A question from a reader:
Since a couple of years I have been practicing kundalini yoga: I started practicing with a lots of joy when we moved to Vancouver four years ago. Currently I live in Germany, where I’ve had a complete different kundalini yoga experience. I am very interested in the roots of this kind of yoga, but although I’ve read a lot about it, I have not been able to find anything that resembles this kind of fast paced yoga with lots of repetitive movements as taught by yogi Bhajan. Although there are a lot of interesting writings on rising the kundalini (for example from Swami Sivananda etc), exercises as taught by yogi Bhajan are nowhere to be found.
I would like to learn more about kundalini yoga, but to be honest, the big emphasis that lays on the character of yogi Bhajan makes me hesitate to really commit to my practices in a way I would like to. In Vancouver the yoga students did not (have to) dress in white or wear a turban, something that seems more of a religious matter to me , and I would like to separate that from my yoga practice. Of course I am not saying that he might not have been a great teacher and guru to many, it’s just not my thing. It made me wonder more and more who this person actually was, and what tradition did he come from, etc. Research on his personality made my doubts only grow.
I am hoping to find a teacher that teaches this great kind of active yoga, and but within a different setting from what I tried to describe above. I’ve tried asthanga, hatha and luna yoga, but these types of yoga never brought me what I experienced during my kundalini classes. Do you know any teachers that teach kundalini, but don’t come from the yogi Bhajan tradition? Or have you heard of any literature about this yoga tradition?
I am not very sure if I could explain myself well, so please let me know if I haven’t been clear!
Thank you so much for your time and effort.
I am looking forward to your reply.
Well your request is very simple. You are looking for the kundalini yoga style (fast repetitive movement) without the cult and worshiping aspect of this style. I do think it will be a difficult thing to find a kundalini style yoga-teacher that won’t relate to yogi Bhajan as it is usually comes as one package (but you never know). So unfortunately I can not help you with this matter.
What is important for me, as a teacher, is to make sure that the kundalini aspect is clear to you, as from your letter, I am not certain that it is.
Kundalini is a philosophy and a practice that is embedded in the foundation of all yoga practices that rise from the tantric path. Although the Kundalini organization chose this name for their style, it does not mean that they are the only ones that deal with kundalini. So, if what you are looking for is the fast paced style, you must keep searching until you find (or don’t find) the suitable kundalini teacher for you. But if your interest is in the kundalini practice you may want to remain open to other teachings as long as they carry the true spirit of yoga and not the modern trendy yoga. Each asana (yoga posture) is designed to calm the restless mind and nervous system for the purpose of conducting a state of inner and outside stillness, where meditation can take place. It is in this stillness that we start to separate ourselves from our mind and body by becoming the ultimate observer. In the tradition of yoga, you enter the asana and then remain still in it, watching your breath and expanding your consciousness.
NOTE: The following response was received from “M” after my posting above.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my email! I am really grateful and your reply was very helpful.
Trying to find out where the exercises from Yogi Bhajan stem from, I read about the general concept of rising the kundalini also. The more I read, the more things made me wonder: did this Sikh yoga tradition called ‘kundalini yoga’ really exist before Yogi B? Did this fast repetitive yoga style really exist, or did he just blend some poses and breathing techniques together and called it ‘kundalini yoga’?Who was this person actually?
The fast repetitive movements and poses ‘as taught by yogi Bhajan’ (which seemed to be so beneficial to me) that I learned, I have not yet found in other works about kundalini yoga.When I look at the exercises in Swami Sivananda’s book for example, they more resemble the hatha style asanas and pranayamas in order to rise the kundalini. I am not particularly interested in trying to rise my kundalini. So what I am looking are the roots of this yoga style, where you actually don’t hold a pose but repeat certain simple movements while controlling the breath. Or perhaps there any other similar styles that I could try? Because, for me personally, it is in the movement where I can find my stillness .
All in all, your answer already helped me one big step forward: I have been looking for a Kundalini teacher (not trained by H3O) for two years now, without any success, and I think your answer made me that perhaps it’s time for me to move on and try other styles of yoga again!