How My Hatha Practice Has Changed Due to Studying Kundalini Yoga
For some reason, I have been feeling a pull to do more Hatha style yoga in my daily practice. This started as adding a sun salutation before I tuned in and has evolved to today, where I am doing close to a full Hatha set before starting my Kriyas.
I appreciate the increased stretch and space and openess that hatha brings. I also noticed that I bring a different awareness to my Hatha practice now that I’ve been practicing Kundalini for a couple of years. A few specific areas where I’ve noticed this change:
- My consciousness is more able to simultaneously be present in different places throughout my body
- I chant during poses
- In general I tend to hold poses longer – this is because I either loose myself in chanting or because my breathes are much longer and deeper now
- When this is not the case, I notice that my flow is tied to a much more powerful breath
- I am aware of more space within my body and energy field
- I will often pause for brief meditations between asanas
- I can feel the sun and moon energies much more distinctly
Although I love my Hatha practice, I also recognize that Kundalini is more effective in some areas. One specific example is with side twists. There are a number of really great side twists in Hatha and I used to practice several of them daily. However, now I do the kriya where you place your hands on your shoulders and breath in left then twist and breath out right. When I start to do Hatha twists now, I sort of laugh at myself and say “3 minutes of kriya twisting will do you better.”
My teacher, Elizabeth Gurumukh, would often say that she has kept a Hatha practice along with her Kundalini one. I suppose that after a few years of intense Kundalini practice, I am beginning to find this balance as well.
I must express gratitude to BKS Iyengar for his teachings and lineage, which was my practice for many many years, because when I practice now, the anatomical alignment is so natural that I get to focus on the deeper elements of the asanas.