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 soul. It is a yoga for householders, for people who cope with the daily challenges and stresses of life. It combines breath work, posture, chanting and meditation to work on the major bodily systems, organs, and structures. It is for anyone who wants the skills for living successfully in this day and age.
How is Kundalini yoga different from other forms of yoga?
All yoga is a way to link the body, mind, and soul. Kundalini Yoga 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, and quite simple, depending on the Kriya. It is absolutely appropriate for people of all ages and all levels of fitness
I’ve heard Kundalini yoga can be dangerous. Is that true?
Kundalini Yoga is one of the safest forms of yoga that can be practiced if taught by a KRI certified teacher.
A few cautions to be aware of:
Kundalini energy does not mix with drugs or alcohol. It 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.
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 the illusions of your day-to-day drama by stilling your mind of its constant chatter. When we call upon God, we call, not upon an external God, but upon that wisdom, or infinite intelligence, that is within each of us.
Applying the technology to our bodies and minds has the effect of uplifting our spirit. The effects are profound and universal. Regular practice will make you a better Christian, Jew, Muslim or whatever you aspire to be.
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 to become a human pretzel.
Kundalini yoga simultaneously works inner flexibility as well as both physical strength and flexibility. It is, however, a good thing to do more stretching outside of class, as one feels necessary.
I am new to kundalini yoga, how do I find a beginner's class?
All classes are for all levels…. There really aren’t levels actually… There will be a beginner experience and a more advanced experience. Simply tell the teacher you are new to Kundalini Yoga.
Take a look at the calendar to find a class that works for you logistically and then show up. If you want you may contact that teacher to chat with them a bit to get a sense of it.
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 is an important part of every class. Meditation helps us to become clear, neutral and joyful. In class, we generally sit for 3-11 minutes in meditation. 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 if you have one, and a blanket. Often, Kundalini Yogis will practice while sitting on a fluffy natural sheepskin rug. If you have one, great! It’s a good idea to bring a water bottle to keep you hydrated. We also rent yoga mats and sell water for $1 each.
Are there any Don’ts to this practice?
Kundalini energy does not mix with drugs or alcohol. Yogi Bhajan tells us that you are working with the power of the atom and KY can actually be detrimental if practiced under the influence.
It’s best not to eat anything heavy for 2 hours prior to your class. A light snack such as fruit is good. Drink plenty of water.
If you are pregnant or on your menstrual cycle inverted postures or heavy breathing with certain locks should be avoided. All exercises can be adapted so please consult with the teacher for guidance.
I am not flexible, can I still do yoga? Who can attend Kundalini Yoga classes?
Yes, anyone can do Kundalini Yoga regardless of experience, body shape or weight. We all start somewhere. You will be surprised how fast flexibility improves with practice.
KY It is great for beginners, for seniors, pre and post-natal. 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 that 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 breath consciously we learn to master all aspects of our lives.
A kriya is an exact, dynamic combination of postures, breathing and sound- a complete systems 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!”