Trying Kundalini Yoga

As you know, I think Gabrielle Bernstein is really freaking cool. I’m really into most of her work, and I’ve been vowing to tap more into my spiritual side lately. 

Jen and I are basically co-presidents of Gabby’s fan club, so when we saw she was hosting a Kundalini workshop, we decided to buy tickets.


Photo via her Facebook page

I trekked down to Chinatown after work in the cold to meet up with Jen at Golden Bridge Yoga (which is a really pretty space.) The line to register was nearly out the door, and I began wondering why I was there. I finally found Jen, got a big hug from her, and we went upstairs.

They handed me a mat, and I laid it down next to Jen’s. As more people piled in, we were encouraged to move our mats even closer. The closer mats get in yoga, the more anxious I get. So, totally defeating the point. But, the mats obviously weren’t going to get any further, so I knew I had to resign myself to the experience.

I should note here that I’d done Sculpt Fusion that morning and Cyc the night before, so my everything was ridiculously sore. (So sore that I tried adding milk to my coffee yesterday morning and lost total muscle control and poured half a container in. Which was fun.) 

For those of you unfamiliar with Kundalini yoga, it is very different from forms of yoga you are probably accustomed to. I’ve mostly done vinyasa yoga, which is one of the most popular styles. Kundalini focuses very heavily on the spiritual side of yoga (so, Laura, you’d hate it) and involves MANY long holds.

I’ve been to several of Gabby’s speaking events and I follow her on Spotify, so I had an idea of what I was getting myself in for. We began with an ego eradicator, and I nearly started crying…at my sore arms.

I wouldn’t really consider Kundalini yoga a type of exercise, but more a type of meditation. I’ve heard Kundalini can get really deep, and I heard several people in the room crying at one point. Maybe I was too tired, maybe I was expecting too much, maybe my poor muscles were too sore for all the holds, but I didn’t get as much out of this workshop as I expected. 

Towards the end, she asked us to imagine our lives as we wanted them to be, and I realized how little I’d change right now, and how happy I am with that. It makes the hard work I put in to get where I am so, so worth it. And, today was a serious marathon, so I am treating to myself to a nice early bedtime now because tomorrow will be AWESOME.

Have you ever tried Kundalini yoga? Were you able to get into it? If not…what’s your favorite kind of yoga?

17 comments on “Trying Kundalini Yoga

  1. Katie @ Talk Less, Say More

    One of my favorite yoga instructors (Gigi Yogini) would incorporate kundalini into our classes. We’d usually start with it and then progress into a more traditional vinyasa style class. You’re right, it’s VERY different and I think limiting it was helpful for me as an introduction to it. I haven’t found many that practice it where I am now…and oof! I would NOT want sore arms going into the ego eradicator!!

  2. Emily

    Hi Theodora! First off, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and am so appreciative of how real you are, especially in opening up about your anxiety. That being said, I struggle with anxiety myself, and am also a master’s level mental health counselor. In my grad program I took a weekend intensive course that was focused on alternative approaches to stress and illnesses. One day the professor had us practice kundalini yoga without really prefacing it or explaining the emotional impact it can have. That night I went home and was an emotional mess! Lots of tears and brewing feelings of “abandonment” and other feelings that I never feel or think of experiencing. As overwhelming as it was, I am actually really considering seeking out another class for it. It’s really incredible how much can “come up” from doing such a physical (rather than verbal/emotional) practice. Thanks for your post and don’t count kundalini out!

    1. Theodora Blanchfield Post author

      Hi! Thanks! You know, after reading this comment, I thought about the class and how I felt afterwards, and I *was* really angry after the class at something I shouldn’t have been so angry at – who knows, maybe it did bring up more than I realized. I do want to try it again though, but in a smaller setting.

      I’m so glad to hear that they’re teaching alternative approaches to stress/illness – I think alternative therapies can go so, so far.

  3. Marilyn

    I have not tried the Kundalini Yoga but was wondering what it was. I have tired meditation and had the experience of Kundalini Rising which causes a spiritual experience. I wonder if this type of Yoga helps with it. I know regular Yoga helps with relaxation. After the spiritual experience, life is challenging me to push through to reach my full potential in life. Some times it is so hard to go beyond the limits we set for ourselves. It also can be very rewarding if you have success.

  4. Kristen

    I haven’t ever tried Kundalini Yoga, but it is on my list of things to try at least twice in life. I have a deep love for Yin Yoga and Ashtanga yoga. Yin yoga for slowing me down and keeping me sane, and Ashtanga for how physically challenging it is.

  5. Jillian

    I took kundalini with Gabby at Wanderlust Stratton last summer… a pretty cool experience. I liked how different it was, but our class was very physical. Did she make you do those frog things?!

  6. Kristine

    I feel like this type of yoga would be the end of me. The spiritual (or “really yoga”) type of yoga… I just can’t get into. I also just about lose it when there isn’t an appropriate amount of space between my mat and my neighbors. I’m a big Vinyasa Flow fan… extra points when the instructor is also a runner and puts things into terms I can actually understand! Enjoy the ball tonight!! Can’t wait to hear about it.

  7. Valerie

    I don’t have a preference. All I know about yoga is that it brings me into the present moment and keeps me there.

    If I want to find peace, I get out the trusty yoga dvd and find it.

  8. Nicole

    Too bad it wasn’t a better experience.
    I would’ve been hyperventilating being that close to people and in such a crowded space.
    I am enjoying Kundalini in the privacy of my workout space. I can breathe, meditate, move around, and relax without the pressure of others.
    Some of the moves can get the heart rate up and tax your muscles (repeated movement with arms, legs, some core work).

  9. Amos Samuels

    Hi Theodora, thanks for sharing your experience of trying kundalini yoga. It is inspiring that you are working so hard. It seems that kundalini yoga is much different to the other types of yoga and it focuses more on the spiritual side of things. Recently I came across an article by SSRF on yoga that spoke about complementing yoga with spiritual practice such as chanting and meditation. What do you feel about this?


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.