It's not unusual to start practicing Kundalini Yoga without really knowing what it is. This was how I gradually became seduced by a practice which, at first, I didn't get, didn't understand, and didn't particularly like!
In some ways it is better not to have too much information for your mind to latch on to and analyse. You are better being left alone with the physical ordeals, the mental challenges and the multitude of sensations and emotions that accompany a Kundalini Yoga Practice. But I do want to share a little insight into Kundalini to maybe lure you into class or on to a retreat.
In spite of the love/hate relationship, Kundalini Yoga soon became part of my daily ritual and continues to fascinate me in its ability to strengthen both body and mind. I'm constantly wowed by its potent uplifting power and the subtle transformations it so naturally brings to everyday living.
Kundalini, in Hinduism refers to a form of primal energy said to be located at the base of the spine. In the Hindu tradition, Bhairavi is the goddess of Kundalini.
There are many styles of Kundalini yoga. I practice the "as taught by Yogi Bhajan" style which has its roots in Sikhism. Yogi Bhajan, a Sikh himself, was a powerful figure, charismatic, strong and held a wonderful authority. My favourite part of the yoga teaching training was our night-time routine of watching a Yogi Bhajan lecture on DVD. Even through a TV screen you could feel his sparkle, energy and light, including a wicked sense of humour that always reduced me to tears of laughter.
Very simply, the goal of Kundalini is to build physical vitality and increase consciousness, awareness and to enable the practitioner to expand their deepest sense of themselves.
Where does the potency of Kundalini lie?
The potency is in your intention. In class you are invited and supported to transform, to work towards your true Self. When you actively engage in the power of your intention, you can create personal change. By contrast, if you are not consciously and actively engaged in the power of your intention you are constantly inviting the energy to follow your negative and highly repetitive anxious thought patterns - "I am tired, I can't do this, I am lonely, I am no good at this."
The postures, mantras and meditations all support this process, and progress can be fast in terms of strengthening the self, the nervous system and holding the visualisation of intentions.
It's a yoga style that works really well for those addictive natures, anxiety sufferers, or anyone working through trauma, healing anger and low self-esteem issues.
Every Kundalini Teacher works very differently with the teachings so each class will have its own flavour. I adopt a soft, gentle approach, carefully guiding my students inwards, helping them rediscover their own internal connections, while still pushing everyone way beyond the point they ever thought they could go.
I am increasingly drawn to teaching Kundalini yoga in a Retreat setting because this is where I receive the most satisfaction in terms of witnessing healing results. Personal transformations after just 10 days of Kundalini practice (and not forgetting the healing magic of Ranjan!) are a joy to behold.