Kundalini Yoga is a householder’s yoga. It is a yoga which allows an ordinary person to live in this world, experience the ecstasy of consciousness, then use this consciousness to serve humanity. Yogi Bhajan
What is Kundalini Yoga?
First, let’s break down each word. Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning “to unite”. When practicing yoga, we are uniting body, mind and spirit for a more balanced and whole existence. We are then uniting our whole Self with the Divine Source of life.
Kundalini translated to English means “the lock of hair of the beloved”. It’s a metaphor for the creative, powerful energy within each one of us; the energy of pure awareness, of the Soul self. This energy lies dormant, coiled up at the base of the spine, until awakend!
So through Kundalini Yoga, we are uniting body through asana (posture), mind through mantra (mind projection), and spirit through pranayam (breath control), to raise the Kundalini energy up through our energy centers (chakras) to increase our awareness, expand our consciousness and unite us with the One Consciousness. That is why Kundalini Yoga is called the “yoga of awareness”. It brings us to the awareness of our True Self, our True identity of Spirit.
How is Kundalini Yoga different from other forms of yoga?
There are many forms of yoga and all have the same goal of uniting body, mind and spirit. The difference lies in the approach. The most popular yoga form in the West is Hatha Yoga. Hatha concentrates on perfecting the physical body through asana (postures) in order to affect the mind and consciousness, as well as unite the polarities of sun and moon energy. It emphasizes strength, flexibility and patience.
Kundalini Yoga includes Hatha Yoga, as well as other forms of yoga. In each Kundalini Yoga class, there is asana, mantra (mind projection), pranayam (breath control) and meditation. Each of these elements are included in the kriyas (complete yoga sets) practiced in class, with the purpose of directing our energy in different ways. In one kriya you can immediately achieve a complete physical, mental and spiritual balance. They work so effectively and quickly because of their completeness, balance and energy. The kriyas are not made up randomly by the teacher. They are a science which has been tested and passed down for thousands of years from teacher to student. Yogi Bhajan brought Kundalini Yoga over to the West in 1969. During his life he taught thousands of kriyas, each unique and effective in its own way.
Kundalini Yoga is often called the householder’s yoga. It is direct, quick, effective and a perfect practice for the pace of a modern household. Yogi Bhajan said it takes 22 years to achieve in Hatha Yoga what can be done in one year of Kundalini Yoga. Both have the same aim, the only difference is technique and rate of progress.
Components of a Kundalini Yoga Class
1. Tune-In with Adi Mantra
2. Pranayam (Breathing Techniques)
4. Kriya (Yoga Set)
5. Deep Relaxation
7. Close with Long Time Sun and Sat Nam
1. Adi mantra: ONG NAMO GURU DEV NAMO
We tune-in together with the Adi Mantra in order to synch our energies, center ourselves, tune-in with our higher intuition and call on the wisdom of the Divine. Translation: I bow to the subtle Divine Wisdom, the Divine Teacher within.
Prana is the life energy that we bring in through the breath. Our Breath is what sustains us. It is the beginning and ending of all life and our connection with the Divine life energy. Pranayam is management of that energy through breathing techniques, circulating the energy throughout the body, directing it where we want it to go. We use several breathing techniques in Kundalini Yoga to manifest certain states within us, calmness, alertness, vigor, cleansing, etc. Mind follows the breath. Body follows the mind. Therefore, it all begins with the Breath.
We usually take some time to move the spine in all directions before beginning any kriya or meditation. Yogi Bhajan said age is measured by the flexibility of the spine. To stay youthful, keep the spine flexible.
Kryia means action. A kriya in Kundalini Yoga is a sequence of postures, pranayam, mantra and meditation all integrated to manifest a certain state within us. There are thousands of kriyas that have been passed down from teacher to student throughout centuries. Each with a certain purpose, and at the same time, all kriyas have the same purpose to raise our Kundalini energy, our awareness.
5. Deep Relaxation (Shivasana)
We deeply relax to allow the energetic and glandular changes that have been stimulated by the kriya to circulate throughout the body and produce lasting effects.
The purpose of yoga asana is to prepare us for meditation. By opening up the body and energetic pathways, we are able to sit easier and go deeper within. The purpose of meditation is to give us an experience of our true self. We must always evaluate our practice in this light.
At the end of each class we come together in the Long Time Sun Song, a song of blessing to send us on our way into the world.
May the long time sun shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light within you
Guide your way on
We then chant a long Sat Nam together. Sat means Truth. Nam means identity. Always remembering our true identity in Spirit, wholeness, oneness and connection with ALL.
Kundalini Yoga Resources
♦ Kundalini Research Institute: www.kundaliniresearchinstitute.org
♦ 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization): www.3HO.org
♦ International Kundalini Yoga Teacher’s Association: www.ikyta.org
♦ 3HO Kansas City: www.kckundaliniyoga.com