What is Kundalini Yoga?
Kundalini Yoga, the Yoga of Awareness, consists of simple yogic techniques that can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter his or her age or physical ability. It is a complete science that includes breath (pranayam), yoga postures (asanas), hand and finger gestures (mudras), body locks (Bhandas), sound, chanting (mantra) and meditation. It is designed to provide you with the experience of your highest consciousness through the raising of your Kundalini.
It is often described as ‘meeting you where you you’re at and taking you where you want to go’. Kundalini is for anyone. If you can breathe and lean in the right direction, you will benefit. It balances the glandular system and strengthens the nervous system so you feel more vibrant and alive. It is practical and powerful. It works quickly to give you grace, balance, and most of all, the ability to re- main calm, centered, and clear through life’s challenges. As you practice Kundalini Yoga you will grow. You will gain new perspectives and capacities, as well as habits that support a healthy lifestyle. The best part is, you don’t need any previous experience in yoga in order to achieve results with your very first class. It is said that the benefits of kundalini manifest 16 times faster than other styles of yoga.
Kundalini is a technology, the science of which was developed over 5,000 years ago by rishis in India and Tibet, who systematically tested and perfected the precise movements, postures, sounds and breathing that activate different parts of the body and brain to produce specific results.
The style of kundalini taught here was brought to North America by Yogi Bhajan in 1969 where it continues to flourish there and around the world.
Our bodies have seven energy centres or chakras beginning with the base of our spine and ending at the top of our head. There is latent energy coiled at the base of the spine and by practicing kundalini this energy will move upwards through each successive chakra to the crown. Kundalini is subtle as it energizes from within to boost your inner strength and capacity.
Physical benefits may include an improvement in your vitality and overall wellbeing, stronger joints, muscles and spine and it can detoxify the entire body thereby improving the workings of your glands, organs, blood circulation, immune and nervous systems. Other effects include an increase in your productivity and focus. Meditation techniques enhance mental concentration, sharpen awareness as well as creating a peaceful outlookso you are better able to deal with setbacks in a more productive and neutral manner.
Basic Guidelines For Students
- Let the teacher know about any back or knee injuries and if you have a pre-existing medical condition, consult with a doctor and have their consent prior to attending class.
- Wait at least one or two hours after eating before class
- Drink water before, during and after class
- Wear loose comfortable work out or yoga clothing
- Challenge yourself and remember to listen to your body. The instructor will not touch students, rather gives verbal instructions instead. If you feel pain, then stop.
- Yogi Bhajan said, “Keep up and you will be kept up.”
- Do your best. “Today’s maximum is tomorrow’s minimum’.
- Kundalini yoga is not competitive
- Remember to smile, after all, we are here to enjoy ourselves.
What to Expect In A Kundalini Class
We begin each class by chanting mantras. This serves to focus the mind, calm the body and bring our awareness into the room and helps us leave external demands and distractions outside. The literal translation is: ”I call upon the infinite wisdom and to connect us to the teacher within”.
Warm ups are done to prepare the body and mind for the set / kriya. They last a few minutes and consist of breathing and limbering exercises for the spine and legs and to stimulate circulation and to focus the attention within.
" Breath is life energy itself. When we learn how to breathe consciously,
we can calm our minds and master all aspects of our lives. "
A Kundalini kriya is similar to a recipe that if done correctly, will yield a reproducible result. These kriyas were developed thousands of years ago and are well proven for their beneficial effects.
The instructor needs to follow the kriya exactly and may refer to notes to ensure: the movement, hand position, breath, focus, posture and mantra are done correctly for the prescribed amount of time.
The postures are similar to hatha yoga and will either be moving quickly, flowing slowly or held static for 1-3 minutes per exercise.
" 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.
The meditation is chosen to complement the effect of the kriya.
Each has a posture, hand position, and eye focal point. Together they provide a unique benefit. The hand position is called a mudra.
" Mudras guide energy flow in a particular way to specific areas in the body. "
This is the most important part of the class. It is the time for the glandular system to re-balance, the nerves to re-adjust and the spine to re-align. We spend 15-20 minutes in relaxation.
You are fortunate to have the powerful sound of meditation gongs to surround and engulf you in their powerful healing and relaxing vibrations.
All the effects of the kryias are cumulative. This is the time to allow the energies you have released in the body and mind to balance. The position is corpse pose, lying on your back, palms up, ankles uncrossed and eyes closed.
We close each class by singing the’ long time sunshine song’ :
May the long time sun shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light within you
Guide your way on.
‘ SAT NAM ’
" ‘Sat’ means Truth; ‘Nam’ means Identity. When we say ‘Sat Nam’
we acknowledge our mutual divine identity in which we are united in Universal Truth "