Not long ago someone asked me if I taught kundalini yoga. The fact is, that ALL yoga is kundalini yoga inasmuch as labelling different “styles” of yoga began in our Western world. Certainly it is not traditional because at its core (pardon the pun), when taught properly, yoga is yoga. All styles have, at their essence, the same philosophy and the same goal (to not be attached to!).
The “kunda” is no different from what is described as the”Tantien” in China or the “Hara” in Japanese culture. Tantien actually means “brain” and “Hara” is described as being like the horizon, in other words, “The place between heaven and earth”. It’s the magical place that also relates to your first three chakras – the base, sacral and solar plexus/navel chakras. Interestingly, Manipura (navel chakra) translates to mean something along the lines of “city of gems”. This suggests there is a wealth of riches available here – if we are willing and able to tap in.
The whole area corresponds with our enteric nervous system – the gut – sometimes called our “feeling brain”. Yoga and Ayurvedic philosophy has always understood that any illness will have its roots right here.
In order to tap in and utilise this area in a way that promotes strength as well as health – mental and physical – we must first learn how to relax; to rest and digest. In my experience as a teacher, many people with muscular-skeletal problems in their hips, backs, necks and shoulders are holding on to tension here. Unfortunately, particularly women – because our culture dictates that it is necessary to have a tight tummy. We have also been advised to constantly squeeze the pelvic floor. Consequently, I meet many women who can no longer access and/or isolate their rectus abs as I am doing here in the image (“nauli“). But on a more serious level, this inability to move and soften the belly in a way that massages the internal organs, may lead to problems with fertility and other dangerous endocrine/gut issues over time.
Never confuse tension with muscle strength. Muscle control means being able to engage and activate as well as soften and relax. Work on your “kunda” by breathing into your tummy, massaging your tummy and embracing your jelly belly as often as you can. The body is intelligent so trust that with the right postural tweaks and correct form, the core muscles will activate when necessary – at least most of the time.