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What is Kundalini?

Yogi Bhajan

Kundalini Yoga, known as “the Yoga of awareness,” is an ancient technology for awakening the life force lying dormant within each one of us. Conceptualized as a sleeping serpent, coiled up at the base of our spine, this latent source of primordial energy is mobilized through the actions and components of the kriyas that lie at the heart of Kundalini Yoga practice. A Kriya is a sequence of physical movements or postures that often include pranayam (breathwork), mantras (sacred syllables), mudras (hand positions), bandhas (body locks), as well as eye focus and angular positions to awaken, direct and contain the flow of this spiritual energy within.

“Experiencing in yourself the vastness of infinity is the aim of human life.”
~Yogi Bhajan

Why do we want to awaken this force? Because we want to be fully conscious and creative human beings; we want to be awake, vibrant and in sync with the world around us. We want to feel connected—the true meaning of the word Yoga—in body, mind and spirit, but also with that greater source of energy, we may look upon as our own infinite nature. The Kundalini energy is our own inherent creative wisdom. When this primordial energy begins to stir, we begin to awaken to the light of our own true Self and to the all-pervading divine power within. We awaken to our own God consciousness.

The benefits of Kundalini Yoga are felt on both the physical and the etheric planes, since as that dormant force arises, it strengthens our vitality and sense of well-being, while simultaneously expanding our consciousness and enhancing our capacity for joy and fulfillment through divine union—the ultimate goal of all Yogas. As such, it is both a therapeutic, as well as a highly potent spiritual system, culminating in our awakening and transformation. Our moods, attitudes and general outlook on life are related to the light that shines forth from within us. In Kundalini Yoga, we call it radiance.

“You are the religion, you are the reality, you are the human, you are the light.”
~Yogi Bhajan

Our task is to enkindle this inner spark. Now, in the era Yogi Bhajan referred to as “The Aquarian Age,” we have encountered a world where being hurried and hassled is a way of life; where both population and technology continue to expand as time and space contract and where information is both unlimited and unending. So, it is more timely than ever, to be a source of upliftment in the midst of it all—to be the lighthouse. The trick is to manage our own energy, so that we not only survive the pressures of these times, but excel and thrive, so that we may guide the way for others.

“Keep up and you will be kept up.”
~Yogi Bhajan

Yoga has always looked inward for answers. What its long search has invariably revealed is that our mind is the root of all our distress. The frenetic lifestyle that is part of modern living makes it all too easy to slip into negative thought patterns which sap us of the vital energy Yogis call prana—the pulsating life force that sustains and permeates all of creation. These negative thoughts create dysfunction and blockages within our energy system, leading to our own fatigue, much as a computer virus would diminish the functioning of the system as a whole. Lest we, as our teacher famously proclaimed…keep up!

Kundalini Yoga is uniquely suited to the task. Giving us the tools to care for this intertwined system of energy patterns, this thorough form of Yoga provides us with a rich and efficient methodology that enables us to command our body and mind, and correspondingly, our emotions and moods more effectively and thereby live more consciously.

“In one kriya you can immediately achieve a complete physical, mental, and spiritual balance.”
~Yogi Bhajan

Balancing the mind and raising awareness has always been at the heart of all Yoga traditions, but through time, different aspects of this holistic technology got emphasized. Especially as it was imported to the west, where the preoccupation with the physical body tended to overshadow the more subtle aspects of this multifaceted practice, such as breath work and meditation. Yet these are the essence of Kundalini Yoga practice. One of the reasons Kundalini Yoga is so richly preserved and undiluted, is because for countless centuries, it was hidden away and kept arcane in remote parts of India. It was Yogi Bhajan that brought it to the United States in the ’60s, and in so doing, made it more widely accessible.

Contributed by Dhanpal-Donna Quesada.