Kundalini Yoga 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.
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.
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 say, although we use many. Instead, it is the unique and tested syntax, within the structure of each kriya, 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.
Kundalini Yoga was taught from Master to student for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years and intersects with the lineage of the Sikh Masters such as Guru Nanak, Guru Ram Das and Guru Gobind Singh for the past 500 years. Its sources include many other yoga Masters of the Northern Punjab region of India as well as the unique contributions of the Gurus in the use of naad and Shabd Guru. Guru Nanak started the Udasi line through his son Baba Siri Chand, a Master who served and taught for more than 100 years. He taught to all existing lineages of that time and educated several of the Sikh Gurus in their youth. 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 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: 5-10 minute warm-up, 30-45 minute kriya, 5-15 minute layout, 11-31 minutes of meditation.
Kundalini Yoga 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. 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 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.
This information comes from the Kundalini Research Institute.