5 Ways Kundalini Yoga Can Help You Create the Life You Want

Feel like you need a life change, or to craft better, healthier habits and a more consistent practice? Consider Kundalini. Here’s why it really works.

Are you ready to discover your life’s purpose and activate your fullest potential? Kundalini Yoga is an ancient practice that helps you channel powerful energy and transform your life. And now there is an accessible, easy way to learn how to incorporate these practices into your practice and life. Yoga Journal’s online 6-week online course Kundalini 101: Create the Life You Want offers you mantras, mudras, meditations, and kriyas that you’ll want to practice every day. Sign up now!

Kundalini Yoga is the yoga of deep awareness and transformation. We cannot practice Kundalini Yoga without experiencing magical shifts. I was certified in Hatha yoga before my certification in Kundalini Yoga. I love them both. However, when I need a miracle or the ability to break free of limiting beliefs or fears, Kundalini Yoga is my go-to practice. And here’s why:

1. Kundalini Yoga clears blocks in your energy field.

Kundalini Yoga is a magical science that uses sound, mantra, energy healing, exercises and meditations to release trauma from the energetic body, which surrounds the physical body. It is this field, known as the aura, that holds wounds. When those wounds are healed, radiance can occur. Radiance is the magnetic frequency that draws in beauty, love, and light. Attracting abundance into your life starts in the subtle (energetic) body–not the mind.

Kundalini Yoga helps us recognize that abundance is our birthright and living from our hearts is the surest path to prosperity. When we are able to listen to the whispers of the heart, we are able to tap into the magnetic force of the universe, which is love. When we live in that frequency of love, we feel gratitude. Like attracts like, and therefore gratitude attracts more gratitude.

New Moon Flow: A Playlist for the First Lunar Phase

Hoping to find the perfect music to listen to during the new moon? This playlist from #YJInfluencer Lauren Eckstrom will help you harness the moon’s comforting energy.

Many of us are familiar with the sun’s energy through Sun Salutations, but what about the moon? The moon is full of tranquil, feminine energy that can be tapped into as we move and flow. This energy is rejuvenating and restorative, and this playlist will be the soundtrack of support.

See also Soothing Moonshine: Chandra Namaskar

1. “Intention Feat Morley,” EarthRise SoundSystem
2. “Halving The Compass,” Helios
3. “Beyond This Moment,” Patrick O’Hearn
4. “Somewhere Within Your Soul,” ID3
5. “Dunes,” Chequerboard
6. “Soon It Will Be Cold Enough To Build Fires,” Emancipator
7. “Everything,” Yinyues
8. “Bring You Back,” Beacon
9. “Chesapeake,” Evenings
10. “Anthem,” Emancipator
11. “Know Where,” Holy Other
12. “All the Same,” Vieux Farka Touré
13. “Floating Sweetness,” DJ Drez
14. “Play Delicate, Desire Quiet,” Grace Cathedral Park
15. “Horizon,” Garth Stevenson
16. “Surya,” Todd Boston
17. “Dawn,” Garth Stevenson

8 Top Yoga Teachers Give Their Best Advice for Finding Bravery in Inversions

Why you might be nervous:

A lot of people believe they aren’t strong enough, or that they weigh too much to balance. All that stuff just isn’t true. With proper alignment and practice, you can do this. 

Sara’s tips:

Create an empowering mantra. Envision that you’re already in the pose, and meditate on how you feel when you’re in the inversion. This will melt fear away. Also, go slowly. Most people think the faster they kick, the quicker they will invert. But that doesn’t honor the laws of physics! When you slow down, you can use proper alignment and feel more in control of your body. It also gives you the chance to fall out safely when needed. 

See also: 4 Steps to Free Yourself From Fear of Inversions

22 Travel Essentials for Your Next Yoga Retreat

Crafted from reinforced brushed merino fleece with deep pockets and a slightly tailored fit, these pants serve as serious luxury loungewear. Plus, you can dress them up or down without sacrificing any comfort. Pair them with Icebreaker’s TABI Deice Long Sleeve V for a complete travel outfit!

$180, icebreaker.com

See also Best of 2017: YJ Editor Top Picks in Yoga Pants, Props, Malas + Mats

Quiz: What Kind of YTT Is Right for You?

What’s the difference between a 300-hour and a 500-hour YTT? You’re not the only one who’s confused. Whether you’re an experienced yoga teacher looking to deepen your practice or just beginning to think about teaching, this quiz can help you figure out which yoga teacher training format is the best fit for you and your goals.

The Secret to Getting Out of a Rut & Into Living Your Most Vibrant, Authentic Life

Do you feel stuck? In part 4 of this kriya yoga series, yoga teacher Laura Riley shares three stages of svadhyaya practice to help you live life as who you truly are.

When our spiritual lives and day-to-day actions are out of sync, we lose the ability to intuit. Yes, intuit as a verb. (As Deepak Chopra said, “There are no nouns in this alive universe.”) The less we intuit, the more disconnected we are from our selves, and the more inert we feel. The solution to this is internal activism, a practice of many parts including svadhyaya, or self-study.

Svadhyaya is one of the components of kriya yoga, the yoga of action.

I think of svadhyaya as a differentiating factor (that and the breath) between exercising and practicing asana. In asana, you move in ways that stretch and tone your body. That alone is a healthy endeavor but doesn’t give you any insight about your physical, emotional, or mental wellbeing. If, however, you pay attention to how your body, breath, and mood feel as you’re moving through asanas—or at least compare the beginning versus the end of practice—that is yoga. It is yoga because you are studying the self, noticing how choices and movements affect you, and perhaps even feeling gratitude in the process.

What If You Tried These 3 Tips to Grow Into the Best Version of Yourself?

If you want to reach your full potential, Baron Baptiste suggests starting with self-inquiry.

Want to unlock an unexpected world of possibility in your practice—and your life? Then Yoga Journal’s upcoming course The Power of Play Bootcamp is for you. Baron Baptiste—veteran yoga teacher and founder of the Baptiste Institute and Baptiste Foundation—will lead you through four weeks of meditation, asana, and self-inquiry specifically designed to spark awakening and growth. Start the new year with a powerful perspective—and discover how to put it into action.

The act of being open to discovering something you haven’t seen before is the first step in turning your life into something greater. But you have to know where to look. The best place is within. I call this “inquiry,” or svadhyaya in Sanskrit. Your willingness to discover yourself also acknowledges that you haven’t arrived and that there is more to learn. As B.K.S. Iyengar said, “The minute you think you’ve arrived, you get squashed like a bug.”

Inquiry can bring about empowering and permanent shifts in your quality of life, health, and being. That’s the work that we focus on in my new course The Power of Play Bootcamp.

I’ve learned that it’s good to remember that there is always more to learn and more to discover about who I am—my strengths, my gifts, my flaws, my fears, my pain, and my compulsions. I’ve seen that the instant I become filled up with my “knowingness” and know-how about something I tend to get stuck.

Sometimes, too, if you’re anything like me, you might get caught up in self-destructive patterns. But if we can see those patterns clearly for what they are and unlock the unresolved past, then it’s possible for that old energy to disintegrate in the light of our awareness. Then it begins to lose its grip on us and wither away. There is tremendous power in just knowing what is going on within—not so you can “work on your stuff,” but so you can begin to integrate it, shine light on it, heal it, and ultimately release it. If there is something or someone to forgive, you can open up to doing that work in yourself and creating a new way.

Why You May Want to Start Cross-Training for Chaturanga

“Practice and all is coming?” Maybe not Chaturanga, actually, says Yoga Deconstructed® creator Trina Altman. Here she explains how she finally built enough strength to do the pose both safely and pain-free.

In an ideal Chaturanga, you use stability and strength throughout your body to lower yourself with control, keeping your head, ribs, and hips in one connected plane. Until very recently, a lack of upper-body strength had always made pushing exercises like this a challenge for me. I had been unsuccessfully trying to do a push-up since PE class in elementary school—and unsuccessfully trying to do a Chaturanga since my first vinyasa flow class in 2003. And I’m not alone. Many yogis lack the strength to maintain proper form in this pose, collapsing in the low back, shoulders, or neck or maybe even experiencing pain in the wrists, shoulders, or back.

According to this calculation, you need to be able to bench-press 56 percent of your body weight to do a push-up with good form. For Chaturanga, because the narrower position of the arms shifts the load, you need that strength specifically in the smaller muscles, like the triceps and anterior deltoids, instead of the larger and stronger pectoralis major muscle.

Why It Took More Than Practice to Perfect My Chaturanga

When I️ was growing up in the ’70’s and ’80’s, the way we were taught new gymnastics stunts, such as back handsprings and handstands, was by practicing them with a spotter or on our own on a big squishy mat. The idea was that if you practiced them enough, eventually one day, you’d be able to do the skill. Unfortunately, many yoga poses are still taught with the same old-school mentality despite modern exercise science’s understanding of the importance of cross-training and regression—breaking moves down into smaller pieces and mastering those before putting them back together. Chaturanga is a perfect example.

3 Ways to Celebrate Self-Love This Valentine’s Day

“If you go underneath your habits and underneath your immediate experience, you will find the capacity for growth, for change, for wisdom, for love that’s never, ever destroyed,” says Sharon Salzberg, meditation teacher and author of Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection, in her Untangle podcast interview with Meditation Studio last year. “It may be covered over—it usually is. It may be hard to find, and it certainly may be hard to trust, but it’s there. There’s nothing that we can go through that will make that not be true.” Instead of seeing love as a thing your family, friends, and romantic partner give you, truly embrace the knowledge that it is something you have within you at all times.

See also 10 Ways to Love Yourself (More) in the Modern World

3 Steps to Revolutionize How You Handle Your Next Personal Challenge

Faced with a tough situation? Baron Baptiste says “overcoming” isn’t the way through. Letting it be is.

Want to unlock an unexpected world of possibility in your practice—and your life? Then Yoga Journal’s upcoming course The Power of Play Bootcamp is for you. Baron Baptiste—veteran yoga teacher and founder of the Baptiste Institute and Baptiste Foundation—will lead you through four weeks of meditation, asana, and self-inquiry specifically designed to spark awakening and growth. Start the new year with a powerful perspective—and discover how to put it into action.

I want to share something with you that I’ve learned about handling challenges and painful experiences. In the past, when something difficult came up, I’d focus on overcoming it. But experience has shown me that we never really overcome anything. At different points in my life, when I’ve tried to “overcome” a challenge, all I ended up with was a temporary sense of control. That’s how I learned there was a better way to move forward.

Instead by pausing and acknowledging what I was experiencing, I became able to see some of the heavier, more uncomfortable, hidden aspects of my unresolved past, things that were being triggered in a given situation. By embracing what I was feeling—pain, sadness, fear, resentment, or whatever was there—something unlocked and opened up in me. My energy shifted. It felt like something lifted and let me go.

From there, I found a freedom that let me see an alternative pathway and respond to the same situation differently. My default—and what I sense is the default for most of us—is not to pause and feel the pain and fear—experience what’s there. The default is to gloss over, ignore, or put up with the situation, pretend everything is fine. I always experience a deep fundamental shift in my being when I fully embrace what is underneath. That’s when a release valve opens, and old energy, fears, and pain release me from their grip, at least partially.