What is Kundalini Yoga?
Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® is also known as The Yoga of Awareness; the experience of one’s highest consciousness. It is not a religion or creed. There is no initiation; it is universal, nondenominational and offered to everyone. All types and yogic traditions seek to raise the kundalini energy.
For thousands of years, the sacred science of Kundalini Yoga was veiled in secrecy; passed along verbally from master to carefully chosen disciple until 1969 (during the peak of the Vietnam War and drug culture) when Yogi Bhajan traveled from India to the U.S. Upon arriving in Los Angeles he saw how the seekers were dissolutioned and the youth were "tuning in, turning on and dropping out leading to the drug culture. He knew that he had the answer when he said “I am in the desert and I have water.” It was then that he broke the ancient tradition of secrecy and declared that everyone should be graced with the knowledge and benefits of Kundalini Yoga.
Kundalini Yoga is is a Raj Yoga (encompassing all eight limbs of yoga) into a single practice and is therefore considered the most comprehensive of yoga traditions. It is a highly effective and efficient yoga if one is seeking to achieve the true meaning of the word yoga. Yoga means to yoke the finite (flesh) with the Infinite.
The technology of Kundalini Yoga carefully combines physical exercises, meditation, mantra, and breathing techniques in exacting sequences and times. During each class we use:
Pranayama – breath control techniques
Asanas - exercise postures
Mudras - hand positions that guide energy flow to the brain
Mantras - to vibrate meridians in the mouth and head
Drishti - eye focus to stimulate the glands to secrete hormones
This synergy of body, mind, sound, breath and use of the meridian points (on the hands and roof of the mouth) and meditation, create the desired effects on mind, body and spirit. The combination provides a highly effective yoga practice for union in the least time possible. It is ideal for busy people as well as realistic for most ages and levels of conditioning. It is my sincere hope that you will find Kundalini Yoga as rewarding as I do. I am profoundly grateful to Yogi Bhajan and to my teachers, Mahan Rishi Singh Khalsa and Nirbhe Kaur Khalsa for these practices that since 1995, have greatly enriched my life and restored my health. I’m equally dedicated to sharing them in service of your life and your practice.
What is a kriya?
Kriya means a series of asanas (postures) - prana (breath techniques) - mudra (hand positions) - dristi (eye focus) and mantra (chanting) that is carefully orchestrated (in a specific order and for specified times) to create desired effects. Kriya means action: an action that leads to great healing of one’s body, mind and spirit and more awareness on every level of our being. It is reported that Yogi Bhajan gave us at least 5,000 different kriyas. Each kriya is to be taught exactly as it was given therefore one should attend at least ten classes to get a true taste of Kundalini Yoga.How is Kundalini Yoga different than other types of yoga?
What does Sat Nam or Sat Naam mean?
Sat means truth and Nam means name. Together they mean truth is my identity or my Soul is my true identity. Because truth is that which does not change we are declaring our connection to the Infinite. Sat Naam is a bij or seed mantra in Kundalini Yoga and is the most used mantra. Sat Naam is often chanted during a kriya and is also spoken to say hello and goodbye.
Is there a typical class format?
Yes, most classes flow as follows:
Arriving in Awareness and Tuning In
Topic or Theme for the Class
Pranayam – breathing techniques (before, during or after warm ups)
Kriya – orchestrated group of postures, breathing, hand placement, eye focus, chants
Savasana - relaxation on the back
Meditation if a meditation is part of kriya, it takes place before deep relaxation
Closing – Long Time Sun song and 3 Long Sat Naams
Announcements and/or reminders
What are the mantras used to "tune-in"?
The Adi Mantra (3 times)
Ong Namo (I bow to the subtle Divine within)
Guru Dev Namo (I bow to the Divine teacher within)
Followed by the Mangala Charan Mantra (3 times)
Aad Guray Nameh (I bow to the primal Guru)
Jugaad Guray Nameh (I bow to the truth that has existed throughout the ages)
Sat Guray Nameh (I bow to True Wisdom)
Siri Guroo Dayvay Nameh (I bow to the Great Divine Wisdom)
Long Time Sun Song
May the long time sun shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light within you
Guide your way on…Followed by 3 long Sat Naams
The entire class closes by saying: Light to All, Love to All, Peace to All… Sat Naam
What languages are the mantras?
Sanskrit and Gurmukhi
What is Sanskrit and Gurmukhi?
Sanskrit is believed to be among the most ancient of languages. The Gurmukhi language of the Punjab region of India was expressly created as a singing language. The word Gurmukh literally means "out of the mouth of the guru." It is highly effective in raising consciousness because correct pronunciation requires the tongue to touch the roof of the mouth therby stimulating the 84 meridians. Stimulating the meridians activates the hypothalamus which makes the pineal gland radiate. When the pineal gland radiates, it creates an impulse in the pituitary gland. When the pituitary gland is activated the entire glandular system secretes and the body is restored as the practitioner experiences bliss. This is the science and an important part of the technology of Kundalini Yoga.
Is this a religion?
No. When yoga came to the West it was thought to be a religion because of the use of Sanskrit language which seemed strange to many. Sometimes confusion arises because some of the mantras used in Kundalini yoga are shared by those of the Sikh religion which was prevalent in the Punjab region of Yogi Bhajan's home.
"All of the world's great religions seek to save our souls...the awareness focus of Kundalini Yoga helps us to befriend our soul, our ultimate GPS." ~Devpreet Kaur
Why do teachers cover their heads and wear white?
There are many benefits to covering the head but the most basic reason it that it helps to balance the Kundalini energy, keeping it from moving up through the crown of the head. In the simpliest terms, a head covering or turban of natural fibers serves a vehicle for recycling the energy.
The "color" white is not thought of as a color at all but it actually contains all of the colors of the light prism. Wearing white and natural fibers (e.g. cotton, wool, silk) helps to expand the aura which helps teachers to hold the space for effective delivery of the teachings.