What is Kundalini Yoga?
Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bhajan® is a technology to awaken your awareness and give you an experience of your highest consciousness. It is a natural unfolding of your own true nature which brings you happiness.
It is a yoga for householders, for people who cope with the daily challenges and stresses of holding down jobs, raising families, and managing businesses. It is for everyone who wants the skills for living successfully in this day and age.
In Kundalini Yoga, the whole being is recognized. It works on the major bodily systems, organs, and structures. It balances the glandular system, strengthens the nervous system, expands the lung capacity, and purifies the bloodstream. It gives you success and excellence in life by enabling you to harness the energy of your mind and emotions, so you can be in control instead of your thoughts and feelings controlling you. It perfects the finite self, and connects you to your infinite self, giving you an experience of your own soul.
How is Kundalini yoga different from other forms of yoga?
All yoga is a way to link the body, mind, and soul. Kundalini may be considered a more spiritual practice than what you’d normally find at a gym. Though there are many physical benefits, the focus is internal.
It can be both physically and mentally challenging, or quite simple, depending on the Kriya. It is absolutely appropriate for people of all ages and all levels of fitness.
In KY, there is a belief that each individual possesses a reserve of dormant energy at the base of the spine. The aim of Kundalini Yoga is to awaken and stimulate this source of energy. This technology combines Breath, Postures, Mudra, Eye-focus, Mantra, Body Locks, and Meditation, in a precise, conscious manner to affect body, mind, and soul awakening you to your highest consciousness.
Most forms of yoga preach celibacy or renunciation and hours of practice. In Contrast, Kundalini is a yoga for householders and is designed to work quickly. It is practical and powerful. Working quickly to give you the ability to remain calm through life’s challenges making it ideal for individuals with relationships and careers and for our fast-paced age.
I’ve heard Kundalini yoga can be dangerous. Are there any cautions to this practice?
KY is one of the safest forms of yoga that can be practiced. However, make sure you attend a class taught by a KRI (Kundalini Research Institute) certified teacher. You don’t have to be a pretzel or in top athletic shape to practice this type of yoga. While other forms of yoga often focus on body image, KY focuses mainly on overall health benefits, disease recovery, body maintenance, mental fitness, living your own potential, and excellence.
Nevertheless, there are a few cautions to be aware of.
Kundalini energy does not mix with drugs or alcohol. Yogi Bhajan tells us that we are working with the power of the atom; KY can actually be detrimental if practiced under the influence.
If you are pregnant or on your menstrual cycle, inverted postures, heavy breathing, and certain locks should be avoided. All exercises can be adapted, so please consult with your teacher for guidance.
It’s best not to eat anything heavy for 2 hours before class. A light snack such as fruit is good. Drink plenty of water.
Is there a religious connection in this practice?
No. Kundalini Yoga is not a religion, yet it encourages everyone to get in touch with their own spiritual side. The goal is to get connected to your inner wisdom, which is your higher Self, and to see beyond your day-to-day drama by stilling your mind of its constant chatter.
Applying this technology to our bodies and minds has the effect of uplifting our spirit. The effects are profound and universal. Many people find that their Kundalini practice compliments their faith.
I am not feeling as stretched out at the end of Kundalini yoga as I do after practicing Hatha yoga.
Yoga is about getting the body, mind and spirit into balance. Kundalini yoga will bring flexibility accompanied by strength, but the goal is not physical agility. It is, perfect to listen to your body and do more stretching outside of class, as you feel necessary.
I am new to kundalini yoga. How do I find a beginner’s class?
All classes are for all levels. There will be a beginner experience and a more advanced experience. Simply let the teacher know you are new to Kundalini Yoga.
How often should I practice Kundalini yoga?
The more, the better. It is best to practice at least a few minutes of Kundalini daily. We recommend attending classes 3-4 times per week if possible for the quickest transformation and to sustain the positive shifts in your awareness. Even practicing once a week will have a positive effect in your daily life.
Why do we chant? Do I have to?
No one has to do anything they don’t want to do. Just be aware that chanting is not singing. You don’t have to have a great voice to enjoy and benefit from this practice.
We chant to create a vibratory frequency in the body. Most Kriyas involve a mantra. Don’t worry if you feel shy or don’t know the words. Just do your best to follow along, and eventually it will come naturally. With practice, you may realize how good it feels to exercise your voice along with your body.
Why do we meditate?
Meditation brings awareness and control of our thoughts. It is an important part of every class which helps us to become clear, neutral, and joyful. In class, we generally meditate for 3-11 minutes. Yogi Bhajan says: “Prayer is when the mind is one-pointed and man talks to Infinity. Meditation is when the mind becomes totally clean and receptive, and Infinity talks to the man.”
What should I bring to class?
A regular yoga mat is fine and a light blanket or shawl if you want. Often Kundalini Yogis will practice sitting on a natural sheepskin rug as it offers insulation from the magnetic pull of the Earth. It’s a good idea to bring a water bottle to stay hydrated. We also rent yoga mats and sell water for $1 each.
I am not flexible, can I still do yoga? Who can attend Kundalini Yoga classes?
Yes, anyone can do Kundalini Yoga regardless of flexibility, experience, body shape, or weight. We all start somewhere. You will be surprised to see how fast everything improves with practice.
KY It is great for beginners, for seniors, for children, and for pregnant women. It is perfect for everyone, as it has the flexibility to push past your comfort zone as well as offering the ability to go at your own pace. Each exercise has modifications so they can be enjoyed by anyone.
What is a Kundalini Community class?
Cosmic Flow Yoga was created for the community as a way to pay forward some of the blessings we have been given practicing this technology. A community class is by donation and open to anyone who wants to learn more about Kundalini or experience its benefits. The concept of “Seva” or selfless service is a part of Kundalini, and the CFY teachers volunteer their time to teach this class.
What to expect in a Kundalini Yoga Class?
A Kundalini Yoga session lasts 60 to 90 minutes and includes the following elements: tuning in – warm ups, and/or pranayama – yoga set or “Kriya” – relaxation – meditation – closing.
When we practice KY, we tune in by chanting “Ong Namo, Guru Dev Namo” (I bow to the infinite, divine teacher within me) calling on our Creator and connecting us to the teacher within.
A series of physical movements to prepare your body and mind for the work ahead. The warm up and subsequent Kriya are generally done with your eyes closed as much as possible, to keep the focus inward and to avoid judgement and comparison.
Pranayama is a series of breathing exercises designed to calm our minds. Breath is life energy itself. When we learn how to breathe consciously we learn to master all aspects of our lives.
A Kriya is an exact, dynamic combination of postures, breathing and sound–a complete system that balances body, mind, and soul, and increases mental clarity and physical vitality
Meditation brings awareness and control of our thoughts. Using mantra (sacred sound currents repeated aloud or silently) and mudra (sacred gestures) we can clear negative patterns and connect with our higher consciousness.
A time to allow the Kriya to do its work by distributing the Prana stimulated by the exercises, rejuvenating the parasympathetic nervous system, and releasing rigid patterns in the muscles and blood flow. This is sometimes accompanied with a gong.
We conclude by singing The Long Time Sun song and chanting ‘Sat Nam’ This mantra integrates the effect of the discipline and reaffirms our authentic self. We then bow in gratitude to the teachings.
“May the longtime sun shine upon you, all love surround you and the pure light within you guide your way on!”
Please visit www.3ho.org to find out much more about Kundalini Yoga and to connect with our global community.