- What should I expect from a class?
A Kundalini Yoga class is made up of the following elements:
Tuning In: When we practice Kundalini Yoga, we tune in by chanting ‘Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo’, connecting us to the purity of the infinite teacher living within each of us.
Breath (Pranayama): Breath is life energy itself. When we learn how to breathe consciously, we can calm our minds and master all aspects of our lives.
Kriya: A Kriya is an exact, dynamic combination of postures (asana), breathing and sound – a complete system that balances body, mind and soul, and increases mental clarity and physical vitality.
Meditation: Meditation brings awareness and control of our thoughts. Using mantra (sacred sound currents repeated aloud or silently) and mudra (sacred gestures) we can clear negative patterns and connect with our higher consciousness.
Is there anything I need to do to prepare for a class?
- Ideally avoid food for 2 or 3 hours before a class. If you need to eat something, have something light like a piece of fruit.
- Wear loose fitting natural fibre clothing.
- Long hair should be tied up and out of the way.
- Have a bottle of water with you and drink plenty.
- Bring a natural yoga mat and a blanket or shawl to cover yourself whilst relaxing.
What should I wear?
Ideally, loose and comfortable clothing made of natural fibres (e.g. cotton, linen, wool, hemp). As the class progresses you may become warm, so having layers is often useful. Bringing a shawl or blanket will keep you warm in the relaxation and meditation segments of the class.
Why do you practice on sheepskins?
Yogi Bhajan recommended the sheepskin for meditation, as it created insulation between the yogi and the magnetic pull of the Earth. Many people experience deeper states of connection to their Self and the Universe when using a sheep skin as compared to a sticky mat or cushion.
Further, it was traditional for a yogi to use the skin of an animal which had recently died because it was said to be a blessing for that animal, helping to liberate its soul.
Sheep specifically have non-allergenic properties. Wool also regulates body temperature, so it is cool when you are hot, and warm when you are cold.
I suspect I am having a Kundalini Rising – can you help?
We are living in a time when many people on the planet are becoming more sensitive, and much of our cultural structure (stimulants, news, stressful lifestyle) is not in alignment with the calling of the soul.
If you feel you are having energy disturbances, there are many things you can do to help ground yourself and help you to feel safe so that you can allow healing energy to flow. Click here to view the Kundalini Rising Factsheet and download it to your desktop.
What is Kundalini?
Kundalini is the whole energy of the cosmos in the individual and beyond the individual. It is the energy of the consciousness. Without the constant flow of that energy, you could not live. Normally you use a small portion of the brain’s potential. When kundalini awakens, one understands the effect and impact of an action at the beginning of a sequence of action and reaction. They have the choice to take an action or not. In other words, a person becomes totally and wholly aware. That is why it is called the yoga of awareness.
Why do you cover your head?
There are many reasons for covering your head – it helps to bring you into focus, and when the hair is coiled on the solar centre on top of the head, it helps to focus your orientation towards the divine, rather than getting attached in the world of maya. Try covering your head and walking around the city sometime – you’ll quickly feel the level of focus it brings.
Yogi Bhajan recommended covering your head with a non-static, natural cloth like cotton, and to keep the hair up. The hair regulates the inflow of sun energy into the body. The kundalini energy is activated by the radiant force of the solar plexus and moves upward in response to the solar energy coming down. This balances the body energy and maintains the total equilibrium. If the hair is uncovered so that it is electrically imbalanced, this natural process of raising the kundalini energy will be impeded.
Why do you wear white? Do I need to wear white to practice?
Yogi Bhajan taught that wearing all white clothing expands our auric radiance by at least one foot. A strong aura gives us a strong and solid identity and projection and negative influences are automatically filtered. Yogi Bhajan also said that wearing white is an exercise in awareness, as it takes more consciousness and care to keep white clothes clean.
Yogi Bhajan stated, “We wanted to develop a very fast, progressive, spiritual and technical method of all the colours, so we have adopted the one colour of the seven colours, which is white. To you, white is just one colour, but to me it is the total balance of seven colours.”
You do not have to buy a new wardrobe or wear all white to practice. However, it is a highly recommended form of colour therapy, and if you have comfortable and natural fibre white clothes, it is worth trying out for yourself to feel the effect it has on raising your energy.
I have a health condition – will Kundalini Yoga help?
Kundalini Yoga is preventative, not curative. If you have a serious health condition, it is recommended that you check with your Doctor prior to participating in a class, and you let your teacher know of any illness or injury so that they can make the necessary adjustments.
I am pregnant, is it safe to practice Kundalini Yoga?
Yoga is tremendously beneficial during this sensitive time as a way to take time out from a busy life, connect with your body and the changes it is going through, and connect to the new life growing inside.
There are certain modifications to yoga for pregnant women. Many teachers offer specialist pre-natal yoga classes, and this is recommended from the second trimester. If you are attending a regular kundalini yoga class, please inform your teacher you are pregnant, so he/she can recommend appropriate modifications to exercises.
It is always recommended to listen to your body and rest when necessary, even if the exercise is not finished.
The following exercises should not be done during pregnancy after 120th day, or if a woman has any medical complications:
- Exercises which apply pressure to the abdominal area (i.e. Bow pose), or which are over-stimulating.
- Breath of Fire. A light Breath of Fire in the first 3 months is permissible if health permits.
- Leg lifts (except while lying on the side).
- Exercising to the point of exhaustion.
- Exercises which raise the pulse above 140 beats per minute.
- All inverted postures (i.e. where the hips are higher than the heart – e.g., shoulder stand).
- Sat Kriya
- Venus Kriyas
I am not very flexible, can I still practice Kundalini Yoga?
Practising yoga is not simply about the flexibility of the body. Yoga is not competitive. Kundalini Yoga works on an energetic level – it is possible to modify postures, and even to achieve a benefit from visualising the posture (if you are unable to hold it). Everyone has their own limits, and these should be kept in mind when participating in a Kundalini Yoga class. This is part of becoming more conscious and aware of your own body and its capacity. If you have an injury or medical conditions it is helpful to let your teacher know prior to the class, so he/she can modify exercises appropriately.
Where can I buy music played in class?
There are a number of resources for purchasing music approved for use in Kundalini Yoga classes these are some live links at the bottom of this page. Music can also be streamed from the Gurbani Media Center, created by Sikhnet.com. Caution ought to be exercised when using unofficial sources, for example, YouTube videos as these may not follow kriyas or meditations as given by Yogi Bhajan. Kundalini Yoga Books can be purchased from sellers at the bottom of the page.
Where can I find kriyas and meditations to practice at home?
There are a number of online resources for Kundalini Yoga kriyas and meditations such as the Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings and at the Kundalini Research Institute.