What is Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan®?
Kundalini Yoga is known as the Yoga of Awareness. It is a comprehensive, effective and safe form of yoga. Kundalini Yoga can produce immediate results as you travel on your path to consciousness. It features practices that are known to support the health of the glandular and nervous systems, expand lung capacity and bring balance to the body, mind and spirit. Common feedback shared by those who have attended their very first class: “It felt like I came home”; “I never relaxed so deeply in a yoga class” or similar comments.
Patanjali’s second Sutra states the goal of yoga is “the control of the thought waves”, the cessation of the churning of the thoughts and identifying the thoughts as our self. Kundalini Yoga meditation practices train the mind to be in control of one’s thoughts, experience stillness and live with an attitude of gratitude!
It builds your inner strength and self awareness to its maximum, assisting you in reaching your highest potential.
As explained by Yogi Bhajan, “Kundalini Yoga is the science to unite the finite with Infinity and it’s the art to experience Infinity in the finite. It is straight. It is simple. It creates no complications.”
For many who may have practiced yoga, they find that Kundalini Yoga is unique in its capacity to include so many of the diverse elements of the ancient teachings of yoga, for example integrating the use of sound current (Mantras and the Gong), breathing techniques (Pranayama), Body Postures (Asanas), Hand Positions (Mudras) and Meditation as well as lifestyle teachings.
Kundalini Yoga is ideal for today’s society since it is designed for the active, everyday person with normal responsibilities of work, family and school. It can be practiced by anyone.
When you tune in to the opening Mantra, Adi Mantra, (described below) you connect with your inner Teacher and the Golden Chain of wisdom that helps release us from the limitations of our egos and grow.
As our society becomes increasingly more dependent on technology, our world becomes more intimately connected and influenced by its numerous cultures. The pace of change is on the rise and the stress on our body’s nervous system is increasing. The science of Kundalini Yoga allows us to tap into a system, which Shiva Singh Khalsa likes to call “the most recently revealed ancient technology”, to help us cope with this escalating demand. The inner science of the mind is the tool enables us to cope with the pressure of these changes. It is the mind that interprets our outer and inner worlds and it is the mind that we can and, frankly, must train to guide us through the flow of change.
Kundalini Yoga can give you the experience of being your original self.
Unfortunately, amid today’s hectic schedule, many of us have forgotten who we are and why we are here. There is only so much wisdom you can get out of a book, but wisdom cannot sustain you. Wisdom only becomes knowledge once you have experienced it. Kundalini Yoga opens you to the experience that we are “spiritual beings having a human experience not human beings having a spiritual experience”; and then you can experience the infinite joy, health, and happiness, which is our birthright.
For Beginners - Exalted not Exhausted!
We welcome you to attend classes and other events. If you are a beginning student, go at a pace that suits your flexibility and endurance. As you feel more comfortable with the exercises you will find the more you relax the more natural class becomes. There is no pressure in Kundalini Yoga to push the body too far; there should be no pain or fear of judgement. We say “Keep up and you will be kept up!” Approach class with an attitude of gratitude and the benefits happen.
Who was Yogi Bhajan?
Yogi Bhajan is also known as Siri Singh Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogi Ji. As a youth of 8 years he started his study of yogic practices. He mastered Hatha Yoga and Kundalini Yoga as teenager and later became the Mahan Tantric, the Master of White Tantric Yoga. He came to North America in 1969 and began teaching. Eventually he realized there was a need for the teachings of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, especially in the youth of this nation and many were released from the grip of drugs and confusion.
Over the next 36 years he taught thousands, created 3HO Foundation (Healthy Happy Holy Organization) and generated natural foods businesses based on sustainable and organic agriculture internationally as well as other so-called "family businesses" to provide careers and job opportunities in which people could maintain a conscious lifestyle. He passed away in 2004, leaving a community structure with many trained teachers to carry on the the teachings for generations to come.
What is the Kundalini energy?
The Kundalini energy is described as a dormant awareness in a person, a healthy natural quality, our own spiritual energy that takes away duality, “that which makes us feel separate and alone”, instead of All-One. When the Kundalini is active only in the lower chakras we have only a finite experience. Like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, we only live for survival. When it is distributed through all the chakras, the entire subtle nervous system we can experience the unbroken flow of Pure Consciousness of Infinity. The ancient writing Bhagavata-purana II.10.6, describes liberation as “simply the Spiritual Self dwelling in its own nature".
We like to say that once in a while a little “kundalini seeps" into the higher centers we have everyday experiences of joy, calmness, peace of mind, oneness or the bliss at the sight of our newborn's smile. Otherwise people live lonely and separate, we suffer in life; it is dull, drab and lackluster.
What is the difference between Kundalini Yoga and other forms of yoga?
The goal of all Yoga practices is to "know the unknown and see the unseen", and have an exalted experience through controlling the thought waves. Students typically point out the following about the Kundalini Yoga experience: it emphasizes and incorporates the awareness and mastery of the breath, Pranayama, the practice of Sound and Mantra, including the use of the Gong. Creating Community and Group Consciousness is valued and encouraged as well as community selfless service called seva. The remedy is community!
Kundalini Yoga is a “householder” Aquarian practice shared with all without exclusion. There are no secret teachings or secret mantras. Nor is there an initiation process, everyone is "self-initiated". Each session of Kundalini Yoga begins with tuning in using Adi Mantra, the chant that links us with our higher self and the Golden Chain and complete the practice with an affirmation/personal prayer called the "Long Time Sunshine Song".
Kundalini Yoga uses familiar asanas as well as sophisticated movements and exercises to achieve specific body-mind-spirit goals. One can be in various ranges of physical fitness to experience benefits from a Kundalini Yoga Class.
Do I have to Wear White Clothes?
Shiva Singh Khalsa shared that in the early ‘70’s he asked Yogi Bhajan as a Kundalini Yoga teacher, “Do we have to wear Indian clothes?” His response was “Wear clean white cotton.” How a person dresses is a personal choice. For Kundalini Yoga Teachers it is part of our “uniform”. We do encourage students to wear white clothing of natural fibers, but don’t require it, when attending class since it is a science of color therapy and effects you energetically. For example it can strengthen your projection and become a tool to help you expand your consciousness. What you choose to wear should be based on what someone else thinks or to look a certain way to gain attention, rather as a tool for consciousness. Yogic technology teaches you can expand your aura and increase your openness and neutrality by wearing graceful clothing that is white, made from natural fibers. An expanded aura creates a powerful interface between you and your environments. The spectrum of light energy that makes up the color white contains the energies of all colors. By wearing white, all the colors are available to support and enhance the aura and the eight chakras.
As a Yoga Teacher elegant, white clothing makes you visible to people. It gives you impact and projection. Dressing in white can expand your projection and your energy, more than when you dress like everyone else. The impact and projection says to someone, “This person is different. I’ve got to talk to this person. Maybe this person can help me.”
Why are we encouraged to cover our heads during a class?
We are training ourselves to be aware of and master our subtle energies. Kundalini Yoga teachers and practitioners, cover the head and hair with a natural fiber head covering. Ideally it contains the hair from the hairline to the nape of the neck. There is also an entire system Yogi J calls "turban therapy". The practical reason for wearing a head covering can be summed up as follows: Your head is a very sensitive part of the body:
The skull is made up of tiny bones that are constantly moving even if only by micro millimeters and the degree to which they move impacts levels of calmness or anxiety.
Covering the head provides a sense of containment and focus while practicing yoga or while doing work that requires clarity of thought. It literally helps "keep your head together".
The forehead consists of porous bone which allows light to pass through it and stimulate the light sensitive pituitary gland. The pituitary is the master gland which regulates all other glands. If it is not stimulated by enough light, a lack of glandular secretion can result including the "feel-goods" dopamine, serotonin and melatonin. Therefore keeping this area of the forehead clear (having the hair up or not wearing bangs) can help with these hormone levels.
The hairs on all parts of our body is an extension of our sensitive field, an antenna.
And speaking of hair: The hair is a living part of our body. It continues to grow, until it eventually reaches its full length, and has an energy function. The hairs conduct electricity and wherever they are on the body, they balance the electromagnetic charge at that part of the body. (eye brows, armpits, sexual area, chest, head, etc.) When the hair is uncut it stabilizes the body's electromagnetic field. Also imagine that if your hair is like a coil of electricity, that by coiling it all together at the top of the head -it will draw more electricity/energy towards it like a big electromagnet. This has the effect of pulling up the energy residing at the base of the spine (lower chakras) to the higher centers. If the hair is altered on any part of the body it will have an effect on the electromagnetic field and the physical body as well.
• Yogis know that when the hair on the legs is cut it can result in back problems.
• The pituitary gland and the growth of the eyebrows are related. When the eyebrows are "plucked" or altered it affects the pituitary/Arc Line balance.
• Allowing chin hair (beards) to grow helps balance the moon center at the chin and is said to stabilize the emotions.
• Shaving interferes with the water in the body and causes swelling.
Where did yoga come from?
Happiness is our birthright. The practices for expanding our awareness, experiencing our oneness and fulfilling our life’s purpose we call Yoga have no religious or national boundaries. This technology of consciousness and healthy living is a compendium of knowledge studied, practiced and compiled over thousands of years. Its recent introduction to the West came from India.
Yogi Bhajan calls Yoga a “black science” which originally came from the part of Africa that is now Ethiopia before the continents shifted!
Is Yoga a religion?
Yoga predates religion and is a means of fulfilling the urge to merge that exists within each of us. Yoga has been described as the laboratory of religion. The essence of Kundalini Yoga is rooted in the experience of Expanded Consciousness. Most faith traditions arose from the expanded consciousness of a person who attempted to share their awakening. Unfortunately people were taught to worship the person rather than the teachings. Over the years we see practitioners gain deeper understanding of their own faith traditions.
Will practicing Kundalini Yoga conflict with my current spiritual beliefs?
Any one can practice Kundalini Yoga without limiting, abandoning or changing their faith tradition. Kundalini Yoga has been known to enhance ones own beliefs. People of all faith traditions are practicing and teaching Kundalini Yoga.
I am not very flexible and I’m worried I can’t do the postures. Will I receive the same benefits?
Any effort that is placed into sincere practice will aid the whole self: physical, mental and spiritual, as all three are intimately connected. Many people with limited physical or cognitive abilities find the practices of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation varied more than enough to offer them the kind of experience they are seeking. We can both offer adjustments to much of what we do and welcome all to make a sincere effort. For example, we’ve been teaching Chair Yoga in local senior centers for years with many many regular students who lives have been enhanced.
Question: What does happen when the Kundalini is awakens?
Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan creates a safe and balanced environment for transformation and personal growth. Yogic anatomy identifies 72,000 energy meridians, ‘nadis’ in the body. The primary three are the ‘ida’, ‘pingala’ and ‘sushumna’ nadis, located along the spine. Intertwining these channels are the Chakras. Consider the chakras as transformers, which allow our human bodies to use the energy of that moves planets, much like we use the electrical energy from enormous high-tension power lines to turn on a little light bulb. When through consistent practice the ‘ida’ and ‘pingala’ merge, referred to as "balancing the breath on both sides of the body", the ‘sushumna’ or central channel will be clear. Thus we are simply clearing the blocks which allow our natural, everyday energy of consciousness and awareness to be fully realized. The Kundalini Shakti, the Nerve of the Soul, flows unencumbered, allowing us to have a relationship with the Self, and realize our vast potential for inner peace. On the day to day level, this translates into heightened awareness, clarity of thought and increased tolerance and patience.
Question: Why is Kundalini represented in books by a snake?
Answer: In the East, the snake is a positive and royal image considered auspicious and it is often a mandatory component in the stories of deities and saints. There are references to the images of the snake in the West for example the doctor’s symbol of healing, the caduceus, with a rod and the snake curled around it. The word kundalini actually is not a snake reference, but the kundal' with the female ending "ini" means the 'coil in the hair of the beloved', a reference to the long hair of the , rishis/adepts, coiled on top of the head in a "bun" or a ‘rishi knot’.