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.
Yogi Bhajan was the first to openly teach Kundalini Yoga in the East or the West. The lineage is now held in legacy through the technology of the Golden Chain—a connection to the Masters through the subtle body.
Kundalini Yoga as a practice is a Raj Yoga and combines all the traditional eight limbs of Yoga. The focus of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® 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.
The fundamental objective is to awaken the power of the individual to excel—to experience their Infinity and fulfill their personal destiny; that is, recognize their awareness, refine that awareness, and expand that awareness to the 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.
Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® 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”.
The typical class is 60-90 minutes and usually includes a 5-10-minute warm-up, a 30-45 minute kriya, 5-15-minute relaxation and 11-31 minutes of meditation. Kriyas are complete sets of exercises that are performed in the sequences given by the Master, Yogi Bhajan. 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.
Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® typically includes pranayam and meditation. Pranayam practices range from One Minute Breath, Breath of Fire, alternate nostril breathing, Dog Breath, Sitali Pranayam, and suspended breath techniques, to name a few. Meditations often involve movement or mantra, and generally have an eye focus (drishti) in addition to mudra (hand position) and asana (body posture). Many Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® kriyas and meditations include mantra and chanting.
Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® 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.
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 with Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® than many other styles of yoga. It’s variety of techniques and meditations is 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.
One of the first signs of the awakening of the kundalini is a new awareness of the power of our words. You begin to meditate on and develop inner sounds using mantra and naad. Kundalini Yoga was often mistaken for Mantra Yoga because of its frequent integration of sound in its kriyas and meditations. The use of mantra throughout the practice of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® is very effective in attaining two particular goals of the practice—expansion of the Self and elevation of the spirit. Mantra also supports those new to meditation, who find silence and absolutely stillness very challenging. In this way it is a ‘beginner’s practice’ and can be used by anyone to attain clarity, balance and equanimity. In addition, there are many meditations that are silent, practiced in a profoundly transformative stillness called shuniya.