Kundalini Yoga is one of the most powerful and effective forms of
yoga. It stimulates optimal health and a radiant sense of well being
with simple yogic techniques that can be practiced by anyone. Positive
effects can be noticed right away.
Kundalini Yoga helps to balance the energy systems in the body, including the brain, the glandular and nervous systems. This helps you function at a consistently higher level, without
exhausting your mind and body.
When the body and mind are at ease, inspiration flows freely and peace of mind is realized.
Until fairly recently, Kundalini Yoga was the exclusive and secretive domain of yogis in the far-off Himalayas and India.
In 1968, Yogi Bhajan came to the West and began to teach this
powerful, health-giving science openly. In 1970, he founded the
Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization (3HO) to spread and to serve these
Nowadays, through the efforts of Yogi Bhajan and the other teachers
of the 3HO Foundation, Kundalini Yoga is practice by tens of thousands
of people in 31 countries, making 3HO the largest yoga teaching
organization in the world.
As a beginning student, you can participate in the class at a pace
that suits your flexibility and endurance. Wear loose, comfortable
clothing, preferably made of cotton or other natural, breathable fiber.
It is best to remove your socks to stimulate the vital nerve endings in
the soles of your feet.
If you allow at least two hours between eating and practicing yoga,
you will gain the maximum benefits. It is also easier to exercise on an
empty stomach. If you must eat, have something light to tide you over.
Advise the teacher beforehand if you have any physical
limitations or are pregnant. If you are pregnant or menstruating, do
not push yourself. Avoid exercises and inverted postures that position
the legs over the head or put great stress on the abdomen. Instead of
breath of fire, practice long deep breathing.
A blanket or shawl may have many useful applications. You can sit on
it, cover your body with it during deep relaxations, and use it to
cover your back and shoulders during meditation.
Since Kundalini Yoga is a powerful, life-altering science, we begin each class with an exercise of attunement, using the mantra Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo. This is similar to chanting OM in other styles of yoga.
By chanting Ong Namo, we honor the universal energy of change and embrace its role in our life. Ong means Creator and Namo means I bow. By chanting Guru Dev Namo,
we honor our highest spiritual authority, our consciousness. Since
change without inner guidance is pointless, with the help of our inner Guru Dev we can accomplish a great deal that otherwise might not be possible.
Kundalini Yoga is called the yoga of angles and triangles. The
specific angles that make up each yoga posture put pressure on the
glands to secrete. When the body comes out of an asana, the glandular
secretions have an opportunity to circulate freely. With practice, the
glands, which are the guardians of our health, begin to function
better, relieved of needless stress and better attuned to the real
needs of body, mind and spirit.
Exercising the breath is a fundamental part of yogic practice. The
lungs are our largest organs, but most people only use 30 percent of
their lungs. Long, deep breathing helps to build our lung capacity and
thus our patience and endurance. Breathing through the nose has a
calming effect compared with mouth breathing, which stimulates the
secretion of stress-producing chemicals in the body. Breath of fire is
a rapid, abdominal breath that releases toxins from the body and
expands the capacity of the lungs.
The use of locks, created by tensing certain muscles, serves as a
powerful way for you to concentrate and direct the flow of your body's
vital energy to your higher centers. The four locks are root lock (mool
bandh), diaphragm lock (uddhiyana bandh), neck lock (jalandhar bandh)
and the great lock (maha bandh).
In both the ancient science of the yoga masters and the theory of
quantum physics, vibration is central to all existence. In Mantra Yoga,
we create certain sounds that have been shown to have natural, healing
attributes. When we chant a mantra, it affects us in three ways. One is
through the impact of the its meaning. Another is through the subtle
effect of its sounds on the nervous system. Thirdly, subtle meridians,
at the roof of the mouth are stimulated, which in turn affects the
hypothalamus and the pituitary, the master gland of the body, for
greater efficiency and higher awareness.
Hand Postures (Mudras)
According to traditional yogic science, each area of the hand helps
control a specific part of the brain. Western anatomical science also
shows that the hands and fingers are widely represented in the brain.
Yogic theory says that various discrete neurological effects can be
attained by, for example, touching the fingertips to the thumb, or
crossing certain fingers.
Mental Focus (Dhyan)
Try to stay mindful for the duration of the class. Keep aware of the
magic of the breath. Be mindful of the subtle nuances of the exercises
you are doing. Be aware of their effect on your physical and mental
state. Be mindful of your mind, and try to coax it back to the here and
now when you find it wandering by focusing within.
The strengthening, uplifting effects of Kundalini Yoga are most
pronounced when it is practiced on a regular, even a daily, basis.
Consider setting aside time to invest in your self first thing, or
before you sleep at night. You will be glad you did.
The Longtime Sun
Each class comes to a close with a song that affirms our
connectedness with each other, the Earth and our highest aspirations.
It dates from the early days of Kundalini Yoga classes in 1969.
May the longtime sun shine upon you,
all love surround you,
and the pure light within you
guide your way on,
guide your way on
guide your way on.