What is Kundalini Yoga? How does it compare to other types of Yoga? What to expect in a class?
Kundalini Yoga is considered the most comprehensive of yoga traditions, combining meditation, mantra, physical exercises and breathing techniques; it is a Raj Yoga, encompassing the eight limbs of yoga into a singular practice of excellence and ecstasy. “Kundalini” literally means “the curl of the lock of hair of the beloved.”
Kundalini Yoga works on the mind-body connection via awareness of breath (directing our prana) and mantra/ sound current. Kundalini Yoga combines movement, breath and chants, mantra, sound vibrations in order to awaken the Spirit and energise the body and relax the mind.
Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan does not rely on any one of these techniques, although we use many. Instead, it is the unique structure of each kriya as shared by Yogi Bhajan, which provides steady, predictable progress and which leverages these basic functions of the body and the mind to create rapid, sustainable, personal growth and healing. In this tradition, meditation is not considered separate from asana or yoga; it is integral to the practice. The exercises in the kriya bring the body and mind to a state where deep meditation is easily achieved.
Kundalini Yoga is a technology that’s designed to wake up your Kundalini energy, which we all have, we are all born with, it’s our essence, it’s our life force, creative power. It lies in the base chakra, the forth vertebra of the spine and its dormant.
Why do we want to wake up this energy? So we can feel 100% of our possibilities as humans, we have a huge potential. When we wake up this energy we recognise this energy, wake up the power in us.
Kundalini Yoga will help you become that person, awaken, aware, present.
As Yogi Bhajan say’s we are all spiritual beings having a human experience, so let’s make this experience an enjoyable one.
How does Kundalini Yoga compare to other types of yoga?
The main difference between Kundalini and other yoga is that in one kriya (yoga set) you can reach complete physical, mental and spiritual balance. It is practical enough that householders who lead busy lives can practice it and achieve results immediately.
Of the 22 forms of yoga, Jappa, Shakti, Laya, Bhakti, Raja, Hatha and Mantra go to form Kundalini. The combination and the arrangement in each kriya (a set of precise actions that have specific effects) means that Kundalini works faster than other yoga. Yogi Bhajan says twelve years of Hatha, plus six years of Raja, plus three years of Mantra, plus one year of Laya is equal to the effects of just one complete year of Kundalini.
A typical yoga class involves some breath work or brief meditation and then flows through different yoga poses. Hatha Yoga is the most widely practice in the West and is really an umbrella term meaning the physical practice of yoga — so anything from Vinyasa to Bikram are technically Hatha. Typical yoga poses include Downward Dog, Child’s pose, Mountain pose and the three Warrior poses, just to name a few.
Essentially what makes Kundalini Yoga unique is its eﬃciency and eﬀectiveness—its power. Kundalini Yoga is quick. Because it’s a system built for the householder, the changes you want to aﬀect in your life happen much more quickly with Kundalini Yoga than many other styles of yoga. It’s variety of techniques and meditations are enormous. It’s a safe way to stimulate the body’s natural resources and become healthy, happy, and holy—in body, mind and spirit. It’s a proven path to the Self and the Soul—to an experience of your highest destiny.
Practicing Kundalini Yoga makes you feel relaxed, refreshed, centred and powerful; as if body, mind and soul had an uplifting conversation. It awakens and directs the creative energy in the physical body in a safe and gentle way for application on all levels of human existence. A sustained practice leads to the experience of the Soul, a state of presence, union and truth beyond the qualities of worldly entanglement and identification.
What can you expect in a class?
Length: (normally 1 hour and 15 minutes)
Introduction by the Teacher
Tuning in with Adi Mantra and Mangala Charan Mantra (c.1min)
Warm ups – c.(1 – 1.5 mins each)
Perform Kriya (c.20+ mins)
Relaxation (c. 8-11 mins)
Meditation normally with Mantra (c. 8+min)
HOW LONG DO I NEED TO PRACTICE FOR EACH DAY?
Any amount of time you spend on your practice will produce significant benefits. You could start with only 30mins in the evenings, and once you feel the obvious benefits you will be motivated to begin practicing for longer. Whatever you do, don’t rush your practice. There are Kundalini Yoga kriyas, or exercise sets, that are short enough to fit into your available time. Even a 3 minute meditation pays off when you practice regularly. Take your time, enjoy each posture, and give yourself the gift of a relaxation period, even if it is only a few minutes. Relaxing into your practice and enjoying it to the fullest is vital to getting all the benefits that will accrue over time.
DAILY MEDITATION LENGTHS AND THEIR EFFECTS
In 3 minutes, you affect your circulation and blood chemistry.
In 11 minutes the pituitary gland and the nerves start to learn and change.
In 22 minutes your three minds (negative, positive, and neutral) start to work together so your mental integration changes.
31 minutes affects your whole mind and your aura, and the 31 tattwas are balanced.
37 ½ minutes reflects from the whole aura to Infinity and back, stimulating the perception of Naad—the inner sound.
In 62 minutes your “shadow mind” and your positive projection are integrated.
2 ½ hours completes the cycle of prana (life force) and apana (elimination) so what you gain will hold through the cycle of the day. It holds change in the subconscious.
Practice a particular kriya or mantra every single day for the same amount of time. Based on the number of days you do this, here is how it will affect your habits:
40 Days: Practice every day for 40 days straight. This will break any negative habits that block you from the expansion possible through the kriya or mantra.
90 Days: Practice every day for 90 days straight. This will establish a new habit in your conscious and subconscious minds based on the effect of the kriya or mantra. It will change you in a very deep way.
120 Days: Practice every day for 120 days straight. This will confirm the new habit of consciousness created by the kriya or mantra. The positive benefits of the kriya get integrated permanently into your psyche.
1000 Days: Practice every day for 1000 days straight. This will allow you to master the new habit of consciousness that the kriya or mantra has promised. No matter what the challenge, you can call on this new habit to serve you.
WHAT IS THE MOST COMFORTABLE POSITION FOR MEDITATION?
If you are practicing Kundalini Yoga on a regular basis, you will find that you can sit (in comfort) for longer and longer periods. Of course, the goal is not to learn to endure suffering, but to be sensitive to your body and treat yourself, and others, with kindness and love.
A vee-shaped cushion, stuffed with buckwheat, can be used in different ways to support the various sitting positions, making it possible to do long meditations quite comfortably, in rock pose, easy pose, half lotus, etc.
- A Teacher teaches a Kundalini class with the correct flow that it was originally taught, The important aspect of the power of Kundalini Yoga is that each kriya is whole unto itself, a perfect jewel that acts to create a flow. They are perfectly designed sets of exercises meant to produce predictable and subtle impacts on the total Self. It is emphasised the importance of keeping the teachings as given, with the exception of reducing the timing of postures when necessary to accommodate limitations of the class.
- A Teacher does not create or invent postures or incorporate other teachings into Kundalini Yoga classes.
- Acknowledging that we are part of the Golden Chain of Teachers, a Teacher begins each class by chanting ONG NAMO GURU DEV NAMO at least 3 times and ends with the Long Time Sun song.
- In class, a teacher wears appropriate, modest, clean white clothing.
- Kundalini Yoga Teachers wear white head covering [turbans] of natural fabric while teaching class, for his or her personal protection and upliftment when handling the powerful energies involved in teaching Kundalini Yoga classes
KUNDALINI YOGA LINKS TO EXTERNAL SOURCES
3HO – The epicentre of Kundalini Yoga and the home of Yogi Bhajan
Spirit Voyage – For Kundalini Yoga music and books
Sat Nam EU – For Kundalini Yoga, clothes, mats, books and music etc
The Library of Teachings – Hear it from the Guru himself – Enjoy!