Kundalini Yoga, often referred to as the Yoga of Awareness, uses ancient and powerful techniques originating in India which were brought to the West by Yogi Bahjan in 1968. The yoga practice focuses on radiant health, mental clarity and spiritual strength through a dynamic blend of physical postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), movement, stretching, meditation, chanting (mantra) and relaxation.
Practicing Kundalini Yoga helps to raise consciousness by releasing subconscious patterns that block the flow of kundalini energy so that we can better understand ourselves and live a more harmonious life.
In Kundalini Yoga the most important thing is your experience. It goes right to your heart. No words can replace that experience.
All classes have the same format:
Tune in – Warm Up – Kriya – Relaxation – Meditation – Tune Out
1. We always start a class or personal practice by chanting the Adi Mantra 3 times:
“Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo.”
Ong = creative energy of the total cosmos and consciousness.
Namo = to bow to or call on with respect and receptivity.
Ong Namo = If the limited individual ego in which we normally live is a small pond, then Ong Namo releases us into a vast and endless ocean.
Guru = wisdom or teacher
Dev = subtle, etheric or devine
Guru Dev Namo = calls on the subtle wisdom that guides you in an impersonally personal manner
This is a meditative link between you as a finite personality and you as a flow of the infinite consciousness. It connects us in. It is the yogi’s humble bowing to the infinite. It also connects us to the golden chain of teachers.
2. We then chant A Mangala Charan mantra 3 times
“Ad guray nameh, jugaad guray nameh
Sat guray nameh, siree guroo dayv-ay nameh”
I bow to the primal wisdom.
I bow to the wisdom true through the ages.
I bow to the true wisdom. I bow to the great unseen wisdom.
You are guided from the primal core and beginning, through every moment of experience and activity, guided in your heart’s deepest truth and being by the unseen Infinity of your highest self. This is a mantra which clears the clouds of doubt and opens us to guidance and protection. It surrounds the magnetic field with protective light.
Recommended exercises for warmup:
-Life nerve stretch
A Kriya is action using a dynamic blend of physical postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), movement, chanting (mantra) and hand positions (mudra) to manifest a particular effect. There are thousands of kriyas. Examples include Kriya for Disease Immunity, Kriya for a Healthy Bowel System, Kriya for Elevation, Kriya for Flexibility and the Spine.
Deep relaxation is not just the absence of movement. It brings profound relaxation to the physical body, allowing us to enjoy and consciously integrate the mind-body changes which have been brought about during the practice of a kriya.
During relaxation cover yourself with a blanket and put socks on if you wish for warmth. Close eyes. Relax the breath. Let everything go.
Meditation and Mantra
Mediation is the process of controlling and transcending the waves of the mind, allowing the flow of radiance from the soul. This promotes well-being, inner peace, stability and calm. It develops intuition and clarity of mind.
There are many meditations used in Kundalini Yoga. Some do not use mantras, but many do.
Chanting mantras, either silently or out loud, is a conscious method of controlling and directing the mind. Man=mind. Trang=wave or projection. The science of mantra is based on the knowledge that sound is a form of energy having structure, power and definite predictable effect on the chakras and the human psyche. The language of many of the mantras used is Gurmukhi (from the Sikh tradition) although there are also some in English.
Ensure you pronounce mantra clearly and precisely to achieve the effect of the sound from the tongue hitting the meridians in the upper palate which correspond to patterns in the brain. Your lips are the feminine, your tongue the masculine and when you pronounce each sound you make love with the universe!
There are many mantras used in class. Here is a key one:
“Ek ong kaar, sat naam, kartaa purakh, nirbo, nirvair
Akaal moort, ajoonee, saibhang, gurprasaad. Jap.
Aad such, jugad such, haibee such
Naanak hosee bhee such”
The Creator and all creation are One. This is our True Identity. The Doer of everything. Beyond fear. Beyond Revenge. Image of the Infinite. Unborn. Self-illuminated, complete in the Self. This is the Guru’s Gift. Meditate! Primal Truth, true through all time. True at this instant, O Nanak, forever true.
This is the highest of all mantras. It contains the root of sound that is the basis for all effective mantras. This mantra orients like a compass towards God (please substitute whatever term works for you here).
Body locks applied to the body direct prana (life force of the atom) and apana (elimination) and accumulate the effects of the efforts of the practitioner by bringing the kundalini up.
Jalandhar Bandh (Neck Lock)
Most basic and generally applied of all the locks. It is a general rule to apply it in all chanting meditations and during most pranayama exercises. Whenever you are holding the breath in or out, it is usually applied unless otherwise instructed.
To apply Neck Lock:
Sit comfortably with the spine straight.
Lift the chest and sternum upward.
At the same time, gently stretch the back of the neck straight by pulling the chin toward the back of the neck.
The head stays level and centred, and does not tilt forward or to either side.
The muscles of the neck and throat remain loose. Keep the muscles of the face and brow relaxed.
The stretch is automatically applied by the shift of relative position between the chin and the chest. Do not force the head forward or down.
Mulbandh (Root Lock)
This is like a hydraulic lock at the base of the spine. It coordinates, stimulates and balances the energies involved with the rectum, sex organs, and Navel Point. This bandh is frequently applied at the end of an exercise to crystalise its effects. It is usually applied in conjunction with Neck Lock. Root Lock is a smooth motion that consists of three parts.
To apply Root Lock:
First contract the anal sphincter. Feel the muscles life upward and inward.
Once these muscles tighten and move, contract the area around the sex organ. This is experienced as a slight lift and rotation inward of the pubic bone. It is like trying to stem the flow of urine. Then contract the lower abdominal muscles and the Navel Point toward the spine.
These three actions applied together in a smooth, rapid, flowing motion is the mulbandh.
This lock can be applied with the breath retained in or out.
Long Time Sun
Long Time Sun blessing 2 or 3 times
“May the long time sun shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light within you
Guide your way on”
Sat Nam 3 times
“Sat Naam” – Pronounce “Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaat Namm”
This mantra is the most widely used mantra in Kundalini Yoga. Sat means truth – the reality of one’s existence. Naam means the identity. Truth is my identity. It is a bij (or seed) mantra. Within the seed is contained all the knowledge of the fully grown tree. The essence or seed is the identity of truth embodied in condensed form. Chanting this mantra awakens the soul and gives you your destiny.
Five Sutras for the Aquarian Age by Yogi Bahjan
1. Recognise that the other person is you.
2. There is a way through every block.
3. When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off.
4. Understand through compassion or you will misunderstand the times.
5. Vibrate the Cosmos, the Cosmos will clear the path.
NB All above information is taken from Kundalini Research Institute (KRI) The Aquarian Teacher KRI International Teacher Training in Kundalini Yoga Level One Instructor Textbook and Level One Instructor Yoga Manual.
Kundalini Mantra music is powerful for yoga but is great to listen to generally. Suggested artists to start with include Snatam Kaur, White Sun, Ajeet Kaur, Singh Kaur, Krishnan.
3HO Foundation http://www.3HO.org
Kundalini Research Institute kundaliniresearchinstitute.org
satnam.eu (great selection of yoga products)
The Aquarian Teacher KRI International Teacher Training in Kundalini Yoga Level One Instructor Textbook and Level One Instructor Yoga Manual (see Jo for this)