According to Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini Yoga is a science “to unite the finite with Infinity, and it’s the art to experience Infinity in the finite.” Lesser-known than other schools of yoga such as Hot, Ashtanga, Hatha or Iyengar, Kundalini Yoga, founded by Yogi Bhajan, has a mysterious air. Perhaps this is due to the fact it was practiced in secrecy for many years. We wanted to understand and shed light on what the practice of Kundalini Yoga entails. Thus, we called upon our friend Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist and Kundalini Yoga teacher, Hari Simran Khalsa. Born into a family of Kundalini yogis, she has grown up with the teachings and practices of Yogi Bhajan. In our chit-chaat, she discusses Kundalini Yoga, how it differs from other yoga practices, the common misconceptions and what to expect when walking into her Kundalini Yoga Class.
Q & A with Hari Simran Khalsa,
Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist & Certified Kundalini Yoga Instructor
What is Kundalini Yoga?
Kundalini Yoga is also known as the yoga of awareness. This technology precisely and consciously combines breath, mudra (hand postures), eye-focus, mantra, body locks, and postures to balance the glandular system, strengthen the nervous system, expand lung capacity, and purify the blood. It brings total balance to all aspects of your being. It is a wonderful practice for those living a modern lifestyle to help them feel clear, focused, calm and steady in a relatively short period of time. Yogi Bhajan, master of Kundalni Yoga and teacher to thousands, brought this practice to the West in 1969. Before Yogi Bhajan began to teach it publicly, Kundalini Yoga had been practiced only among a very selective and privileged group of people.
How does it differ from other asana practices?
Kundalini Yoga has many benefits, some of which are common to other forms of yoga, like feeling more calm, relaxed and clear. What makes Kundalini Yoga so dynamic and diverse is that it will give you a profound and deep experience in a relatively short amount of time such as 3-11 minutes. Kundalini Yoga works quickly to reset the nervous system, which is key to a healthy mind and body so that one is able to handle the pressures of modern living. This practice will also help bring balance to the glandular system, stabile the mood and uplift one’s spirit.
There are many misconceptions around Kundalini Yoga — what is it not?
A common misconception of Kundalini Yoga is that it can be too intense. This misconception just reflects the high energy one can sometimes feel during the practice and the balance it brings to the body and mind within a relatively short period of time. Kundalini Yoga is safe and effective. It is a very healing, relaxing and rejuvenating form of yoga. The beauty of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan is that each person has an experience of their own. Some days the practice may feel more intense depending on what someone is working through in their life and other days it can feel quite light. However, with daily practice, the values and benefits are clear. You will consistently feel more calm, confident, and bright.
Is Kundalini Yoga better for some than others, or can all age groups practice?
All age groups can practice Kundalini Yoga and there are no levels. As in any practice, it is important to take care of yourself during a class or inform the teacher if you have an injury or may be pregnant so that the teacher can support you in modifications of the postures when needed.
What can someone expect when attending Kundalini Yoga class?
When attending a Kundalini Yoga class one can expect to do asana (physical movements), meditation, mantra (chanting) as well as deep relaxation all in one class. This yoga is very dynamic and highly effective for both the body and the mind.
Are there different types of practices within Kundalini Yoga?
Kundalini yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan is one type of practice which has many different meditations, yoga sets called kriyas and mantras within it. One Kundalini Yoga class can be very different from another. There are meditations and yoga sets that address all parts of the body and the mind.
Is there an ideal time to practice Kundalini Yoga?
You can practice Kundalini Yoga any time. Many people will have a morning and an evening practice giving them a boost of energy for the day and relaxation for the night. Some people will even practice a 3-minute meditation in the middle of their day to help them stay calm and focused.
As an Ayurveda Practitioner and one who practices and teaches Kundalini Yoga, how do they benefit or support each other?
Kundalini Yoga and Ayurveda go perfectly together. One compliments the other. Kundalini Yoga provides the wisdom and techniques to help clear the mind and support the nervous system which keeps us feeling young, strong and vital. Ayurveda supports the practitioner of Kundalini Yoga using healing foods, herbs, body therapies, and lifestyle habits to maintain healthy agni (digestive fire) and ojas (vitality).
Hari Simran Khalsa was born into a family of Kundalini yogis. Educated in India from kindergarten through high school, she practiced the teachings of Yogi Bhajan daily. She is a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist and offers classes, health consultations, and healing therapies out of her practice, HARISIMRAN AYURVEDA located in Santa Monica, CA.
Photography by: KirtanPhotograpy