Kundalini yoga can cause some head scratching.
What is it? Did it begin in a cult with a guru? Was this teacher raised a Catholic and yet was of the Sikh religion? Do Kundalini teachers wear white and cover their heads to protect their electromagnetic field? What’s a class like? Are there postures, meditations, and chants that change the nervous and glandular systems of the body?
Kundalini yoga began in 1969 when Yogi Bhajan (Ba- jan) arrived in Los Angeles. He observed young adults searching for a spiritual awakening through drugs and sex. Bhajan believed that to know God, you had to experience God. He knew Kundalini would be a healthier way for these individuals to do just that.
Fast-forward to now. There are now more than 2,000 yogis teaching Kundalini, and many students practicing worldwide. In this style of yoga, you are able to feel the energy radiating through your being in just one class.
We used to joke in Kundalini teacher training that we indeed belonged to a cult because we are alternative and practice intent. Yet we are not a religious group. Rather than the word cult, I believe tribe better describes our connection in the practice of our yoga.
Kundalini is spiritually enriching and is a journey of change and growth toward your destiny or life purpose. Another saying from teacher training: “If you don’t want to change – then don’t practice Kundalini.”
Just as a policeman or nurse wears a uniform, the Kundalini yoga teacher wears all white and usually a white cap or turban on his or her head. It is said to secure the aura or electromagnetic fields around them for protection and to deflect the different energies of the students present.
A typical Kundalini class looks like this: a teacher-guided mantra, chanted out loud, then a warm-up series or yoga. Each Kundalini yoga series is done in conjunction with a specific breath. It intensifies the effects of the poses and frees the energy in the lower body so it can move upwards. Kundalini sequences (called kriyas) may consist of rapid, repetitive movements done with breath, or holding a pose while breathing in a particular way. Kriyas performed one after the other produce changes in the blood stream and different systems of the body (i.e. circulatory, digestive, glandular). Every class ends with a long relaxation.
One of my favorite kriyas is the Pituitary Gland Set. The pituitary gland is the master gland of the body because of its effect on all the endocrine glands. It modulates growth, blood pressure, sex glands, the thyroid and energy of the body.
Performing the asanas, or actions, within this particular series activates this area of the body and produces changes.
Kundalini yoga is potent. It is for those who want a specific course in consciousness and awareness. To achieve benefits from this practice, you must be consistent. The teacher might say, “Do this for 40 days and be amazed at the changes.” It demands commitment. It is also powerful because the goal is self-realization and Yogi Bhajan made no bones about expressing that, “God is within you. Dwell within and befriend your soul.”
The Aquarian Age is defined by experiencing the infinite. The Piscean age that ended held beliefs of God being outside and above you - anywhere but inside - and that you needed someone to tell you right and wrong.
Kundalini Yoga links everything to you - a connection that can be understood through developing an awareness of what you say, think, and do. The teachings brought here to the states by Yogi Bhajan have remained the same now for 30 years and continue to raise consciousness to all who come in contact.
Sat Nam – the truth is your name.