konchog uma

Kundalini Yoga

Recommended Posts

I have been experimenting with kundalini yoga via a friend's teachings and took a class last sunday at a local yoga studio. I had a lot of energy movements, some of them really awesome, and it helped me break through some deep blockages, so in that regard i can see it is obviously effective. I like it too, so i am going to stick with it.

 

But i am having a hard time getting over Yogi Bhajan.. sikhs don't seem to accept him as a sikh, and yogi's don't seem to like him as a yogi, and it seems like he ostracized himself from everyone and only his american neo-sikh followers really love him. I am not passing judgement but it seems kind of suspect. He claims that kundalini yoga was secretly kept in india and not taught to the public, so why would he come to america and teach it to the people there? I am reading Sivananda's 1935 book "kundalini yoga" which in itself is proof that something by that name did exist before YB popularized it, but if it was so secret and special, 1. is it safe for beginners to practice? and 2. why teach it to americans, who, as a group, have a history of polluting everything they touch? the 2nd question doesn't really matter, and since he's dead, "why" he did anything is pure conjecture, but i am still curious as to the opinions of others regarding that aspect of KY

 

In short, i like the practice, but am a little at odds with the philosophy and the founder of the system...

I guess my question is for people with experience with Kundalini Yoga.. what is that experience? not in years practiced, but in opinions about its worth and effectiveness. And anything else you'd like to add :) thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Anamatva,

 

I believe that they now usually refer to it as "Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi

Bhajan" to distinguish it from the more generic aspects of kundalini. Of course the term kundalini arose in a Hindu context, but the phenomenon is cross-cultural. The late Dr. Glenn Morris wrote quite a bit about this.

 

I also like this practice a lot, and have found it to be one of the styles of yoga that seems to me to be more closely aligned with qigong. I have heard some of the instructors make statements like "Kundalini Yoga is the mother of all yogas" and "Kundalini Yoga is 40,000 years old" which seem highly unlikely to me. I'm not sure if yoga is even usually a part of orthodox Sikhism (I don't think it is).

 

However, I don't feel compelled to buy into all of the rhetoric in order to enjoy the movements, breathing, etc. It's not so important to me if it is the original form of yoga or if Yogi Bhajan made it up 40 years ago, but whether or not it produces good effects, which it seems to. I think that it is possible to separate out what works for you and what doesn't. (If you lived on one of their communes that might not be so easy).

 

For me, this also holds true for qigong and tai chi. I don't think that knowing the "original methods" developed by Bodhidharma or Chang San Feng, while interesting, would necessarily be "better" than later versions. This type of thinking tends to discount the refinements made subsequently by practitioners over the course of hundreds of years...

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for making this topic.

 

I have just begun kundalini yoga (as taught by YB). I generally like to try something out before investigating too much into it's roots, so that I am not feeling it out with any preconceived ideas. I did the same with Bikram style yoga, and while I haven't been to a class since learning the founder is loony tunes, I would go to another class, because it felt great as a stretching workout. The classes I took were not Bikram classes, but were "Bikram style" and lacked any spiritual component, probably in order to not scare away people who think subtle energy is nonsense. It was an exercise class.

 

Anyway, I decided to do some research into YB and found a lot of information on the web. There is a site out there with stories from people who had left his commune, and they seem to have had a hard time adjusting. I think that this topic could quickly turn into a discussion of gurus being naughty, which I doubt is very useful. It does occur to me often when I read criticism of these gurus is that even spiritually enlightened human beings cannot escape human nature, and there is a very complex power dynamic between these individuals and their students.

 

What I like about Kundalini Yoga is that it can't be removed from its spiritual nature. It is not so focused on contorting ones body, and a lot of time is spent in meditation and looking inward to feel the effects of each Kriya. I regularly practice a very westernized non kundalini yoga routine, and I will generally meditate afterward unless I get too hungry. When I practice Kundalini, I don't seem to be feeling anything, but I am reluctant to trance out on the repeating movements and mantras. I mean, am I worshiping the eternal, or am I sending energy out to a guru master? Maybe I am too self conscious, or too worried about unleashing the kundalini which might ravage my psyche. And now that I read all the information comparing him to a cult leader, I feel icky practicing something that for all I know may have been designed for him to control people. Too paranoid? Gotta consider the possibility.

 

That is what I don't like about it, some of the mantras and movements just make me feel like I am worshiping something and I'm not sure what. This could be a symptom of my own ignorance of the subtle energy body. I can't say that I can "feel" my chakras yet. I have had some great, great rushes of energy while in difficult asanas, and I have also felt powerful emotional energies released from blockages in days after practice, but nothing yet with the Kundalini excersises.

 

I think it is fortunate that we are able to choose where we get our spiritual guidance, but are these practices not entirely removed from their cultural context? Are we looking for a reduction, a distillation of movement in order to help us blur the lines of self and universe, and can that be possible without cultural context?

Edited by oildrops

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't bother with nutso gurus. Get a good teacher (not same).

IMO any "worshipping" should lead you to Self-realisation. That's the point of doing it.

I don't see how you can't keep the physical exercises if you like them and do yoga anyway.

 

----not into guru stuff opinion alert---

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I took KY for a while a couple of years ago at a local ashram. The yoga was very interesting, got my first real experience with pranayama. I did fry my knees after one session of squats. I had concerns of the organization operating the ashram. They were very sincere, decent people, however there seemed to be lots and lots of dogma. Eric23 does not do dogma. I moved on to another yoga studio not so much because of my wariness with the ashram's dogma, but I lost my job in that part of town and the drive/schedule did not fit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks everyone, i'm glad i'm not the only one who picked up on the new-agey stuff. I have a hard time with that, but like dainin said, i don't have to adopt a sikh lifestyle to enjoy KY. And i actually do enjoy the kriyas, so i'll just wade out slowly, in no hurry.

 

thanks for that link SIME, i have it open now, so i'm gonna go read it :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ive been practicing Kundalini for about a year and half now coupled with my Hatha practice as well. it does share and differ in contrast with traditional Hatha yoga with more pranayama focus in my experiences, even through pranayam is central to hatha as well. kundalini for me, is powerful if you make it. im not too familiar with the all the mantras (im no sikh) and what not and not too familiar with yogi bhajan, however i have seen some youtube satsangs of him and was unaware of the criticism depicted towards him. that said, its an amazing practice to incorporate. check out this kriya, it is pretty intense..

 

sodarshan chakra kriya

 

http://www.mrsikhnet.com/2008/10/16/sodarshan-chakra-kriya-meditation/

 

let me know what you think

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

let me know what you think

 

i met with my friend who taught me kundalini yoga at first, and he said yogi bhajan went back to india after being in america and there were 2 assassination attempts on his life. So he came back to the states. What is a good guru without some scandal i wonder?? hahaha mark griffin said "live notoriously! scare your neighbors... they're complacent anyway. ...and don't be spiritual, you'll look silly" Mark's amazing, i love him, and he was the student of scandalous gurus, chogyam trungpa rinpoche, who drank gin for breakfast and slept with his students and married a 16 year old... and muktananda, who awakened SO many people and gave so much light, but i have read he was a "serial philanderer" and violated some of his female students according to them. Who knows what the truth is.. i don't pretend to. But there is some scandal and allegations of cult-leader type mentality to yogi bhajan, that was my point :) I guess even a guru is a human being subject to the energies of this age of darkness. And maybe those people making those allegations were sick and deranged and lying. Nobody really knows here so its sorta silly to talk about at all i guess :)

 

That kriya looks intense. thanks for sharing! I am at a teahouse now so i didnt get a chance to try it. I will dig it up later and give it a go.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just remebered reading this years ago

'Kundalini Upanishad'

 

hahaha i stayed up all night in prayer and meditation last night, and this morning i read this!

 

"The Obstacles To The Practice Of Yoga And How To Overcome Them

 

47. Seven are the causes of the diseases in the body. Sleeping during the daytime is the first, late vigils overnight is the second, excess of sexual intercourse the third, moving amidst crowds the fourth. The fifth cause is the effect of unwholesome food. The sixth is the checking of the discharge of urine and faeces. The seventh is the laborious mental operation with Prana."

 

i was gonna sleep today, but as i now know, that is the first cause of disease! haha i just thought that was funny :D good thing i don't even feel like sleeping right now, hope i make it til tonight! hehe

 

anyway its taking me a while to get through, but its a really awesome text, thanks again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

let me know what you think

 

that is intense.. i did about 3 minutes of it and got a lot of energy

 

neat.. i couldnt do that stomach pumping for longer though.. my muscles just wouldnt do it... 2 and a half hours?? huh?? hahahah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

that is intense.. i did about 3 minutes of it and got a lot of energy

 

neat.. i couldnt do that stomach pumping for longer though.. my muscles just wouldnt do it... 2 and a half hours?? huh?? hahahah

yea two and half hours of that is insane. i try and do at somewhere around 5 minutes. perhaps ill set an intention to do a 40 day set with 5 minutes each day slowly building it. did you mentally chant the mantra? im not sold completely on the specs on that but i still do it anyway.. yogi bhajan, ya it seems most of those highly acclaimed people tend to have something that counters them. whatever doesnt really bother me since we are our own teachers. anyways what comes of out his mouth at the end of the day is most applicable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yea two and half hours of that is insane. i try and do at somewhere around 5 minutes. perhaps ill set an intention to do a 40 day set with 5 minutes each day slowly building it. did you mentally chant the mantra? im not sold completely on the specs on that but i still do it anyway.. yogi bhajan, ya it seems most of those highly acclaimed people tend to have something that counters them. whatever doesnt really bother me since we are our own teachers. anyways what comes of out his mouth at the end of the day is most applicable.

 

yeah i said the mantra internally while doing the stomach pumping then i shook it out. i didnt feel anything until i shook it out, then i was flooded with bliss and strong good vibrations.

 

wahiguru means "god" in its teacher aspect.. like giving praise to the teacher without which manifests as life.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waheguru

 

do you hold your nostrils closed when you chant? i found that almost necessary near the end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yeah i said the mantra internally while doing the stomach pumping then i shook it out. i didnt feel anything until i shook it out, then i was flooded with bliss and strong good vibrations.

 

wahiguru means "god" in its teacher aspect.. like giving praise to the teacher without which manifests as life.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waheguru

 

do you hold your nostrils closed when you chant? i found that almost necessary near the end.

 

 

yup thats how i have done it. both nostrils closed during the mental chants. its said this kriya to is clear up subconscious fears

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites