoga originates from the Tantric tradition. The Kundalini is an untapped energy residing at the base of your spine. It can be awakened and raised up through the body through the seven chakras from Mooladhara to Saharshara. Full enlightenment (Samadhi) occurs when the kundalini energy reaches the chakra at the crown of your head (Saharshar) and your consciousness reaches the highest level.
This method of Kundalini works strongest for your personal transformation. By gradually and safely awakening and employing your Shakti power, you will benefit greatly from an elevation of consciousness, greater physical well-being and expansion of awareness. Eventually, practicing Kundalini Kriyas will help you live a harmonious and balanced life full of compassion.
Kundalini yoga can change your life
Kundalini yoga has the potential to change your personality and make you a better version of yourself. If you practice Kundalini Yoga every day you will experience Kundalini awakening in your chakras, which will alter your personality by moving you away from your fears. As an effect, you will become a more loving, compassionate and heart-centered person.
When your Kundalini energy awakens you will begin to think creatively out of the box and develop your intuitive mind. Good health, willpower, concentration, youth, vigor, vitality, and peace are all-natural outcomes of Kundalini awakening as you go deeper into your daily Kundalini practice over a period of time. You are likely to lose your ego and start living your life guided by your heart and intuitive wisdom without prejudices.
How to practice kundalini yoga
Traditional Kundalini Yoga from India involves a series of meditation techniques (kriyas) that aims at cleansing your chakras and raising your kundalini energy. Unlike a popular physical variant practiced in the West in India (taught by Yogi Bhajan) the traditional form of Kundalini Yoga is about drawing your awareness inward to your center (Atman).
What are chakras
Awakening the chakras can have a powerful impact on your life.
When your Manipura chakra, at the belly button, is open you will gain superpowers. You will need less sleep and experience a high-energy mode. When your heart chakra is open you meet the world from the heart, and it may seem as if you are sitting under a wish granting tree because your wishes will come true. So be careful what you wish for!
When your Vishuddhi chakra is active you may expand your physical and mental youth. As you achieve enlightenment in the Ajna chakra you will lose your ego and understand everything from an altruistic viewpoint.
In my experience, many students impatiently proceed directly to the awakening of the higher chakras. However, you need to first deal with your traumas in your lower chakras to be able to overcome your fears and meet the world with beauty, creativity and compassion.
Full Kundalini awakening happens in the Crown chakra. To get there you need to find that space of balance between body and mind (when Ida and Pingala energy channels are in balance). Once the energy unites in the Sushumna channel the Kundalini energy can rise.
Most importantly you need to lay the physical foundation for Kundalini awakening first and find your balance of body and mind before this can happen. Sun salutation should therefore be on top of your list of daily practice.
Sun salutation as Kundalini Kriya
Evolving your sun salutation into a Kundalini Kriya implies three phases.
In the first phase, you need to learn the correct way of practicing sun salutation in a flow with full mastery of the movements. You don’t need to practice perfectly, but it is important that you know the correct way and the correct positions that you are moving towards. Only when you master the gradual process of inhaling and exhaling throughout the full movement are you ready to internalize the energy of the sun.
In the second phase you are ready to immerse yourself in a dynamic meditation mode. You initiate by centering yourself and finding that space of inner stillness between your body and mind.
Close your eyes and imagine the heat of the sun entering into your body. Then perform the movements as a meditation moving slowly with breath awareness.
In the last phase, you focus on how the energy is moving through your chakras, shifting from one chakra to another. You may chant mantras that acknowledge the power and the greatness of the sun. If you feel uncomfortable with reciting mantras as you move, you can also recite these prior to your movement or you can play these mantras while you are moving.
Where to practice
You can practice in any place where you feel cozy and secure. Practicing in nature can intensify the experience. I have personally experienced the sensation of floating while practicing in nature. You can completely lose yourself in a deep meditational mode when you practice above the subtle waves of the sea, the wind moving in the leaves or the apples falling from the tree.
The benefits of sun salutation
Sun salutation is a dynamic yoga practice where the yogi dynamically moves through 12 asanas making an cyclical rotation between 8 different asanas.
Take a minute to envision how the practice of sun salutation can help your body to open up for your kundalini energy. The sun is your source of life and energy. With Surya Namaskar you can internalize the power of the sun to handle your everyday life with more surplus, balance, and vitality. It stabilizes the body-mind connection and thereby lays the foundation for raising your Kundalini energy.