In KY, there is a belief that each of us has within us a dormant energy that resides at the base of the spine. Many asanas target this energy and aim to activate and awaken it.
3. Tuning In. Right from the get-go, KY distinguishes itself. Instead of “om, ” we tune in with the mantra “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo, ” which means “I call on the divine teacher within.”
KY uses an energizing, rapid, rhythmic pranayama called breath of fire. Breath of fire is done by itself or along with certain postures.
5. Kriyas. Each KY class features at least one kriya (or series of exercises) designed to have a particular effect, such as Kriya for Elevation, Navel Adjustment Kriya, or Kriya for Conquering Sleep.
. KY has an enormous cannon of beautiful mantras. There are mantras for everything under the sun: for protection, for inner peace, for courage, for intuition, for happiness… I could go on and on. Unlike most yogic traditions that draw on Sanskrit mantras, almost all of KY’s mantras are in the Gurmukhi language.
7. Dynamic Postures. Many asanas in KY involve vigorous movement as opposed to static postures.
There are thousands of meditations in the KY tradition, each with a specific purpose. I’ve never been to or taught a KY class that didn’t include at least one meditation. Cultivating the meditative, neutral mind is paramount.
9. Not Alignment-Based. In Iyengar and Anusara classes, the teacher may emphasize very specific alignment issues, such as the placement of individual fingers on the mat. KY focuses less on alignment and more on the internal energy — circulation, glandular secretions, and raising the Kundalini energy.
The music of KY features Gurmukhi and English mantras, and it’s a gorgeous, inspiring, integral part of every class.