It is often said that Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, comprises all systems of yoga. This is meant more in the sense, that the result and benefits of other systems of yoga, gradually and suddenly emerge into the experience of the Kundalini Yoga practitioner, such that one will notice the emergence of a deep intuition of posture and prana, and awaken to the experiences of shakti, laya, bhakti, gyan (jnana), which emerge spontaneously into consciousness. While providing all the benefits of physical and mental health, fitness and fortitude, Kundalini Yoga is entirely different in approach, practice, technique, benefit and result than any other system of yoga. Kundalini Yoga is a Path towards direct experience of the non-dual all-pervasive and single Self. This article is to provide some clarification and guidance as to how to practice Kundalini Yoga to realize the full physical, mental and spiritual benefit, while attempting to make it clear that, even though the various aspects of Kundalini Yoga may seem somewhat like the practices of other yogas, one should not make the mistake of teaching or practicing Kundalini Yoga, as one might have learned in another yoga discipline, because the dynamics of Kundalini Yoga are entirely different.
While other yogas often lose their direction - hatha becoming a "stretch and bolt," martial arts – a sport, bhakti leading to fanaticism, jnana into intellectual mind-games, daily practice of Kundalini Yoga generates a relentless force field within the body mind and soul that turns one to experience their True Spiritual Self, as a magnet turns to true north.
Through the daily practice of Kundalini Yoga, there is a gradual strengthening of the nerve pathways and centers of the body towards the experience of an increasing electromagnetic voltage that corresponds to the influx of the awareness of the universal energies that support and sustain the body and mind, like the conversion in a house of a 110 voltage system, gradually to a 220 voltage system, then to a 440 voltage system, where, by analogy, the electric wiring, fuses and energy support systems are progressively strengthened throughout the body field.
The results are systematic, holistic, expansive, balanced and complete, where Kundalini is experienced as an awakening of Awareness that brings about a total opening of the systems of the body, through which the governors (energy control centers in the Kandal (between the navel and 4th vertebra), the (brain and the Heart), which restrict (like the surface of a bubble) the sudden influx of the ocean of energy that surrounds us, are able to gradually open the body's energy channels to this ocean.
Voltage throughout the body increases to allow the infinite energy that supports sustains and pervades the universe in all dimensions to emerge as our normal awareness. As a result of this systematic strengthening of the body field, as energy increases it diffuses throughout the system, so that even sudden bursts, which in other yoga practices may seem troubling, become no more that waves on the shore of an ever widening ocean to the practitioner of Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan. There is a shift in awareness from reflected consciousness (the moon of the mind) to direct consciousness (the sun in the Heart), from notional "i" to the True "I" that is seamless. The Guru becomes the inner divinity in one's Heart, no longer the reflected images of the mind.
Kundalini in other yoga practices is something different, because the body and mind are not prepared and adequately balanced, except in a monastic situation, and then under the careful guidance of someone that has practiced that yogic system, who assists the practitioner in the long and arduous purification process unique to that specific practice. Otherwise, there may be sudden bursts of energy that become disconcerting to the practitioner who experiences them, who then has no one to go to for direction. Thus, yoga / mediation teachers often tell their students to disregard energy flows or to sublimate them, which in reality is like the lifeguard at a lakeside resort telling someone, who is swimming with some discomfort in the middle of a lake, to avoid the experience of water against their skin and wetness in the mouth.
In Kundalini Yoga practice there is acceptance and opening, not denial or rejection. As the higher centers open, the devotion one feels, the deep inner longing, are for the ever increasing experience purity, lightness and Truth that begins to permeate them, versus images of devotion that often trap devotees into an imaged concept of God.
Shakti becomes Bhakti, and Bhakti becomes Gyan (Jnana), a realization of inner Wisdom and Self Knowledge that is beyond thought and conjecture, beyond endless intellectual discourse and argument, into which many other practices degenerate. The power of the discriminative mind emerges, a Force of Intelligence permeates and rivets the body and mind to the Spirit, and the pure mind inverts and reflects the True Self in the Heart. The ancient Sages and Yogis call this the Enlightenment of the Whole Body.
Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, is very practical. Innumerable sets of Kundalini Yoga exercises, kriyas, mantras and meditations, with their origins going back thousands of years, once hidden and imparted secretly are now provided openly, each with specific purposes that culminate in the systematic strengthening of the energy pathways, centers and governors, resulting in the simultaneous influx of the universal energy consciousness pervading us. But there are basics that need to be covered in order to realize the full power and benefit of a daily Kundalini Yoga practice, i.e., sadhana.
Invocation / Dedication:
Kundalini Yoga practice always begins with a dedication. Our life and being, our consciousness is based on one simple component. Awareness. This simple Awareness is a light that illumines everything. It is the subject- "I" to all objects. Its source is the substratum of waking, dreaming and deep sleep. It is the support for the physical, subtle and causal bodies. It is the consciousness behind the conscious mind, the subconscious and unconscious. It is a self-effulgent screen within which and upon which everything seen and unseen appears. While single and all-pervasive, it manifests in the Heart, the Harimandr, from there filling all the nerves of the body and a major nerve up to the brain with the sense or awareness of "I" – of identity.
All that is required to awaken to the True Self is to hold onto this Awareness and just watch. In Kundalini Yoga we begin with a dedication to apply this Awareness to our entire practice and life. This is the Adi Mantra: Ong Namo Guru Dev (Day) Namo: In the Name of the Creator, the Creative Force in the Universe. In the Name of That Inner Divinity that takes me from darkness to Light,... i.e., I dedicate my awareness.
Pieter Schoonheim Samara
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