Beginning Kundalini Yoga
HOW LONG DO I NEED TO PRACTICE FOR EACH DAY?
Any amount of time you spend on your practice will produce significant benefits. You could start with only 1/2 an hour in the evenings, and once you feel the obvious benefits you will be motivated to begin practicing for longer. Whatever you do, don’t rush your practice. There are Kundalini Yoga kriyas, or exercise sets, that are short enough to fit into your available time. Even a 3 minute meditation pays off when you practice regularly. Take your time, enjoy each posture, and give yourself the gift of a relaxation period, even if it is only a few minutes. Relaxing into your practice and enjoying it to the fullest is vital to getting all the benefits that will accrue over time.
CAN YOU RECOMMEND A SUITABLE BOOK FOR BEGINNERS?
Introduction to Kundalini Yoga (Guru Rattana, Ph.D.) is an excellent introduction to the topic, and contains a good selection of the most popular and effective exercises to really get you going. Every posture in each exercise is illustrated, making it ideal for those practicing at home. At the end of the book, Guru Rattana has added 30 pages that offer answers to some basic questions asked by beginners. For a more detailed treatise, check out Transitions to a Heart Centered World and Relax and Renew Browse our extensive range of Kundalini Yoga Books
WOULD USING DVDS HELP ME DEVELOP MY PRACTICE?
Kundalini Yoga DVDs are probably the next best thing to a good teacher. You can watch a demonstration of each stretch or exercise, while listening to the accompanying explanation, and then practice it for the allotted time. We have a Beginners’ DVD Series by Nirvair Singh, in 6 parts (12 lessons), which is an exceptionally good introduction to the basics. Also check out our wonderful range of DVDs, CDs and Books by Maya Fiennes.
WHERE CAN I OBTAIN SUITABLE MEDITATION AND MANTRA CDS?
We have a wide selection of Kundalini Yoga Mantra and Meditation CDs available on this site, including a good number of Sadhana CDs. Each CD is accompanied by an MP3 clip, so you can listen before you buy.
HOW CAN I OBTAIN DETAILS OF TEACHERS AND CLASSES IN MY AREA?
You can search for a teacher in your country or area using our Teachers’ Directory.
If there are no teachers in your area, or you would prefer to work by yourself or augment your studies from home, then Guru Rattana Online – our streaming video service – is a great way to find out more about Kundalini Yoga, and is available wherever there is a broadband connection to the Internet.
Many thousands of new students have taken our Free Online Course over at our Kundalini Yoga site.
DO I NEED A TEACHER, OR CAN I EFFECTIVELY PRACTICE ON MY OWN?
A group of people practicing will naturally have a great level of energy that we tap into, but developing the discipline for your own personal practice will pay off in many ways. The key is to commit to doing something every day. Whatever you commit to must be something that you have no problem in doing. Even starting out with a few minutes each day will have significant benefits. You can always do more when your energy levels permits, but by remembering that your only commitment is those few minutes, you should have no problem maintaining this. Over time, you can add to this, gradually growing your level of discipline in a way that never exceeds your current ability, maintaining a positive feedback cycle and continuing to improve at a comfortable pace.
We developed our Guru Rattana Online service after appeals from many people who did not have a teacher nearby. Guru Rattana can teach you in your own home at times which fit in with your schedule. There are a wide range of lessons available, and all at a very economic price.
WHAT IS THE MOST COMFORTABLE POSITION FOR MEDITATION?
If you are practicing Kundalini Yoga on a regular basis, you will find that you can sit (in comfort) for longer and longer periods. Of course, the goal is not to learn to endure suffering, but to be sensitive to your body and treat yourself, and others, with kindness and love.
A vee-shaped cushion, stuffed with buckwheat, can be used in different ways to support the various sitting positions, making it possible to do long meditations quite comfortably, in rock pose, easy pose, half lotus, etc.
For those who simply cannot sit comfortably regardless of position or cushion, sit in a chair that provides firm support. It is essential that the feet be equally placed, flat on the ground to assure that the lower spine and hips stay in balance. The back of the chair will support you if it is straight.
DO I NEED TO ABSTAIN FROM SEX WHILE PRACTISING KUNDALINI YOGA?
Kundalini Yoga is one of the few yogic paths to allow sex. Many of the Hatha paths require celibacy. The question is how best to use your Kundalini energy, which is also related to sexual energy. You can actually facilitate a Kundalini rising during sex if you use rootlock to raise the energy to the higher chakras. Because regular practice can greatly enhance your sexual energy, you will also find it will boost your performance, and add a completely new dimension to your sexual relationships and enjoyment. For those of you who are celibate by choice or circumstance, regular practice helps distribute your sexual energy throughout your entire chakra system, making you feel more alive, balanced and whole. Check out Sexuality and Spirituality by Guru Rattana.
CAN I PRACTICE KUNDALINI YOGA DURING PREGNANCY?
Becoming pregnant does not mean that you should stop your Kundalini Yoga practice. Usually it is ok to proceed as normal during your first trimester, but you should always consult a midwife or doctor just to make sure. You will have to modify your exercises as your size increases. It is always recommended that you avoid navel exercises, inverted postures and strenuous kriyas. Pre natal women can enjoy its focus on creating inner strength, fearlessness, a strong physical body and a quiet mind. Squats are an excellent preparation for childbirth.
Gurmukh has produced an excellent instuctional DVD for Kundalini Yoga during pregnancy – Pre Natal Kundalini Yoga.
CAN WOMEN PRACTICE KUNDALINI YOGA DURING THEIR MOON CYCLE?
For women students at this time of the month it is best to avoid navel exercises, inverted postures and strenuous kriyas. However, this is a very individual decision.
CAN THOSE WITH MEDICAL CONDITIONS STILL PRACTICE KUNDALINI YOGA?
Those with certain health or other issues should modify their Kundalini Yoga practice accordingly. Students who are overweight, suffer from high blood pressure, or have pre-existing injuries are strongly advised to consult with a medical physician when formulating their practice, to avoid doing any exercises which might exacerbate the condition.
Kundalini Yoga – General
HOW DOES KUNDALINI YOGA DIFFER FROM OTHER FORMS OF YOGA?
Kundalini Yoga is dynamic in its practice, vast in practical information and powerful in its experience. It incorporates the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of yoga into one cohesive and integrated system. It has a much broader emphasis on breathing, meditation, hand positions or mudras, chanting or mantra, and spirituality.
The practice of Kundalini Yoga balances the glandular system, strengthens the nervous system, expands the lung capacity, and purifies the bloodstream. It brings balance to the body, mind and soul. It enables you to harness the energy of your mind and emotions, so you can be in control of yourself, rather than being controlled by your thoughts and feelings. It is on-the-job training for success and excellence in life, and is designed to give you a “hands on” experience of higher consciousness. It teaches positive self-empowering attitudes of thinking. It builds inner strength and self awareness so you can fulfill your highest potential. It perfects the finite life while connecting you to the Infinite experience, enabling you to merge with or “yoke” with the universal Self.
IS IT SAFE TO AWAKEN YOUR KUNDALINI?
The Kundalini Yoga of Yogi Bhajan has evolved in a way which insures that the awakening process is gentle and safe – even for people living in areas where there are no teachers available, and who are obliged to work from books. Follow the teachings with attention and mindfulness and there is nothing to fear.
The technology is designed to be safe and progressive. We systematically train our mind and attune our body to safely hold higher frequencies of energy associated with the Kundalini. Some non-practitioners have reportedly experienced spontaneous Kundalini arousals, which can result in trauma and even injury and/or mental disturbance. In many cases these people have tried to raise their psychic energy without first preparing their physical body. Your practice prepares the body and the nervous system to receive this potent energy. Regular practice not only raises Kundalini energy safely, it prepares you to live a conscious life.
CAN THE PRACTICE OF KUNDALINI YOGA BE LIKENED TO FORCING YOUR KUNDALINI TO AWAKE?
No! It is the opening of the pathway to consiousness.
IS THERE NOT A NATURAL WAY TO RELEASE KUNDALINI ENERGY?
There are many ways. Kundalini Yoga is one of the safest.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR A BEGINNER TO GET TO THE POINT OF KUNDALINI RELEASE?
There are no hard and fast rules. Every individual is different and responds to the exercises differently. We know of (rare) cases of almost immediate awakening. Usually the process is more gradual, and it is hard to discern exactly when an awakening actually occurs. The form that it takes too can have many subtle variations.
HOW DOES IT FEEL WHEN YOUR KUNDALINI IS AWAKE?
The kundalini rising experience is different for everybody – however, one thing seems certain – when it happens, you will know it. Quoting from Introduction to Kundalini Yoga – “Some folk experience it as heat along the spine, and others see it as a brilliant light. It has been described as spiraling up the spine by some, and as shooting straight up the spine by others. Whatever the individual perception, it is definitely a delightful and euphoric sensation, often attended by extraordinary phenomena and exalted consciousness”
Some female Kundalini Yoginis have likened raising their Kundalini to a spinal orgasm. Whatever the individual perception, regular practice of Kundalini Yoga can promote these pleasant, delightful and euphoric sensations.
CAN KUNDALINI YOGA HELP ME DEVELOP AN ALREADY AWAKENED KUNDALINI?
Any exercise or meditation in Kundalini Yoga will help you to develop, particularly when practiced regularly. It isn’t particularly difficult to raise the Kundalini energy, but what is more of a challenge is to maintain the awakening in the face of daily life. Most exercises and meditations actually have a specific purpose, such as to work on an organ, gland, or chakra, or open all the chakras, etc., but there are plenty of kriyas designed specifically to raise Kundalini energy. For example, Sexuality and Spirituality has seven.
The most basic meditation of Kundalini Yoga, Sat Kriya, is designed specifically to raise the Kundalini, and it is said that if you have time for nothing else, practice this kriya daily. It is found as a portion of many kriyas, and may be practiced as a stand-alone meditation.
HOW CAN I AS A CHRISTIAN/JEW/MUSLIM/OTHER BELIEVE THAT GOD IS WITHIN US AND THAT PRACTICING KUNDALINI YOGA IS NOT IN ITSELF A SIN?
Kundalini Yoga is about EXPERIENCING God within. It is not a religion, has nothing to do with beliefs, and is not a substitute for religious practices. Applying the technology to our bodies and minds has the effect of uplifting our spirit. It works from within, energizing our normally dormant spiritual energy – the Kundalini. The effects are profound and universal. It can help us find God, but in a non-denominational way. Regular practice will make you a better Christian, Jew, Muslim or whatever you aspire to be. Whatever your beliefs, the end goal is the same. Life is not about being identified with a label. Life is about being divinely you.
FAQ Courtesy of Yoga Technology by Guru Rattana: http://www.yogatech.com, http://www.facebook.com/guru.rattana