What is Kundalini Yoga?
“Kundalini Yoga is the science to unite the finite with Infinity, and it’s the art to experience Infinity in the finite.”
–Yogi Bhajan, 10/27/88
Lighthouse Yoga Center is honored to be the only KRI-affiliated Kundalini Yoga center in Washington, DC. As a KRI studio, we make sure that our all our teachers are trained and certified through the Kundalini Research Institute’s 220-hour Level 1 Teacher Training. We offer annual Level 1 certification programs, as well as KRI Level 2 courses and other trainings throughout the year.
LYC’s founder and owner, Jiwan Shakti Kaur (Julie Eisenberg) is a Level 2 (500-hour) certified teacher and Professional Teacher Trainer in the Aquarian Training Academy. Lighthouse Yoga Center is grateful to have the opportunity to share the teachings of Yogi Bhajan with the DC community.
In Kundalini Yoga we harness the mental, physical, and nervous energies of the body and put them under the domain of the will, opening ourselves to a connection to the infinite and training ourselves to respond rather than react when confronted with challenges. This is a technology that precisely and consciously combines breath (pranayam), hand position (mudra), eye-focus (drishte), chanting (mantra), body locks (bhandas), and postures (asana) to balance the glandular system, strengthen the nervous system, expand lung capacity, and purify the blood. It brings balance to the body, mind, and soul.
Kundalini Yoga was brought to the West from India by Yogi Bhajan in the late 1960’s. Because it works quickly and powerfully, the practice quickly caught on, particularly in the West Coast of the US. Kundalini Yoga is a yoga for householders, for people who have to cope with the daily challenges and stresses of holding jobs, raising families, and managing businesses. It is a path for everyone who wants the skills to cope successfully with the challenges of our times.
While Hatha Yoga is taught as a series of individual postures or sequences of postures, Kundalini Yoga is taught in Kriyas. A kriya is a series of postures, breath, rhythm, and sound that work toward a specific outcome. Practicing a kriya initiates a sequence of physical and mental changes that affect the body, mind, and spirit simultaneously. There are kriyas that support the liver, balance the glandular system, make you radiant, stimulate the pituitary, increase the flexibility of the spine, and many more. Each kriya has a different effect, but all work on all levels of your being.
A Kundalini Yoga class starts by tuning in with the Adi Mantra, “Ong Namo Gurudev Namo”. The teacher may then lead you through some warm-ups that include pranayam (breathing exercises) or physical stretches. Then the kriya begins, and depending on the length and difficulty of the kriya the teacher has chosen, you may take short breaks between the exercises. The class finishes with a meditation and savasana (final relaxation).
Meditation is a key aspect of this practice. Meditation in Kundalini Yoga contains specific, practical tools that carefully and precisely support the mind and guide the body through the use of breath, mantra, mudra, and focus. The range and variety of meditation techniques in the Kundalini Yoga tradition is truly extraordinary. Yogi Bhajan passed on hundreds of meditations tailored to specific applications. There are meditations that reduce stress, work on addictions, increase vitality, and clear chakras, to name a few. While there exist many, many styles and approaches to meditation, what sets this approach to meditation apart is its precision, effectiveness, and practicality.
Kundalini Yoga can be practiced by everyone, regardless of age, flexibility, body shape or size, or other factors. Modifications are offered for many poses. If you can’t sit on the floor, there are chairs available for you to use. With a regular Kundalini Yoga practice, you will build your strength quickly, but in the meantime, take breaks as needed during the exercises.
Want to learn more before coming in for class? Here’s a great resource sheet that will introduce you to the basics:
For more information on Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bhajan, visit these sites:
- 3HO (Healthy Happy and Holy Organization) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded by Yogi Bhajan to promote the global Kundalini Yoga community and lifestyle.
- The Kundalini Research Institute (KRI) manages trainings, research and resources for Kundalini Yoga teachers and practitioners world-wide.
- IKYTA (International Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association) is a global association of Kundalini Yoga teachers, to foster community connections.
- Spirit Voyage is a retailer of Kundalini-related music and products. Spirit Voyage organizes global 40-day meditations for the community and produces the very popular Sat Nam Fest.