Aside from improving the physical body and health, yoga is ultimately a path of positive transformation involving both a philosophy and a practice designed to help you learn who you really are and along the way replacing negativity with loving kindness.
The most ancient text we have describing yoga is Patanjali's literary masterpiece Yoga Sutras written between 500 BC and 200 AD. This book defines yoga as the stilling of all the noise and busy-ness in consciousness and literally calming down the mind, body and heart for the welfare and wellbeing of humankind.
Patanjali does not focus primarily on the yoga postures (asanas) even though they are an important part of yoga and indeed kundalini yoga. Instead Patanjali recognised 8 powerful aspects, or 'limbs', of yoga. Together, these 8 'limbs' comprise a complete practice to refine and awaken bodily, mind and heart intelligence and health.
Kundalini Yoga ultimately works with all 8 Limbs and can sometimes be called the 'Mother of all Yogas'. Each kundalini yoga class uses yoga postures (asanas), breath work (pranayama), sound (naad), chanting (mantra and bhakti), hand postures (mudras), gentle eye concentration (tratakum), meditation and prayer for a complete approach to yoga.
Kundalini Yoga can also be referred to as the 'Yoga of Awareness', as true to the origins of all yoga as a philosophy and practice designed to teach us who we are, it calms the mind and heart to cultivate a natural union with one's innate 'Light of Awareness'. Yoga in its broadest sense includes a belief in a permanent, Divine inner light of awareness within a world that is constantly changing and increasingly pressured. A personal union between yourself and a greater One connects you to inner wisdom and is the meaning of yoga. Sat Nam is a mantra often used in Kundalini Yoga and translates as Truth is My Identity or I am part of the Absolute. This is a biij or seed mantra in Kundalini Yoga which means that it is a meditative seed which will sprout and grow with ongoing practice.
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