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What is Laya Yoga and How Does it Compare to Kundalini Yoga?




Laya yoga is a branch of yoga that focuses on the merging of the individual self with the divine through the use of various techniques such as mantra (sacred sound), yantra (sacred geometric shapes), and pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses). The ultimate goal of Laya yoga or any yoga, is to attain a state of oneness with the universe, known as laya or dissolution.

One of the key practices of Laya yoga is the use of mantra. The repetition of the mantra is believed to help focus the mind and quiet the mental chatter, while also creating a vibrational energy which positively affects the practitioner at a cellular level, allowing them to access deeper states of consciousness.

It also employs the use of yantra. A yantra is a geometric shape or diagram that is used as a focal point for meditation. The shapes and lines of the yantra are believed to represent different aspects of the universe and the practitioner's relationship to it. By focusing on the yantra, the practitioner is able to connect with the deeper meaning and symbolism it represents.

There is also an emphasis on pratyahara, the withdrawal of the senses, allowing the practitioner to move beyond the distractions of the external world and access deeper states of consciousness.

Kundalini yoga focuses on the awakening of the kundalini energy, which is said to reside at the base of the spine. This energy is believed to be responsible for spiritual growth and self-realization. Kundalini yoga uses a combination of physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation to awaken the kundalini energy and bring it to the crown of the head, and ultimately past the crown to reach a oneness with the universe.

Kundalini as a practice was introduced to the US by Yogi Bhajan, and he added aspects of his religion into the ‘technology’ as he called it. And while it can be very effective, it is not the only approach.

Both Laya and Kundalini yoga are similar in their focus on mantra, pranayama, meditation alongside more familiar yoga asanas. The ultimate goal of both is to merge the individual self with the divine. This state is believed to be a state of pure consciousness, free from the distractions and limitations of the ego. It is a state of oneness with the universe, where the individual self is dissolved into the divine. Whether called Kundalini or Laya, the destination is the same, and much of the journey as well.

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