The Six Secrets of Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini Yoga is one of the most powerful yoga practices available to spiritual seekers, primarily because it is taught and practiced in the format of a kriya, or a prescribed sequence of postures, breath, sound, and movement. The kriya is done with a focus that induces automatic concentration, meditation and spiritual integration, while also producing a specific effect and outcome.
The kriyas are taught as they were given and discovered by the yogis, and it is in this purity and provenance that we practiced them.
It is said that Yogi Bhajan shared over 3,500 Kundalini kriyas in his teachings, each one unique and powerful in its effects. (By definition, a kriya is also what is commonly thought of as a meditation and not only a yoga class of various postures.)
Yet, do you really understand how to practice them? There are six secrets you should know, and they revolve around the six components that make up a kriya.
A kriya consists of the following six components:
Static postures or dynamic movements of the body usually with the breath
Breathing techniques or breath awareness
Muscular or psychic “locks” to control the flow of prana or energy
Hand positions and focused eye gazing points that direct the flow of energy
Sounds to direct and focus the mind
Directed awareness to the flow of energy and energy centers in the body
When we practice these components thoroughly within each kriya, we accelerate our progress in Kundalini Yoga. Here is the secret to doing each one correctly:
Secret #1 (Asanas): Practice all the postures by connecting to the “root line” of the body.
The root line is the sense of connecting the body and movement of the body with a line of energy that connects us to our “root,” of the base of the body. If we are standing, the root line runs down the kegs into the feet on the earth. If we are doing a backbend, the root line connects the pelvic area to the ground. When you use the root line, you experience a rebound of energy from the earth moving into the body. The posture becomes supported and energized through the connection.
Secret #2 (Pranayama): Stay fully connected to the breath during and between exercises of a kriya.
In Kundalini Yoga, we often move deliberately with the breath: inhale left, exhale right; inhale up, exhale down. Or we perform the breath of fire during an exercise which ertainly keeps us conscious and connected to the breath. Yet the secret is to maintain breath awareness through the entire kriya, during the posture transitions as well as during the period of relaxation during the kriya. Every breath in a Kundalini Yoga class should be a conscious breath. While it is not necessarily a controlled breath, it is a conscious breath so that the mind remains steady and focused as if in meditation.
Secret #3 (Bandha): Apply the root lock at the end of each exercise in a kriya.
Sometimes this lock is mentioned explicitly in an exercise or class. Often it is not. But you can always apply the root lock at the end of each exercise or meditation in order to mix the prana and apana and create a beneficial pressure that enables the upward movement of the Kundalini energy. Remember root lock is a subtle practice, more psychic than physical in nature. It is not a grip but an intention to move the energy upward. Refine your root lock and then use it with your exercises.
Secret #4 (Mudra): Maintain a focus at the third eye point during the kriya unless informed otherwise.
Sometimes there are specific directions for an eye focus (a drishti mudra) during a meditation. However, the third eye focus should always be used in a meditation and an exercise unless otherwise instructed. This focus is important to direct the flow of prana to awaken intuition and higher consciousness. Without this focus, your energy is dissipated and not optimally used.
Secret #5 (Mantra): Silently use the sound “Sat Nam” with the breath and movement when possible.
Again, this instruction may not be given explicitly by a teacher or appear in a description but, like the drishti or eye gaze, the use of silent mantra is always encouraged with breath and movement. Silent mantra directs the flow of prana, enhances focus and strengthens the subtle body. Sat Nam is the default mantra, but you can use any Kundalini mantra (unless otherwise specified) in your practice.
Secret #6 (Awareness): Consciously visualize the energy moving through the body during the kriya.
The last secret is the most powerful. The more we can move into the energy body (pranamaya kosha) through conscious awareness of the movement of the prana generated by the kriya, the more adept we become in cultivating and directing our energy for healing and heightened consciousness. The visualization may use light, color, sound, intention or any method that helps connect us to the present moment and the breath to breath changes that the kriya produces.
When Yogi Bhajan came to the West to share the teachings of Kundalini Yoga, he taught this formerly “secret yoga” openly to all who came. “In the Aquarian Age,” he has said, “there will be no more secrets.”
And now that you know these six secrets really weren’t a secret. We just sometimes forget to do them!
Keep up and you will be kept up. Sat Nam.
Put those Secrets to Practice!
July 15-16, 17-18, 22-23
9:00am -5:30pm each day
Yoga Yoga Westlake