"Kundalini is the Warrior Healers Yoga. It requires, strength, discipline and faith"
If you have never done Kundalini Yoga, but it keeps coming across your radar and it continues to call to you, you would fall under the category of what I call "Kundalini Curious." For starters usually there is something deeper that has drawn you to the practice than just wanting to get in shape. Most people are drawn to Kundalini Yoga because of karma. Your soul is calling to you that you are in need of healing and the science of Kundalini Yoga may be just what your soul is yearning for. It is my suggestion before you delve in to the world that is Kundalini that you do a little research and consider some things before you step foot into a Kundalini Yoga class:
1) What is my motivation for my practice?
2) What is my understanding of Kundalini energy and Kundalini Yoga?
3) How do I find a guide and a community?
4) What is the etiquette: Where should I go? What should I wear? What should I do?
3) What should I expect from a Kundalini Yoga class?
MOTIVATION AND INTENTION
It is vital to know what is your motivation for embarking on any yoga practice, but particularly Kundalini Yoga, because Kundalini Yoga has a very strong spiritual component. Ask yourself...is healing your intention? Have you reached the end of your rope, exhausted all possibilities and are willing to try anything? Are you seeking a life partner, a community and/or social network? Are you wanting to loose weight? Are you wanting to lead a healthier lifestyle? It is best to be brutally honest with yourself and get clear on what it is that you really want. Know your motivation because Kundalini is guaranteed to change your life, and flip the perception of who you think you are on it's head. Meditate on that...are you really ready for all that transformation entails?
KUNDALINI ENERGY AND KUNDALINI YOGA
Kundalini Engery is creative energy that lies at the base of the spine. If this energy remains dormant and stagnant it leads to a life that is mundane, filled with malaise, and without direction. When one raises this energy, one is able to navigate one's life with increased intuition and creativity to create a life that is fulfilled, prosperous and meaningful.
The generic definition of Kundalini Yoga is: Kundalini Yoga and Meditation as taught by Yogi Bhajan uses Asana (yoga postures), Pranayam (breathing techniques), Mantra (use of sound to alter thought patterns and brain chemistry), Mudra (hand positions to channel energy flow) and Meditation (quieting the mind to promote mental clarity and self-awareness). With this yoga, we break through the blockages in our chakras (energy vortices along the spine), alter our life condition and heal lifetimes of karma. This leads to a more fulfilled, integrated, and prosperous life. It is called the yoga of awareness because it is the quickest way to burn karma and transform your life: Twelve years of Hatha Yoga are equivalent to 1 year of Kundalini Yoga.
Although Kundalini Yoga can and will open the path towards your destiny, prosperity and fulfillment...there will be pitfalls, demons and epiphanies before you reach self-actualization. Truth be told, Kundalini Yoga is hard! It is physically and emotionally challenging. Your heart will be ripped open so that you can see your soul as God sees it. Kundalini Yoga is the the Warrior Healer's Yoga. It requires discipline, strength and faith. Sometimes we need to pass through hell to get to Heaven. So be sure to pick a guide that will be attuned to your process and your needs and can show you the way.
Do your homework on your teacher because your teacher is the creator of the community and the nucleus of the karmic family. (A karmic family is a group of spiritual beings that gravitate to one another to elevate their own and each other's karma. This is not limited to birth family but can be created families.) Know your teacher's lineage and get to know their story: Who was your teacher's teacher? How did they come to discover Kundalini Yoga? Do they possess what you seek as far as spiritual knowledge and life mastery? Are they nurturing, attuned and compassionate? Observe their character...do not just listen to their words. Because yogis, even in turbans, are human too. Speak to more than one teacher and go to more than one class. The internet is a great resource and will provide a wealth of information on teachers and communities. Most instructors have blogs and YouTube channels very similar to mine. Each with a different flavor and focus. But most importantly, you will know who your guide is when your heart shmelts. Warm fuzzies are a good sign that you have found the right one. Listen to your heart.
The Kundalini Yoga community can be rather daunting and overwhelming. The sea of white folks in white garb doing yoga can be a bit oxymoronic. Truth be told, the foundation of Kundalini Yoga in America is a slew of ex-hippies that were seeking enlightenment and stumbled upon Yogi Bhajan who was also seeking followers to make into teachers. As in any spiritual tradition, but especially in the Kundalini community, there tends to be some cult-ish behavior and teacher worship. Be sure your teacher and community reflects your culture and worldview and that the teacher has the best interest of your community as it's priority not personal interest. You will discover this as time passes. Use discernment as you get involved. Don't lose sight and focus on your Self and your practice. Ultimately, any yoga practice is a personal one. You want to become proficient enough to be able to sustain and maintain your own practice at h(om). Yoga teachers and studio owners don't want you to know this because it's bad for business, but that is another discussion. Classes initially should provide the boost you need until you can do it on your own. Just make sure that you walking along the right path with individuals that inspire and support you and take you to where you are destined to be.
Because Kundalini is very much tied in to the Sikh spiritual tradition, enter a studio/center as you would any other place of worship: with modesty and humility. Observe what are the rules of the house: Shoes off? Loose fitted clothing? Hair covered? It is not necessary to wear all white the first class nor wear a head covering. As your practice deepens, so will your desire to elevate your spirit and your practice. It is always best to be over dressed than under dressed. So, cover up that beautiful body with loose fitted clothing when in a studio/center. Remember, Kundalini Yoga is an internal process the majority of the time done with eyes closed. You don't want your outer process to interfere with your, or anyone else's, inner process nor deter you from the work that needs to be done. Be sensitive to your surroundings and your practice will deepen.
WHAT TO EXPECT
At the onset of one's Kundalini journey, you may get to foreboding warnings from loved ones, and other yogis, that Kundalini Yoga is dangerous and if you raise your Kundalini you can lose your marbles. Although it is possible to increase ones intuition and clairvoyance through a deep practice, it is vital that you have someone grounded and experienced leading the way so this does not happen. I have seen the irresponsibility in the Kundalini community in this regard. This why I stress the importance of having a skilled teacher as your guide. DO YOUR HOMEWORK! A spiritual emergency (which I will get deeper into at a later juncture) can look very similar to a psychotic break to an untrained professional.
As far as your first Kundalini Yoga class, you may experience shortness of breath, dizziness and nausea. This can be attributed to improper breathing, increased oxygen intake and/or body conditioning. In the beginning, take it easy and go at your own pace. Keep your eyes closed and focus on your body and the emotions that are being evoked. If unexpected uncontrollable tears start flowing, know that it's working! Remember what I said in the beginning of this blog entry? Kundalini Yoga WILL change your life. And it begins at your first contact with it. So, what are you waiting for?! Your dharma, contentment and fulfillment awaits...