The term yoga refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines that originated in India. The word is associated with meditative practices and is the sum total of all activities — mental, verbal and physical. Major branches of yoga include Raja yoga, Karma yoga, Jnana yoga, Bhakti yoga and Hatha yoga. The Sanskrit word yoga has many meanings, and is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning to control, to yoke or to unite.
Kundalini yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan is a Raj yoga, encompassing all eight limbs of yoga into a single practice, and is considered to be the most comprehensive of the yoga traditions. Known as The Yoga of Awareness, it combines meditation, mantra, physical exercises and breathing techniques to induce heightened awareness.
‘Kundalini’ literally means ‘the curl of the lock of hair of the beloved’. It is through the practice of Kundalini yoga that we begin to unlock the latent energy coiled in the base of the spine/sacrum. In doing so we experience fusion between the individual and universal consciousness, creating a divine union called yoga.
Kundalini yoga involves interactions of the subtle body with the chakra energy centres and nadis. Each chakra is said to contain special characteristics, and with proper training, moving kundalini energy through these chakras can help express or open these characteristics.
Kundalini yoga balances the body and mind and enables you to experience the clarity and beauty of your true identity, your ‘sat nam’. It balances the physical, emotional and spiritual bodies, bringing heightened awareness and creativity to those who practice it.
For thousands of years, this sacred science was passed only between holy men, from master to chosen disciple. But in 1969, Yogi Bhajan decided to come to the west to share these sacred teachings.
Kundalini yoga is a dynamic blend of postures, pranayam (breathing), mantra, and meditation, which teach you the art of relaxation, self-healing and mental elevation.
Classes normally consist of a warm-up, a kriya (set of postures), a relaxation and a meditation. Each kriya will have a particular focus and may consist of anywhere between one and 20 postures. It is the sum total of practising the kriya that allows the effects to be felt, rather than the individual postures.
The use of mantra or ‘Naad yoga’ is an integral part of Kundalini yoga. This focuses the mind and its vibrations resonate deeply within the body, helping to unblock stored emotion and strengthen the circulation of energy through the body. Naad yoga and the use of primal sound are very efficient at clarifying the mind and optimising the ability to reach a state of meditation.
Each class and meditation will work on many subtle levels in the body. The effects are very powerful and changes can be felt by practicing postures for as little as a few minutes. No previous experience of yoga is required for you to achieve results in your very first class.
We meditate so that our minds can be sharp and alert. We chant mantras so that your souls may be ignited like candles. We walk in the light of this beauty.
— Yogi Bhajan
Mantra (Naad Yoga) is an important element in Kundalini yoga and meditation. Here are some of the most widely used mantras together with their meanings in English.
|Ad guray nameh
Jugad guray nameh
Sat guray nameh
Siri guru devey nameh
|I bow to the primal Guru
I bow to wisdom through the ages
I bow to True Wisdom
I bow to the great, unseen wisdom
|Ek ong kar, sat nam
Karta purkh, nirbhao
Nirvair, akal moort
Ajuni, sai bhang
Gur prasad, jap
Ad such, jugad such
Habhe such, Nanak hosi bhee such
|The creator of all is One. Truth is his name
He does everything, fearless
Without anger, undying
Realised through Guru’s grace, meditate
He was true in the beginning, true through all the ages
True even now. Nanak shall ever be true
|Chattar chakkar vartee, chattar chakkar bhugatay
Suyambhav subhang, sarab daa sarab jugatay
Dukaalang pranaasee, dayaalang saroopay
Sadaa ang sangay, abhangang bibhootay
|You are pervading in all the four directions, the Enjoyer in all the four directions
You are self-illumined, profoundly beautiful, and united with all
Destroyer of the torments of birth and death, embodiment of mercy
You are ever within us. You are the everlasting giver of indestructible power
|Ong so hung||Creativity, I am thou|