Kundalini Yoga

This is a lovely and practical practice of awakening the body from the inside out.  Whereas Soma begins as a process of working with the body from the outside in, Kundalini Yoga is a practice of creating awareness, strength and calm from the internal world out.  Originally taught by Yogi Bhajan, this practice gifts us with a huge toolbox for balancing the body, mind and soul.  A typical Kundalini class includes a physical practice, breath-work, and chanting and meditation.  Many tools are given for engaging and quieting the mind, and cultivating deep awareness of energy and the systems of the body.

What is Kundalini and What is Kundalini Yoga?
by Guru Singh 

(excerpted from www.yoganw.org)

The purpose of any spiritual practice is to bring the freedom, power and fulfillment, rightfully available to every human being.  Kundalini is the basic energy of life. Kundalini is a Sanskrit word meaning coiled power; centered in the human body at the base of the spine; it is a powerful nerve coiled three times.

The three coils of the Kundalini are:
(1) Prana-Kundalini - the energy that gives life to the physical body.
(2) Chitta-Kundalini - the energy of our mind and emotions.
(3) Para-Kundalini - the energy of our spiritual Self.

In order for us to achieve spiritual awareness, this energy must be awakened and drawn upward through the spine to the crown of the head. This is where Kundalini yoga comes in. A powerful and ancient style of yoga it involves postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayam), and hand positions (mudras), Kriyas (combinations of the above) and chanting (mantra). When practiced consistently all this makes possible the Kundalini energy moving up through the spine. Specific sets of exercises - called kriyas - combine postures, breathing and movement to release, direct and balance the energy stored all over the body. This stimulates and balances our glands and organs, energizes the nerve ganglia connections known as chakras, and removes blockages standing in the way of our personal fulfillment. Each Kriya includes sets of movements designed for a specific purpose - stimulating the nervous system gives mental clarity and improved relaxation, cleansing the glands and organs balances and stabilizes our emotions, opening and relaxing the heart brings about energy and vitality; all of which is emotionally and physically healing.

Once this basic energy is activated and begins moving through the spine it causes chemical secretions in the pineal, hypothalamus and pituitary glands in the brain that result in an actual physical change in our brain chemistry and then in turn our consciousness. This advanced consciousness is known as non-dualism. In other words - there is no separation between the Universal-Self and the individual-self. We experience that: we are Divine and we don't have to search outside to find it.

The sensations we feel when all of this is working properly is the physical, mental and emotional- body - mind - spirit - energy clarifying within our entire being... In Kundalini Yoga the goal is to be cognizant of it all; the individual experience and awareness transforms from mundane to divine, from duality to unity. By opening and raising the Kundalini energy our true human nature - loving and compassionate - is readily able to reveal and sustain itself. When the Kundalini is fully awakened we experience the complete unity of our existence; our experience shifts from a limited duality (with all of the worldly struggles) to recognizing the oneness of all things. While we still experience the diversity, opposition and complexity of our daily lives, we understand this all to be a part of the larger whole; we see patterns of reason and magic behind the seemingly random events of the world...

Yogi Bhajan,  Master of Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini is considered the most comprehensive of yogas, combining meditation, prayer, physical practices and breathing exercises. Fusing individual and universal consciousness creates a divine union, called “yoga.”  For thousands of years, this sacred science and technology was veiled in secrecy, passed along verbally from master to chosen disciple.

Yogi Bhajan broke with this long-held tradition of silence. A master of Kundalini by the age of 16 – itself a rare feat – he gave his first lecture at a Los Angeles high school gym on January 5, 1969. Then a 39-year-old recent émigré from India, he had left behind a lucrative governmental career with the vision of bringing Yoga to the West. No matter that not a single person was present that evening; he came to teach and he proceeded to speak to the empty hall. That would change as Bhajan reached out to the youth. He recognized in them a deeper desire to experience a holistic, liberating sense of awareness. Young people began flocking to his classes, arriving by the busloads. Soon 3HO teaching centers began springing up across the United States and then throughout the world.

Born Harbhajan Singh to a family of healers and community leaders, Yogi Bhajan studied comparative religion and Vedic philosophy in his undergraduate years, going onto receive his Masters in Economics with honors from Punjab University. Years later, he earned his Ph.D. in communications psychology from the University of Humanistic Studies in San Francisco.

Over his lifetime, he emerged as a religious, community and business leader with a distinguished reputation as a man of peace, world-vision, wisdom, and compassion. He authored and published more than 30 books on topics ranging from spirituality and consciousness to communication and psychology. He founded several foods companies that manufacture and distribute natural products based on these teachings.  He met with Pope John Paul II to discuss inter-religious dialogue and worked side-by-side with the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop of Canterbury to foster world peace.

text excerpted from KRI, www.kriteachings.org
The Kundalini Research Institute (KRI) is a support for all Kundalini practitioners, providing lectures and teachings from Yogi Bhajan. 

Jennifer Lovejoy, Portland, OR,  jennifer@greenhorsebodyworks.com

Certified Soma Practitioner, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), Equine Massage Therapist (LAMP), KRI Certified Yoga Teacher, Centered Riding Instructor, Level 1

"All the yogas, whatever their source and character, have only one aim - to save you from the calamity of separate existence, of being a meaningless dot in a vast and beautiful picture."    Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj