Introduction to Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga is known as the ‘Mother of all Yogas’ because it is the original system from which all other yogas stem and includes all aspects; postures, mudras, breath work, meditation, chanting and relaxation as well as ethical and lifestyle considerations. It gives us the awareness of what it means to be happy by teaching us what we need to do and how to be to improve the quality of our lives. It gives us the physical energy, the endurance and the stamina to follow through on these things.

 

A consistent daily practice will help you to break through mental, physical and emotional blocks. You will explore more deeply your inner self to find out more about who you really are and so re-align with your destiny.

 

In this day and age when vast amounts of knowledge and millions of services are available through the internet it is easy to convince ourselves that we have all that we need to get everything we want. Kundalini Yoga teaches us that knowledge has to be combined with experience to become wisdom. In fact in this time of great chaos and confusion, personally and globally, we have a great need for a uniquely powerful and transformative practice. The knowledge is the collective wisdom of the great yogis and seers throughout the ages concentrated down into the practice of Kundalini Yoga. The opportunity we have been given is to practice the kriyas and meditations (the combined effect of the postures, mudras, mantras, breath and body locks contained in each sequence of exercises) so that we can unlock the wisdom contained within them and raise the kundalini to transcend our blocks and so enter the state of Samadhi (bliss).

 

Actually it is relatively easy to raise the Kundalini, but for Samadhi to become a permanent state this heightened spiritual awareness needs to be brought back down and earthed – put into constructive action for the greater good.

“Meditation, Kundalini Yoga and White Tantra Yoga all work to disentangle the threads of insecurity from the layers of the subconscious. When these are removed you can deal with things as they actually are rather than as your fears portray them” (Yogi Bhajan, Teacher Training Manual p19)

 

Basics of Kundalini

Kundalini Yoga is not only a preventative medicine but a way for you to become your own coach, personal trainer and therapist!

 

The Basics

Tuning In

Before any Kundalini Yoga practice always tune in by chanting the ADI MANTRA; Sit with legs crossed in easy pose or on your heels in rock pose with a straight spine. Rub your hands together and place them together in prayer pose at the centre of your chest. Take a few long deep breaths, focusing at the third eye point (just above where your eyebrows would meet) then inhale deep chanting, Ong Na Mo Guru Dev Na Mo. Ong is a long sound and Dev is a long sound, the others are short. Inhale and repeat 2 more times.

Ong Na Mo Guru Dev Na Mo translates as ‘I call on Infinite Wisdom to guide me’

 

Warm Ups – In general, and especially in the morning, it is good to do some warm up exercises, the minimum of which will be flexing, extending and twisting the spine (see ….)

 

During Exercises – Yogi Bhajan said that yoga is not yoga without mantra emphasizing its pivotal role both in meditations, and as a continuous sound current throughout our practice. Several times throughout your practice mentally recite ‘Sat’ on the inhale and ‘Nam’ on the exhale. At other times you can focus on the sound of your breath. This will teach your mind to follow You (You are not your mind!). For example you may be breathing a full, deep and smooth breath which will have a surprisingly calming effect or performing breath of fire which will be cleansing and energising. You may also be given a dhristi (particular point of focus, for example the third eye point). All of these points of focus train the mind to be in Your service.

 

Finishing an Exercise – Relax for a moment after each exercise to become still so that the effects can be noticed. At the end of certain exercises when you want to consolidate the effect generated you can inhale hold the breath and apply mulhabanada or inhale, exhale and apply mulhabhanda with the breath held out. When you choose to do this is discovered the more you do Kundalini Yoga.

 

Format of the class – Follow the exercises in the order given; don’t add exercises or leave any out and don’t stop until you’re finished unless the interruption is urgent. If you need to reduce the length of an exercise, for example to half the time, make all the others half as well. In other words don’t bring your own emphasis but be loyal to the teachings. Yogi Bhajan’s delivery is timeless, exacting and has a definite effect.

 

Finishing a Kriya – When you have completed all the exercises take a 5 – 10 minute relaxation lying on your back with the arms by your side and the palms up. Cover yourself with a blanket so that your body heat is retained.

 

Coming Out of Relaxation – Begin to slow rotate your feet and hands in circles

Cat Stretch; bring your interlaced hands under your neck and your knees to your chest, relax your knees to one side, roughly in line with your navel, or wherever height you can manage for the legs to touch the floor. Turn your head in the opposite direction so that you ‘wring’ the body out. Switch sides and repeat.

Still on your back bring your knees up and out to the sides and rub the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands briskly

Clasping the knees to the chest begin rolling on your spine all the way from the top of your shoulders to the base of your spine. Do this 4 or 5 times.

Come sitting up in easy pose, rub your hands together again and put them in prayer pose.

 

Tuning Out – Take 2 or 3 deep breaths and chant ‘Sat Nam’ 3 times. ‘Sat’ is as long as you can make it and ‘Nam’ is short. The ratio is 35 to 1, or 8 to 1 (you don’t have to count this ratio off in your mind, just approximate)

 

Practising at home  – Kriya = completed action, to exhaust our resistance. So, for example if you choose a kriya which works on eliminating fear, after each day you will be feeling less fearful, which also means exhausting our resistance to being faithful (since faith is the antidote to fear)

The beauty of Kundalini Yoga is that almost every time the master, Yogi Bhajan taught he gave us a new kriya and meditation so there are hundreds to choose from. Initially this can feel overwhelming as each kriya is working on a different aspect of us and we often feel like we want to address everything at once. Regarding the kriyas given simply pick whatever you are drawn to and this can change each day or every few days. At some point you may want to focus on one meditation or one kriya then you practice the same one for 40 days or more. If it is a meditation you have chosen 31 minutes for 40 days is a great commitment to make to yourself (if you miss a day go back to day 1!).

The other way to choose is based in picking a kriya based on the number of the day. To find this out simply put a plus in between each number and then reduce to 10 or less. So, for example; 24/06/2016 is a number 3 day (2+4+0+6+2+0+1+6 = 21, 2+1 = 3). Look at the chart called ‘Officials and Ministers‘  to see which number relates to which organ.

 

Timing – Anytime dedicated to your yoga practice is a time dedicated not only to reducing stress and becoming healthier, which is a pleasant side effect, but most importantly to become more of who you really are. Essentially we are peeling back the layers of repression that we have felt from others and that we have put there as a result of our own mistaken identity. “Kundalini is the potential of creativity of the Infinite in the finite. It is the widening of the behaviour and it is ultimate happiness in life…It is the central nerve system we are talking about which extends the grasp of the brain to imagine Infinity in its totality, and then it is a gradual process to work for that experience” (Yogi Bhajan)

With this goal in mind the question about timing is more obvious – anytime is a good time to be confronting and clearing out our limited perceptions so that we can dig deeper to uncover the truth and give our minds an ‘infinite horizon’ Practically the transitions between light and dark are the optimal times for accelerated processing. These are between 4 and 7 am and 4 and 7 pm. The early morning hours are when the air is cleaner, the mind is more receptive and there is not a lot of interference from the rest of the world (most ‘sensible’ people are sleeping!). If you have difficulty rising at 4 or 5 am try to get up at least half an hour or more before you have to so that you can fit a short kriya/meditation in before your day starts. If you only have time for a meditation do some spinal flexes, twist the spine and do 20 or so shoulder shrugs or some other stretch routine beforehand. This way you will not be so distracted by tensions held in the body whilst you are working to focus the mind.

Always tune in and out even if you are doing a short sequence. Leave at least 2 hours after eating before starting your practice. Breathe through the nose unless instructed to do otherwise. Choose a clean, quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Keep your hair tied up, your feet bare and wear loose comfortable cotton clothing if possible. Wearing white clothing helps you to feel uplifted (it’s also good for others; white contains all the other colours so people can get whatever they need from it) A yoga mat is recommended so that you don’t slip and a sheepskin is comfortable to meditate on.