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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > October 2018 > STRIKE A calming pose

STRIKE A calming pose

Think a chanting, meditative yoga isn’t for you? Think again. More people are finding kundalini yoga to be the perfect antidote to a hectic life and a way of dealing with emotional ups and downs. By Hannah Ebelthite

HATHA, HOT, ASTANGA… You’ve heard of and maybe tried these popular classes. But there’s an ancient form of yoga that’s becoming increasingly popular, because its benefits go further than stretching and flexing limbs. Many people searching for a form of exercise, stress relief and all-round boost to their wellbeing are discovering the calming influence of the regular practice of kundalini yoga.

But what makes it different? ‘It’s a very complete form of yoga,’ says London-based kundalini teacher Natalie Fishwick (shown opposite). ‘Many Western types of yoga focus on the postures or poses (also known as asanas) and the physical side of the practice. But kundalini combines asanas, mantras and sound vibration, mudras (hand gestures), meditation and breathwork. Every posture becomes more powerful when the other elements are involved.’

The healing power of KUNDALINI YOGA

The ancient origins

The term kundalini refers to the life force or spiritual energy said to be located at the base of the spine – it’s usually imagined as a coiled up serpent. Practising kundalini yoga is supposed to ‘awaken the serpent’ and send energy (or prana) up the spine through the six chakras (centres of energy) to the seventh crown chakra at the top of the head. This triggers a higher state of consciousness or spiritual awakening. Originally, this ancient, secret form of yoga wasn’t taught openly. Then Yogi Bhajan, who had mastered the form by the time he was 16, took the view that there were people searching for answers and truth who would also benefit from its teachings, so he brought it from India to the US in the 1960s, and now it’s going mainstream. Russell Brand favours its meditative style, while Oprah, who loves the accompanying music (sung most famously by Snatam Kaur), chants regularly. ‘We call it the Mother of all yogas,’ says Natalie. ‘If you’ve tried other forms of yoga you’ll recognise some of the postures, but there are many more that are unique to kundalini.’

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About Healthy Food Guide

Our October issue has everything you need for a good night’s sleep to improve your health and wellbeing. Our nutritionist pinpoints the best foods for zzzz, and sleep experts help you get your mind and body in the right place. Plus there’s a £1,000 bed set to be won! Cooking on a budget? We’ve got easy recipes for students (and emotional advice for parents left behind) and new cheap & cheerful – and healthy – meals from Jamie Oliver. It’s your number one spot for latest health advice, too, with an update on blood pressure.