This week I share intriguing information about a style of Yoga I teach and love; Kundalini Yoga. The first major area of focus in this Yoga practice is to balance and calm the nervous system (which greatly helps with anxiety, depression, panic and trauma.) The second is to balance the glandular system that consists of our adrenals (fight or flight response) and all the other glands in the body including the lymphatic system.
By the way – there is another 8-week series with me that begins Oct 28 – Mondays 7:00-8:30pm at Janati Yoga School in Kingston, Ontario.
What is Kundaini Yoga?
The Kundalini Research Institute (KRI) is the resource for the following information I am sharing with you this week.
Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® is considered the most comprehensive of yoga traditions, combining meditation, mantra, physical exercises and breathing techniques; it is a Raj Yog, 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.” This poetic metaphor alludes to the flow of energy and consciousness that exists within each of us, and enables us to merge with – or “yoke” – the universal Self. Fusing individual and universal consciousness creates a divine union, called “yoga.” The Upanishads, dating back to the fifth century B.C., describe the kundalini, although the oral tradition reaches back even further into history. For thousands of years, this sacred science and technology was veiled in secrecy, passed along verbally from master to chosen disciple.
How do you describe Kundalini Yoga?
Kundalini Yoga is also known as the Yoga of Awareness; its focus is on self-awareness and delivering an experience of your highest consciousness. The technology of Kundalini Yoga is a science of the mind and body, to elevate the spirit, which has no boundaries, no discrimination. Therefore it is for everyone, universal and nondenominational.
What is the focus of Kundalini Yoga? What is the primary objective of the practice?
The primary objective is to awaken the full potential of human awareness in each individual; that is, recognize our awareness, refine that awareness, and expand that awareness to our unlimited Self. Clear any inner duality, create the power to deeply listen, cultivate inner stillness, and prosper and deliver excellence in all that we do.
The focus of Kundalini Yoga is on one’s personal experience and awareness through the practice of kriya and naad. We awaken the kundalini in order to be able to call upon the full potential of the nervous and glandular systems and to balance the subtle system of chakras and meridians within the body. “Kriya” is an orchestrated pattern of movements, sound, pranayam, mudras, concentration and meditation that automatically guide the energies of the body and the mind to a specific result or change of consciousness.
Kundalini Yoga does not rely on any one of these techniques per se, although we use many. Instead, it is the unique and tested syntax, within the 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.
Our fundamental objective is to awaken the power of the individual to excel—to experience their Infinity and fulfill their personal destiny.
How would you describe a typical Kundalini Yoga class? How does it start and end? How long does it last? What is emphasized?
Kundalini Yoga is probably the most formalized style of yoga currently taught throughout the world. In any class, anywhere in the world, you can expect it to include six major components: 1) tuning-in with the Adi Mantra, 2) pranayam or warm-up, 3) kriya, 4) relaxation, 5) meditation and 6) close with the blessing song, “May the Long Time Sun Shine Upon You”.
Kriyas are complete sets of exercises that are performed in the sequences. They can be simple short sequences or they may involve vigorous, even strenuous exercises, and strong breath techniques such as Breath of Fire, which challenge and strengthen the nervous and endocrine systems and test the will of the practitioner beyond the limitations of their ego.
The typical class is 60-90 minutes: with a warm-up, 30-45 minute kriya, 5-15 minute layout (savasana), and final meditation.
What makes Kundalini Yoga unique (that is, different from other styles/schools of yoga)?
It’s 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 than many other styles of yoga. It’s variety of techniques and meditations are enormous, allowing the instructor to tailor programs that support the individual and her goals. 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.
Click here to register for the 8-week series of classes with me that begins October 28!