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What Is Kum Nye?

By Debra Durkee
Updated Feb 16, 2024
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Kum Nye is a form of yoga developed in Tibet. Also known by the name Tibetan yoga, it consists of a series of movements and poses designed to relax the body and allow a connection with the larger world. Practicing this type of yoga increases physical strength through the use of various positions and can also be used as a healing art. Although the methods were developing in the 1970s, it is based on teachings more than 15 centuries old.

The ultimate goal of Kum Nye is to allow the physical and emotional or spiritual aspects of the body to work in unison. The postures that are taught in the practice of Kum Nye were developed by a Buddhist Tibetan lama named Tarthang Tulku and taught to others in the hopes that they would also be able to channel the strength and relaxation the postures promoted. Traditionally, there is an element of meditation involved in the practice that allows the individual to get in touch with the inner self and the outside world.

The positions of Kum Nye allow for alteration between stillness and meditation with deliberate movements. Both the stillness and movements build strength, as some of the positions can be difficult to maintain. All are designed to bring out the energy within and connect this energy of the self with the outside world. An important part of performing the movements and the motionlessness correctly is being able to control breathing; holding each position for a certain amount of time forces awareness of the body's muscles.

Changing positions within Kum Nye is often done slowly, with emphasis on every movement of the body. This allows the individual to get in touch with the way the body moves and the feeling each movement itself. Most of the time, the body moves quickly; long, slow, and prolonged movements make the individual feel sensations not typically acknowledged every day. Low-impact strength and stretching exercises can be adapted to be performed by individuals of all physical skill levels and abilities.

Healing is also an important element of the teachings behind this form of meditation. Energy and tension are stored in the body, and if not released can wear on individuals physically and emotionally. Channeling energies releases tension in the body and aligns the seven chakras within each individual that connect the inner and outer worlds. Those who practice Kum Nye profess to be more in touch with their own spiritual energies and to be better equipped to enjoy the blessings of the outside world to the fullest.

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