What is the difference between Kundalini Yoga and Hatha Yoga?
Both Kundalini Yoga and Hatha Yoga contain asana and breath. They both aim to increase flexibility and awareness, decrease stress, and move you toward the union of body, mind, and spirit.
Kundalini Yoga has a spiritual teacher who brought this teaching to the West. Yogi Bhajan taught and inspired many and, though he died in 2004, his teachings are carried on by his students. You’ll often hear him quoted by KY teachers. In Kundalini Yoga, there is a belief that each of us has within us a dormant energy that resides at the base of the spine called Kundalini Shakti. Kundalini translates to mean ‘curl of the beloved’ Many asanas target this energy and aim to activate and awaken it.
Hatha Yoga was originally developed by aesthetics that lived secluded lives in the mountains far from civilization. At it’s core, it is a slow process for those that can dedicate themselves to 20 years of isolation.
Kundalini is the Yoga of the Householder. It is for those that have families and jobs yet wish to follow the spiritual path. Originally it was only for the elite, Kings, Queens and the wealthy. Yogi Bhajan felt the need to help people in the West and brought the teachings out to the common people.
Instead of “Om,” we tune in with the mantra “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo,” which means “I call on the divine teacher within.” Mantra and Meditation are incorporated in every class.
Kundalini Yoga has an extensive amount of beautiful mantras. There are mantras for everything under the sun: for protection, for inner peace, for courage, for intuition, for happiness. Unlike most yogic traditions that draw on Sanskrit mantras, almost all of Kundalini Yoga’s mantras are in the Gurmukhi language, from the Sikh culture.
The teachings are handed down in direct link with the original teachers. Therefor in order to practice we do not alter the teachings. The Kriyas (exercise sets) focus of specific things. It could be spinal health, opening pathways to better communication or even balancing sexual energy. The Kriyas use dynamic movement as opposed to static postures commonly found in Hatha.
In Iyengar and Anusara classes, the teacher may emphasize very specific alignment issues, such as the placement of individual fingers on the mat. KY focuses less on alignment and more on the internal energy — circulation, glandular secretions, and raising the Kundalini energy.
In Kundalini you will see the Teacher and many students wearing white and a head covering. This is because the colour white extends the aura an additional three feet from the body and is a protective colour. Wearing a head peice is to contain the energy from the crown chakra. If a traditional turban is worn, it will also help to align the cranial bones and help with posture.
All forms of Yoga are aimed to achieve the same end result. Choose to experience the deep spirituality of Kundalini Yoga if it calls to you.