What is Kundalini Yoga?
Kundalini Yoga is an ancient energy management system which respectfully draws upon a vast body of teachings brought to the West by Yogi Bhajan from India in 1969. He broke with tradition by teaching Kundalini Yoga to all. It includes familiar yogic postures as well as incorporating dynamic movement, pranayama breath techniques, deep relaxation, meditation, mantra and mudra.
It is appropriate for householders, to allow an ordinary person to live in the world and be active in society, to experience the ecstasy of consciousness, and then use this consciousness to take a leadership role in serving humanity.
Of all the Yogas, Kundalini Yoga is the most rapid means to reach the union of Yoga, to know the unknown and see the unseen, while providing the numerous benefits that one enjoys from a regular Yogic practice.
It is the authentic Raj Yoga which unites you with the Infinite through your nobility and grace. Your very royal presence heals and inspires others. It is challenging to master because it demands our appreciation of our own vastness and unwavering love for our entire selves and this on every breath!
What is Kundalini?
Kundalini is the dormant power of Infinity in a human, a healthy natural quality, our own spiritual energy that takes away duality. When the Kundalini is active only in the lower chakras we have only a finite experience. When it is distributed through all the chakras, we can experience pure consciousness, the unbroken flow of Pure consciousness of Infinity.
When, 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 we feel lonely and separate, we suffer in life; it is dull, drab and lackluster.
Who is Yogi Bhajan?
Yogi Bhajan is also known as Siri Singh Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogi Ji. As a youth he mastered Hatha Yoga and Kundalini Yoga and became the Mahan Tantric, the Master of White Tantric Yoga. He came to North America in 1969 and began teaching hatha yoga. Eventually he realized there was a need and a fertile ground for the teachings of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation 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 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 2006 leaving a community structure with many trained teachers to carry on the the teachings for generations to come.
What is the difference between KY and other forms of yoga?
Kundalini Yoga emphasizes and incorporates in every aspect of practice the awareness and mastery of the breath, Pranayama, and introduces Breath of Fire (Breath of Fire is a rapid complete diaphragmatic breath which has many benefits including massaging the heart, cleansing the circulatory and respiratory systems and energizing the body). The practice of Mantra and the sound current, are typically key components of Kundalini Yoga classes.
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 of Teachers and complete the practice with an affirmation/personal prayer called the "Long Time Sunshine Song".
Kundalini Yoga uses sophisticated movements and exercises not commonly practiced in other yoga traditions to achieve specific body-mind-spirit goals. One can be in various ranges of physical fitness to experience benefits from a Kundalini Yoga Class. Creating Community and Group Consciousness is valued and encouraged as well as community selfless service called seva.
Why do Kundalini Yoga Teachers cover their head with a cloth or turban?
Yogi Bhajan taught us that the hair is alive and has an energy function. We are training ourselves to be aware of and master our subtle energies and so he has all teachers cover our head and hair with a cotton cloth or wrapped turban. Any natural fiber head covering is functional, however he has provided an entire system he calls "turban therapy" which 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.
Where did yoga come from?
There is a myriad of yogic paths, meditations, postures and definitions. Yoga comes from the Sanskrit "yug", to yoke or to unite. In the practice of yoga we join our finite selves to our infinite selves. In popular terms, we unite body, mind and soul to act together as a balanced whole. This technology uses the body's natural movements, breath, energy pathways and sounds to purify and strengthen the physical form so that the mental form(mind) may be brought under control and an ongoing connection with the spirit forged.
The origin of yoga predates our historical records as yoga is traditionally a practice not an academic study. One who practices yoga is called a yogi: someone who is not affected by the pair of opposites i.e. like and dislike. The goal is to be who you really are through practice of awareness and non-reacting to the events that surround you.
Is Yoga a religion?
Although not a religion, the language of Kundalini Yoga is rooted in the experience of Infinite Consciousness which is ultimately linked with the goals or essence of most world religious traditions. There are many words we can use which refer to the Infinite, such as creator, higher consciousness, ecstasy - the choice of words is second to the strength of the desire to awaken within us that which Generates, Organizes, and then Delivers (GOD) or Destroys all Creation. This desire within us is also called the "urge to merge". Yoga (including meditation) is a way of fulfilling the urge to merge that exists within each of us. Religions arose from the expanded consciousness of often just one person who attempted to share their awakening. It can be said the desire to come together for support of this yearning formed religions that incorporated lifestyle and structure into a dogma for life.
Yoga is a practice to purify and strengthen our bodies and minds to remember that we are essentially spirits in human form. It is open to all to practice and experience. Consciousness is the ruling guide. "We are spiritual beings experiencing a human life."
Will practicing Kundalini Yoga conflict with my current spiritual beliefs?
Kundalini Yoga is the Yoga of Awareness, and awareness is the foundation of spiritual growth. What draws you to a Kundalini Yoga class is what you will learn and use to enhance your own beliefs. People of all faith traditions are practicing and teaching Kundalini Yoga.
Why are we encouraged to cover our heads during a class?
It is a technology and like much of the practice of Kundalini Yoga affects our subtle experience. It relates to a variety of teachings involving the hair, the movement of cranial bones, the flow of energy and containing that flow.
I am resuming Kundalini Yoga practice after putting on considerable weight and am limited in my ability to 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 flexibility for various reasons find the practices of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation varied more than enough to offer them the kind of experience they are seeking.
What does happen when the kundalini is activated?
We are simply clearing the blocks which allow our natural, everyday energy of consciousness and awareness to be fully realized. It is the experience of our complete selves. The Kundalini Shakti flows freely activating all the chakras, especially the higher centers, so we may realize our Infinite Self and experience samadhi. Consider the chakras as transformers, which allow our human bodies to use the energy of the Universe, much like we use the electrical energy from enormous high-tension power lines to turn on a little light bulb. On the day to day level, this translates into heightened awareness, clarity of thought and increased tolerance and patience.
Why is Kundalini represented by a snake?
In the East, the snake is a positive and royal image considered auspicious and it is often a mandatory component in the lives of Gods and saints. The word ‘kundal’ with the female ending “ini” means the ‘coil in the hair of the beloved’, a reference to the long hair of the adepts, coiled on top of the head in a “bun”. In the Tantric Scriptures kundalini shakti is positively described as entering the shushumna like a “snake entering a hole”, silently, smoothly and effortlessly.