Wendy Morgan and Holly Henty
Long known to Westerners is the idea that yoga is good for the mind, body and spirit, and we can build strength, balance and flexibility relatively quickly by attending class regularly. From vinyasa to power yoga, hot yoga and yin yoga, locals have access to a wide array of classes in RVA. A lesser-known type of yoga—kundalini yoga—directly targets energy flow in the body, benefiting the central nervous system. Subtle and profound shifts occur on an energetic level that can reduce stress and anxiety and increase joy.
Local yoga teacher Holly Henty, who is specially trained in kundalini yoga, says it is known as the yoga of awareness. It is a fast and effective way to clear the mind, energize the body and uplift the spirit. For Henty, kundalini yoga is an opening to the awareness that we are already whole.
“The first time I tried kundalini yoga, I felt my heart had come home,” says Henty. “It helped me become open, present and joyful—not because of an outside circumstance, but through a process of remembering my true nature. The classes are designed in such a way that we become aware of what we have always been—pure love and joy.”
As taught by Yogi Bhajan, who brought this form of yoga to the U.S. in 1968, kundalini yoga opens a path to deliver an experience of the highest consciousness to find sacred purpose in life. Practicing kundalini yoga keeps the body in shape, increases vitality and trains the mind to be strong and flexible when faced with stress and change. To some, it can feel like a therapy session, because it raises awareness of imbalances in the body, brain and spirit, while helping to rebalance.
Classes consist of at least one kriya followed by deep relaxation and meditation. Each kriya, or yoga set, is a complete practice that can include a guiding theme along with a dynamic blend of breathwork, chanting and postures. According to Bhajan, kundalini yoga balances the glandular system, strengthens the nervous system and enhances creative potential, self-healing, heightened intuition and emotional peace. No experience is necessary and everyone can fully participate at their own level.
With focus on moving breath throughout the body, kundalini yoga directly targets the central nervous system. Local kundalini yoga teacher Wendy Morgan had a conventional Westernized hatha yoga practice where she gained strength and flexibility when she realized she was only experiencing one aspect of what yoga is all about, the physical.
“Kundalini yoga touches us on the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and energetic levels of being human all in a fun, interesting and challenging package,” she says. For her, kundalini yoga is a complete and authentic practice in which she feels more clear and less frazzled.
Kundalini yoga classes are available at a number of area studios, including Adya Yoga and Ayurveda, Health Link, Healthy Life Yoga, Project Yoga Richmond, Studio D and Yoga Source.