There are so many types of yoga, so no wonder it is confusing to find the perfect yoga practice for you. All yoga practices have a particular focus for specific experience. Some focus more on the breath, others focus on the heart, the physical body, the spiritual aspect, sound, the mind, etc. The list goes on. Each are incredibly beautiful in their own way. The practice of Kundalini yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan is considered complete in that it contains all the things of other yoga practices. Kundalini Yoga is the root of spiritual experience. It allows you the experience to realize that your spiritual teacher is the path of your soul.
A typical class consists of a combination of specific postures, breath, sound (mantra), and meditation.
The set of postures is called a kriya. Each kriya has a focus to release and heal specific physical, behavioral, and emotional patterns. For example, there are kriyas to help heal addiction, improve focus of the mind, release negativity, elevate one’s overall mood, improve the function of specific organs (kidney, liver, heart, reproductive, etc.) and many more. There are hundreds of combinations of kriyas and meditations, so no two classes are the same. Although every kriya has a specific intention, each kriya also affects one’s relation with his/her total self. It provides an opportunity for one to view the world differently with steadfast confidence and grace instead of reacting subconsciously out of habit. As a result, courage, strength, and flexibility are rediscovered in many aspects of life. This allows one to keep up with anything that life brings. Yogi Bhajan constantly reminded his students to “keep up and you will be kept up”. Consequently, the human nature that is experienced every day does not dissolve, but can be a more authentic and fulfilling experience. Students aren’t expected to have a perfect body, flexibility, endurance, or be an experienced yogi coming into this practice. For some people, Kundalini Yoga is their first experience of any type of yoga. Many of the postures can be modified to accommodate your physical ability.
I discovered Kundalini Yoga in 2011 when I desperately wanted to reconnect my body with my emotions. I knew this was possible from the healing I had received through belly dance. However, I wanted something that could support my spiritual growth in a different way. My spiritual teacher at the time guided me to research more about the practice. Immediately after my first class, I felt the beginnings of an unwavering self-confidence and simultaneous lightness in my body. Before that moment I felt plagued with consistent and relentless periods of anxiety, fear, overactive mind chatter and self doubt, among other negative feelings throughout my life. My body expressed these emotions through me in the form of my slumped forward head posture, shoulder impingement injuries, weak abdominal muscles, and chronic rib pain. It wasn’t long before I began a dedicated daily practice, going to classes regularly, and receiving support from the Kundalini Yoga Portland community. At first I could barely tolerate sitting to meditate for more than 3 minutes, but then gradually built my physical and mental endurance. Since then I have been able to heal chronic physical and deeply rooted emotional trauma. This practice has been a great tool for me to begin to experience and listen to my Truth in ways I have not been able to before. In the process, I found more clarity in my life’s purpose and continue to grow in immeasurable ways.
Watch this beautiful video by Gurucharan Singh Khalsa as he explains why Kundalini Yoga is different than other types of yoga