The very mention of Kundalini is enough to send some running a mile thanks to the terrifying accounts of spontaneous Kundalini awakenings that pepper the Internet. In these cases, the Kundalini has instantaneously risen up the spine, causing psychic trauma and side effects such as headaches, heightened senses, insomnia, feelings of alienation and depression.
While spontaneous Kundalini awakenings are a very real phenomenon, they are not specifically related to the practice of Kundalini yoga – it’s unlikely that you’ll experience anything this fierce in a class. Rather, this yoga prepares your nervous system to cope with the Kundalini. Ideally, the process of a ‘Kundalini awakening’ is a natural journey of spiritual growth and self-realisation. Nonetheless, spontaneous Kundalini awakenings are a stark reminder that this powerful force is not one to be taken lightly. For this reason, the shakti (or power) of Kundalini yoga is contained within the bhakti (or devotional space) of the Sikh tradition. Most Kundalini yoga mantras are in the Sikh language Gurmukhi. and the guardian of this style of yoga is considered to be founder of Sikhism. Guru Nanak. However, although infused with a Sikh flavour, you don’t have to be religious or wear a turban to practise it.
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THE AGE OF AQUARIUS
Back in its native India, only the initiated were let in on Kundalini yogas secrets. However, Kundalini yoga master Harbhajan Singh Khalsa, known affectionately as Yogi Bhajan. made it freely available to the West in the late 1960s. Yogi Bhajan’s arrival in the USA coincided with the peak of the hippy movement and its affinity with mind-altering drugs. Introducing Kundalini yoga as a natural high. Yogi Bhajan encouraged his students to replace psychedelics with yoga. Anyone who has tried this style of yoga will know that it brings a profound sense of universal connectedness that certainly supersedes the effects of psychotropics.
Kundalini yoga is very different to conventional Hatha practices. But what it shares with other yoga styles is a yearning to yoke the finite with the infinite. Each class closes as it begins with a mantra, ‘Sat Nam, which means truth is my name. Chanted three times, it echoes the seed of intention embodied by the opening mantra, which is to deliver you to a profound connection to your truth.