By Faye Martins
The practice of Kundalini Yoga began its origins, during the first century, in Kashmir. It is based on a philosophical system called Kashmir Shaivism. The philosophy is deeply rooted in tantric Yoga techniques from Kashmir and falls broadly under the spectrum of Hinduism. The tantric initiation was classically handed down, in secret, from Guru to student, only after a long period of committed service and preparation on the part of the student. After some years with the teacher, the student was often directed to return to his or her home, and continues to live, immersed in God’s love, while fulfilling all necessary familial and householder responsibilities.
For many practitioners, Kundalini Yoga is known as the mother of all Yogic disciplines. Ultimately, the goal of Yogic techniques is to unite the student with the divine energy that lies at the heart of our beings. The practical philosophy, of Kundalini Yoga, is based on a belief that there is an energy called the Kundalini Shakti, which lies coiled at the base of our spines, at approximately the fourth vertebrae. According to Kundalini Yoga philosophy, this energy can be awakened with ardent spiritual practices, such as asanas, meditation, recitation of slokas, and breathing exercises. Traditionally, this inner awakening could only be granted to a disciple, through the divine grace of an enlightened master, through shaktipat or divine initiation.
The philosophy of Kundalini Yoga is ultimately rooted in the very esoteric and mystical tantric practices of Kashmir Shaivism. Over the centuries, this knowledge has been handed down from teacher to student in shrouded and sacred surroundings. Lord Shiva, himself, is held to be the original Guru of this lineage. One of the most beautiful aspects of Kashmir Shaivism is the concept of Aham. It is the concept of the supreme reality of the heart that is the non-dual abode of Shiva himself. The Gurukula is another wonderful philosophical tenet of Kashmir Shaivism; and hence, Kundalini Yoga. Gurukula is generally translated as a family, or group, that is interconnected by the experience of Shiva’s grace. A Yoga studio, where Kundalini Yoga practitioners gather, to do sadhana, or spiritual practices, is a modern version of a kula.
Kundalini Yoga is said to be the mother of all Yogic disciplines because the practices ignite and nourish the Kundalini Shakti herself. Truly, it is a Yoga of conscious grace-filled awakening. A regular practice of Kundalini Yoga enhances well-being, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually, as well. This ancient set of practices is deeply rooted in the tantric branch of Hinduism, known as Kashmir Shaivism. Ardent, and uninterrupted Kundalini Yoga practices, will help to unleash the primordial creative potential that lies at the heart of every human being.
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