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Face your fears and ssstretch. If you’re an experienced yoga bunny looking for something new or a fitness fanatic with a passion for anything weird and wonderful, this could be your next obsession. But be warned: snake yoga is not a metaphor for anything slightly less scary – you will literally be doing yoga... with snakes. Still interested?
How does it work?
Snake yoga is a branch of Kundalini Yoga, or the Yoga of Awareness, so you can expect to be using techniques including physical exercises, chanting, breathing and meditation. The yogic poses are fairly intense and focus on tapping into a store of Kundalini energy that everyone has lying dormant at the base of their spine, coiled up like a snake – we hope you’re beginning to see the connection...
Snake yoga, or Kumara Serpent Healing, was created by Kwali Kumara, who believes that snakes have a powerful healing energy. She insists that any fear of snakes is equal to a fear of your own spirituality, which must be overcome in order to allow energy to flow freely throughout your body.
A class begins which a tough physical section, moving swiftly between Kundalini poses, and then moves on to a period of relaxation and mediation. Present throughout the whole session will be a basket full of – you guessed it – snakes. Once you’re feeling completely relaxed, it’s time to handle the reptiles. Whether you’ll actually be completing yogic poses with the snakes depends on your level of expertise – and of course how comfortable you are with them – but the main purpose of them being there is to enable you to face your fears and deepen your connection to the spirit and the natural world.
That depends on how far you’re willing to test yourself. The class is designed to bring you into a state of calm before you’re encouraged to handle the snakes, but if you still feel as though you may have a heart attack rather than rising to a state of spiritual superiority – it’s probably best you stick to meditation ‘’minus’’ the snakes. It’s also advisable that you have some prior yoga experience, as the physical exercises can be quite difficult.
The snakes that Kwali Kumara uses are all her personal pets, rescued from previous abusive homes. Does that make you feel better about them?