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Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® is considered the most comprehensive of yoga traditions, combining meditation, mantra, physical exercises and breathing techniques. It is a Raj Yog, encompassing the eight limbs of yoga into a singular practice.
"Kundalini" literally means "the curl of the lock of hair of the beloved." This poetic metaphor alludes to the flow of energy and consciousness that exists within each of us, and enables us to merge with - or "yoke" - the universal Self. Fusing individual and universal consciousness creates a divine union, called yoga.
The Upanishads, dating back to the fifth century B.C., describe the kundalini, although the oral tradition reaches back even further into history. For thousands of years, this sacred science and technology was veiled in secrecy, passed along verbally from master to chosen disciple, until Yogi Bhajan brought it to the West in 1969.
We awaken the kundalini in order to be able to call upon the full potential of the nervous and glandular systems and to balance the subtle system of chakras and meridians within the body, through the practice of kriya and naad (sound current).
A kriya is an orchestrated pattern of movements, sound, pranayam, mudras, concentration and meditation that automatically guide the energies of the body and the mind to a specific result or change of consciousness. Given by the Master, Yogi Bhajan, kriyas can be simple short sequences or they may involve vigorous, even strenuous exercises, and strong breath techniques such as Breath of Fire, which challenge and strengthen the nervous and endocrine systems and test the will of the practitioner beyond the limitations of ego.
Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® is also known as the Yoga of Awareness. Its focus is on self-awareness and delivering an experience of your highest consciousness. It is a science of the mind and body, to elevate the spirit, which has no boundaries, no discrimination. Therefore, it is for everyone, universal and nondenominational.
The primary objective is to recognize, refine and expand our awareness to our unlimited Self. We clear any inner duality, create the power to deeply listen, cultivate inner stillness, and prosper and deliver excellence in all that we do.
In most any Kundalini Yoga class, anywhere in the world, you can expect it to include six major components: 1) opening with chanting the Adi Mantra, 2) pranayam or warm-up, 3) kriya, 4) relaxation, 5) meditation and 6) close with the blessing song, "May the Long Time Sun Shine Upon You."
For a directory of Kundalini yoga centers and teachers in your area, visit http://www.ikyta.org/.
Adapted from www.yogibhajan.com.