Kundalini Yoga? What’s the Buzz?

Posted on in Healthy Living by Christa Reynolds


Aresurgence of Kundalini yoga is afoot. Once an esoteric and sequestered practice, Kundalini classes are increasingly scheduled at mainstream yoga studios. What’s the buzz? For starters, new practitioners are discovering that the practice actually causes their bodies to vibrate—and buzz. Kundalini is the coiled energy, likened to a serpent, at the base of the spine. This beautiful creative force, also known as Shakti, lies dormant in each of us, waiting patiently to be awakened, whereupon it moves upward through our central channel (the sushumna), feeding a network of internal channels (nadis) that activate and open potent chakra hubs.

Kundalini yoga practices involve Kriyas (action yogas) such as moving one’s arms up and down for 3–5 minutes with engaged breath of fire, or chanting Sikh mantras for 11 minutes. Within a short period, these practices can settle the mind, open the heart, and wake our energy bodies. Over the long term, their purpose is to summon dormant Shakti to be united at the crown of the head chakra, with her beloved Shiva.

Considered the yoga of awareness, Kundalini yoga found a resurgence when Yogi Bhajan came to America in 1968. He recognized, as did Paramahansa Yogananda, that Americans were disillusioned and cut off from their spiritual essence. He saw a young population experimenting outwardly with drugs and alternative lifestyles and but not unraveling the awareness within. Although in India, traditional Kundalini practices had been strictly reserved for elite seekers, Yogi Bhajan believed everyone’s birthright included access to happiness, health, and realization. He began the Happy Healthy and Holy Organization (3HO) in the US with the intent of democratizing and disseminating these practices and their benefits.

Yogi Bhajan collected elements from the various Kundalini traditions that combined Kriyas and mantras taken directly from the Sikh dharma along with meditation and other philosophical-lifestyle principles. These were designed to help balance the body, build stamina and strengthen the nervous system to enable practitioners to harness their minds and emotions. The practice aimed to focus the mind on the divine energy within and cultivate the virtues of self-control. Rather than worshiping God, Yogi Bhajan trained students to experience God.

The practice is disciplined and focused. When exercised daily, preferably in the ambrosial hours before sunrise, the efforts will spark a buzz and purify our systems, creating the impetus for the Kundalini to uncoil. For many, this is life-changing.

Traditionally, Kundalini practitioners abstained from frivolous sexual activity, wore white cotton, and covered their heads. It is believed that wearing white established a selfless pure energy that expanded the auric field, while the head cover helped retain the precious divine energy accumulated during practice. While these traditions are practiced in 3HO communities, most Westerners are unprepared to embrace these practices, and they are not a requirement.

Yogi Bhajan and his predecessors taught that humans barely use 10% of their available intelligence. In my experience, Kundalini has proven to be infectious, arousing a sincere curiosity to investigate my own divine nature. It has spurred remarkable outpourings. I’ve come to rise daily in a practice that seeks to unmask the latent 90% of my intelligence, and I encourage you to experience the same wakeful buzz.

Christa Reynolds has been teaching for nearly 20 years and now instructs Kundalini classes at Yoga of Sausalito and Harmonia Wellness Center in Sausalito. YogaToLove.com

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