Kundalini Yoga - Frequently Asked Questions
To provide information about Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® I thought it would be helpful to create a FAQ page that would tell a bit of my story of how I was led to Kundalini Yoga as well as follow with some
of the commonly asked questions about Kundalini Yoga. The answers transcribed below are quotes or have been summarized from the vast body of Yogi Bhajan’s writings and his many teachers and students from
around the world. I have also provided resource links to explore further information.
Frequently Asked Questions
How did you come to find Kundalini Yoga?
It was within a conversation about my looking for a yoga practice that would best suit me, that in 2012, my oldest daughter declared to me, “Mom, Kundalini Yoga is the yoga for you.” She, a Hatha, Vinyasa and a Pilates teacher in Vancouver, BC, as well as a professional dancer with the Luciterra Dance Company, had through her training and practice, come to understand the essence of the different styles of yoga. She told me that Kundalini Yoga encompassed various elements of movement, chant and meditation that she knew I had studied and practiced throughout the years. From that point on, I embraced it into my life, as best I could where I lived, and gradually felt a strong calling to become a teacher. Well, it took a move from Manitoba to Quebec and a son not living far from Equilibrium Yoga in Montreal, QC, for the pathway to align so that I could embark on my teachers training. Graduating June of 2015, I experienced ten months of study, practice and transformation with my wonderful, devoted teacher and owner of Equilibrium Yoga, Shabad Saroop Singh Khalsa.
How has yoga been brought to the West?
As travel became easier and easier throughout the past centuries, we as a world have introduced ourselves to distant lands with our spices, our foods, our arts, our culture, our weapons, our spiritual beliefs and our practices. Although motivations by humanity have not always created utopia within these interactions, I like to see the positive and acknowledge that our presentations between lands are as gifts that we give each other in appreciation for having the opportunity to experience each other’s uniqueness. It is within this framework that we can pass on and share ancient wisdom to help each other. Yoga has been presented as a gift to the West from the teachers of the East who have felt guided to share its life enhancing attributes with another part of the world. It is within this interaction of sharing that we are always challenged to rise beyond the little self which manifests itself as selfishness, greed and exclusivity to the Infinite self of respect, humility, gratitude, compassion, nonjudgement and inclusion. In this world where technology blurs and blends a plethora of information, of which we often freely take in fragments, we are reminded to be mindful and reverent of its origin and respect its entire context.
Who is Yogi Bhajan and what is his relationship to Kundalini Yoga?
He was born Harbhajan Singh Puri on August 26, 1929 in the district of Gujaranwala, India, an area that became part of Pakistan after the partition in 1947. He was the son of a medical doctor. As a boy his early education was unique in that he was the only boy attending a girl’s Catholic convent school, a school that provided the finest education available in the area. He frequently unnerved the Mother Superior with his profound and unanswerable questions. As a child born into a landlord’s family whose combined holdings included their entire village his birthday was acknowledged as festive occasion in the village. It was customary that he be weighed on his birthday and as many kilos as he weighed, that many gold coins, along with seven times that number of kilos of wheat would be distributed to the poor people of the village.
This practice of seva (Sanskrit word for selfless service) and the feeding of the poor were an important part of his early life. At the age of eight, Yogi Bhajan went on to study Kundalini Yoga, Tantric Yoga and Gong Meditation under the direction of Sant Hazara Singh, master of Kundalini Yoga and Mahan Tantric (White Tantric Yoga) of that time. At the age of sixteen and one-half he was acknowledged by his teacher as having attained mastery of Kundalini Yoga. (Reference: The Aquarian Teacher, Yogi Bhajan, Pg 59 – 61)
Click here to read more about Yogi Bhajan's life in the west.
How does yoga philosophy recognize the structure of a human being?
It recognizes the presence of body, mind and spirit. The body being the vehicle to travel through life, the mind guiding actions and emotions and spirit as the connection to the flow of the cosmic energy.
Why do teachers and some students wear white and cover their head while teaching or practicing?
Yogi Bhajan taught that wearing white expands the auric radiance of a human being by at least one foot, from the usual nine foot aura to ten feet. White strengthens the identity and projection of the wearer and negative influences are automatically filtered. As a teacher, wearing white symbolizes a commitment, respect and reverence of the teachings of Kundalini Yoga. Wearing a turban or head covering acts to protect the solar centers that become very sensitive when meditating deeply. Read more here.
What should I wear for Kundalini Yoga?
Wear comfortable clothing such as loose T-shirts and stretchy pants. Natural fiber fabrics, like cotton is also very comfortable to wear.
What should I bring to class?
A yoga mat, a shawl or light blanket, a water bottle and a meditation pillow if you like to use your own.
Why is chant used in Kundalini Yoga and what is its language?
The languages of Sanskrit and Gurmukhi are both the ancient languages of yogis. Sanskrit is the language of Hindu chanting and is used by most yogic traditions except Kundalini Yoga, which is derived from the Sikh tradition and has chanting sung in the Gurmukhi language. Chanting typically involves repeating a mantra or a prayer. “Man” means mind and “tra” means across, so a mantra is something that is said or sung repeatedly. It crosses the mind and helps to control one's thoughts for meditation. It gives the hyperactive mind something holy to play with so that it calms down. Repeating these words out loud has a specific effect on the body. As one shapes the mouth and places the tongue in the position required by the mantra, the tongue hits meridian points on the top of the upper palate of the mouth, which affects the energies going to different glands such as the hypothalamus, the pineal, and the pituitary. The stimulation of these meridian points produces the effect of relaxation and an altered state of consciousness. For information and a great resource for Kundalini Yoga mantras and music, go to Spirit Voyage Music
How do I respond if I feel emotions during a class?
It is not unusual to have emotions pass through the body while practicing Kundalini Yoga. Just relax and let it pass. If tears come let them come. If you want to laugh, let yourself laugh. The body is releasing and letting go. The practice will bring you back to a balance. If you have any questions or concerns speak with the teacher after the class.
Links for more information and resources:
More FAQ's answered - Kundalini Research Institute
General information, resources - Kundalini Research Institute
General information - Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization
Sources for Kundalini Music, Mantra, Clothing, etc.
Ancient Healing Ways
If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to Contact Me.