Definition, Historical past, and Cautions • Yoga Fundamentals


Kundalini yoga was coined, created and popularized in 1968 by Yogi Bhajan. He described the intent of his educating to be a “wholesome, blissful, holy” (3HO) lifestyle. He taught his American college students how one can awaken their internal non secular vitality by way of mantra chanting, breath work, and yoga poses. This observe and life-style rapidly caught on with many Westerners who have been trying to find a brand new method to spirituality, well being, and wellness. Whereas Kundalini yoga flourished throughout the lifetime of Yogi Bhajan, new accounts have surfaced after his loss of life that reveal a darkish and disturbing previous.

What’s kundalini?

The Sanskrit time period kundalini means “coiled serpent” and refers back to the divine vitality that lies dormant contained in the human physique. This vibrant vitality is contained beneath the basis chakra, positioned between the anus and genitals. It normally stays dormant and nonetheless, however there are particular Tantra Yoga and Hatha Yoga strategies that can be utilized to activate this vitality. As soon as activated, it then rises from and travels upward. It strikes by way of the susumna, the central vitality channel within the heart of the backbone, by way of the seven chakras, till it reaches the crown chakra, the place it turns into united with the divine consciousness.

Activating kundalini creates an final state of bliss. But with out ample preparation, releasing this coiled-up serpent vitality can result in catastrophe. The discharge of such a strong supply of pranic vitality into the physique’s delicate methods could cause ache and, in uncommon instances, result in psychological instability. Earlier than kundalini is activated and launched upwards, the physique and thoughts should be ready by way of hatha yoga workout routines, accomplished in a selected order.

Throughout an activation, one can expertise antagonistic results as kundalini strikes by way of the physique and the nervous system adjusts to this dramatic enhance of psychic vitality. Subsequently, it’s not suggested to activate kundalini with out the steering of a professional instructor and assist of a non secular group.

What’s kundalini yoga?

The Kundalini Yoga observe created by Yogi Bhajan combines respiration workout routines, yoga postures, repetitive motion, meditation, mantra chanting and different Hatha Yoga and Sikh strategies to awaken the physique’s kundalini vitality.

Within the Hatha Yoga custom, Kundalini is slowly woke up by the observe of asanas (postures), pranayama (respiration strategies), meditation, and bandhas (vitality locks). These practices put together us to securely expertise the ability of kundalini. In addition they assist us to know the delicate nature of the chakras (vitality facilities) throughout the physique. They need to be practiced slowly and regularly over time to construct up a yogi’s internal energy and consciousness to handle and comprise these excessive ranges of life power vitality.

How is kundalini completely different from different sorts of yoga?

Kundalini yoga lessons embrace most of the similar postures as different types of yoga, however these are largely the seated poses which deal with spinal workout routines and repetitive actions. It additionally focuses extra on the esoteric and energizing facets than different sorts of yoga. Meditation, mantra, pranayama and visualization are emphasised over alignment and the opposite bodily facets of Hatha Yoga.

You will notice devoted practitioners carrying white garments in a kundalini class and utilizing sheepskins as an alternative or on prime of yoga mats. They imagine carrying white will broaden their aura and challenge optimistic vitality out into the world. Kundalini yogis may additionally put on turbans or different head coverings as a option to focus their vitality on the third eye or sixth chakra heart. These aren’t required, however are used to represent the devotion to the observe and to strengthen the group.

Historical past of kundalini yoga

Yogi Bhajan promoted his teachings as a secret custom from an historical lineage that he had publicly revealed for the primary time. It’s now understood that he made up this model of yoga from a fusion of two completely different traditions. The asanas and respiration workout routines have been derived from his research with an Indian hatha yoga instructor named Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari. The chanting and devotional practices have their origins within the teachings of the Sikh saint Maharaj Virsa Singh.

Although this was not the “historical yoga observe” he promoted it to be, Yogi Bhajan’s teachings have been an enormous hit in Los Angeles within the early 70s. His educating group rapidly grew throughout the US and worldwide, and expanded to over 300 facilities in 35 nations. This growth included the creation of a number of profitable companies and non-profit organizations that have been estimated to be value billions of {dollars} on the time of his loss of life. He died of issues of coronary heart failure at his house in New Mexico, on October 6, 2004, on the age of 75.

Accusations of abuse

Whereas Yogi Bhajan turned a revered instructor and had helped enhance the lives of a lot of his followers, there have been many accusations of sexual, verbal, emotional and bodily abuse made after his loss of life. There have been different stories of drug smuggling, cash laundering, and fraud.

To its credit score, the dad or mum firm, SSSC, commissioned Olive Department, to carry out an unbiased investigation into the claims of abuse, and so they collected and assessed accounts from almost 300 witnesses. Olive Department’s report, launched to the general public in August 2020, concluded that these accusations of abuse “extra probably than not occurred.” Upon information of the report, some academics and trainers have distanced themselves from the group or have stopped working towards teachings of Yogi Bhajan.

The SSSC created an unbiased therapeutic and reparations program to acknowledge the hurt and assist heal the group. This voluntary program gives emotional assets and monetary assist to serving to “people who skilled hurt in our colleges and youth applications, no matter whether or not the hurt was perpetrated by a workers member or a peer, and people who report sexual abuse by any chief or different particular person beneath institutional management locally. ”

The risks of kundalini yoga

Many individuals imagine that awakening the kundalini vitality throughout the physique may be harmful, and that it may trigger you to develop into mentally unstable. Activating this serpent energy vitality may be achieved safely with the correct method, instructor and intention.

Activating and stirring up this movement of vitality and not using a clear function or intention can really feel disruptive and result in adverse outcomes. Rapidly and forcefully stoking the serpent vitality in a yoga class can create very sturdy and uncomfortable reactions. Should you start to really feel unbalanced, lightheaded, or emotionally disrupted by this observe, decelerate or cease, take a while to breathe deeply, and see what you’re feeling. Taking time throughout and after the observe might be vital to combine any new energies that come up.

It is best to all the time seek the advice of with an skilled instructor earlier than starting any kind of yoga, particularly kundalini yoga. In case you are involved about its potential results in your psychological well-being, speak to your physician, counselor, or therapist first.

The advantages of kundalini yoga

Kundalini yoga has many bodily and psychological advantages if practiced accurately. The depth of this observe builds resilience, grit, and internal energy. Like different types of yoga, it may enhance your flexibility, energy, endurance, stability and coordination.. It reduces stress and nervousness and improves stability and coordination. The observe of Kundalini yoga may help launch previous patterns and habits and deepen your non secular observe.

What to anticipate in a kundalini yoga class

A typical Kundalini yoga class is comprised of three elements: a gap chant (generally known as “tuning in”) adopted by a quick warm-up to your backbone, a kriya (which is a sequence of postures paired with respiration strategies), and a closing meditation or tune.

A typical Kundalini yoga observe begins with a brief chanting session generally known as tuning in. After the sequence of postures, there’s a closing meditation or tune, the place we deal with stillness and silence.

Most of the widespread poses are used as kryias. A Kriya combines yoga postures with pranayama, Mudra and bandhas to maneuver vitality by way of the physique. Many of the widespread kundalini poses are seated positions that target the backbone. Cobra, Bow and Camel poses are all backbends that open the guts and chest. Spinal flexing in a seated cat cow pose and higher physique actions in different seated positions are quite common.

A number of pranayama practices are used, however the most well-liked respiration strategies in a kundalini class is breath of fireside. This focuses on expelling the breath as rapidly as doable whereas nonetheless sustaining management over the inhalation by way of the nostril. This generally is a bit difficult for novices, however the breath of fireside has many nice advantages so as to add to a yoga observe.

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