My Practice of Kundalini Yoga

Many people ask me why I practice Kundalini Yoga, and how this relates to Sikhi. Personally I don’t look at Kundalini Yoga as a "Sikh Thing", however It is "yoga for the householder" and I see it as very complementary to the Sikh lifestyle. There is nothing in Kundalini Yoga that is against Sikhi. The yoga keeps you healthy, calms your mind and helps you be more clear and open to then meditate on Gurbani.

Every morning before I do my banis I take about 15 minutes and do some yoga. This helps my body wake up and get going for the day. While most people are grabbing their coffee/chai and getting a dosed up with caffeine to wake up their body, I’m getting my "juice" the natural healthy way. It keeps me flexible and healthy. In the past year at first I was not very regular with my daily yoga and sadhana. I work long hours on the computer and many times am fighting off some type of sickness (small things like mucous, low energy, tension, stress, etc).

I have done yoga all my life, however I have not been very consistent in recent years because things have been very busy. I was spending so much time on the computer during the day…and then the many hours at night posting things here to this blog. My average day on the computer at the office and home is currently about 14-15 hours. I thought I was busy when I was single. Then I got married. Then I REALLY thought I was busy. Then I had a child. I thought that was the max. Then somehow I got into this blog and now it is just over the top. I was starting to feel the pressure on my body and family. The blog and outreach through it is very important to me, so I didn’t want to cut that out. So, I made a commitment to myself that as long as I do a strong daily sadhana EVERY day no matter what, then I will allow myself to continue. I didn’t want to sacrifice my personal spiritual practice since this is the whole point of my postings on the blog.

So with that commitment for the past 4 months I have been rock solid with my daily sadhana (yoga, meditation and banis). It has been very fulfilling for me because in the past It was hard to maintain, and this time around I am really having amazing experiences doing it. The yoga I do every morning REALLY has made a huge difference in dealing with the physical and mental stress. This is the first year I haven’t been even close to sick during the winter (even with myself working more than ever!). I used to have colds and lots of mucous in the morning. Now I feel full of energy and overall really good. I attribute this to my regular yoga practice. We all have different things that help keep our body in shape, but Kundalini Yoga works very well for me and is many thousands of years old. It is not just like doing stretches and getting exercise. It is much more scientific, working on specific glands, parts of your body and your life energy. There have been quite a few scientific studies showing amazing health benefits from doing yoga. Yet some Sikhs still criticize yoga, and at the same time eat terribly unhealthy food, don’t take care of their bodies, and overly use pharmaceutical drugs which in many cases just treat the symptoms and not the actual cause of the problem. Our body is a temple which we must take care of. Sikhs refrain from Alcohol, drugs, smoking, etc because it is unhealthy and clouds the mind. We as Sikhs must be clean and clear to connect with our soul/higher self/God.

I always get frustrated when people so blatantly criticize yoga without knowing anything about it and probably having never practiced it. Maybe they relate yoga to Hinduism, which isn’t accurate sinch yoga is not part of any religion. Many people ramble off quotes from Gurbani and interpret it meaning "Yoga = Bad", when in fact if you look at the writings about yoga in Gurbani many references are aimed towards those sadhus and people that do this as a mean to the end (trying to find God) and seclude themselves from society, or do it in an effort to get "powers" (siddhis). This is not the case for Kundalini Yoga.

Ok… back to me again; After I do my yoga I then do a few different meditations (Simran and Mantras from Siri Guru Granth Sahib). At this point I feel pretty good physically and am mentally very "tuned in" and focused. I then start doing banis and it is a much deeper experience for me, than just waking up and going right to banis. I can’t really explain it but it is like night and day.

I am not trying to say that every Sikh should do yoga, but merely trying to share with you all why many of us practice it and have this as part of our daily routine. It is just merely one tool that can be used by someone if they wish. If it is helps you, then great! If not…maybe something else will. In this world there is no ONE WAY. That is the beauty. We all journey on this path of life in different ways with the same end goal. If someone doesn’t practice something the way you do it, that doesn’t make it wrong. It is just merely different. We should respect that and be open. We as Sikhs have to be universal and accepting not critical and judgmental. Every person has the choice to choose their own path.

If you are interested in learning more about Kundalini Yoga, here are a few recommendations for books and videos which you can purchase.

You can also go to a Kundalini Yoga class to try it out. Search the International Kundalini Yoga Teachers Directory.

Books

Kundalini Yoga
by Shakta Kaur Khalsa

Excellent for beginners. Over 250 full-color photos, including yoga for couples, families, & lots of healthy food recipes. This is a very visual yoga book (and a few of my classmates are "models" in the book, including the cover). Also available at Amazon.com
Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power
by Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa

This is an excellent book by Shakti Parwha Kaur who has taught beginner classes all for the past 30 years. It has loads of information and is presented in a very simples and easy to understand way. Also available at Amazon.com

Videos

I haven’t personally used many videos because I have been doing yoga since I was really young and use the books for reference to different yoga sets. However, the videos are a great way to learn in a more interactive way than just by reading a book and following the instructions. Nirvair Singh Khalsa (from Alaska) had produced quite a few good Kundalini Yoga videos covering a range of benefits. There is a whole beginner set, and then there are particular videos for weight loss, back pain, stress, etc. You can order videos directly from his website or just check out what the options are. There are different video standards for USA and Europe/Asia so you might check with him if PAL versions are available.

18 Responses to “My Practice of Kundalini Yoga”

  1. Anonymous says:

    “In this world there is no ONE WAY. That is the beauty. We all journey on this path of life in different ways with the same end goal. If someone doesn’t practice something the way you do it, that doesn’t make it wrong. It is just merely different. We should respect that and be open. We as Sikhs have to be universal and accepting not critical and judgmental. Every person has the choice to choose their own path.”

    So true.. :-)
    Wahegurooooooo

  2. Sikhi and yoga do have nothing to do with each other. My objection stems mainly from the fact that many Siikhs falsely (knowingly or unknowingly) teach that kundalini yoga is an integral part of Sikhism. This is untrue. I think that’s why many other Sikhs are uncomfortable with kundalini yoga.
    Yoga for health is perfectly fine and acceptable in Sikhi. In fact, Sikhi itself is Surat Shabd Yog. The path to gain union with God by placing our surat (attention) on the Shabd (God’s Word).
    Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fathe!

  3. By the way, I really like your blog!

  4. finalevolution: I personally have not known any people to teach or claim that yoga is part of Sikhi.

    In my experience many people just can’t grapple that a Sikh would do yoga because they think of it as a hindu thing and therefore, bad. We all see things differently based on our culture, background and experiences. Most of us who practice it see it for what it is, and make use of the valuable science to help us live healthier lives.

  5. SikhsRus says:

    I just left a comment on your previous post and I think very similar point can be made here as well. Nothing has not changed my views at all, despite all the negative out there about Sikhs and Sikhi. Sometimes, I even wonder if it is a ploy to create divide or damage Sikhi for their own benefit or agenda. I read everything, but at the end somehow I follow my heart, mind and let the Guru Sahib guide me to put things in perpective. Sikh community of today is much smarter, informed, independent thinking and watchful of things being said by non-Sikhs and even some Sikhi experts alike at some sites and in media. All I want to say is that focus on the positives and let Guru Granth Sahib be your guide! Dharma Rai will be the ultimate judge including all the negative comments.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What exactly does “yoga for the householder” mean? I’ve never understood that. I’ve only ever tried ashtanga yoga. And I’m not Sikh. And I’m not sure how I stumbled on this blog. But I would be grateful if you explained this to me. Thank you.

  7. Anonymous: “This is a yoga for householders – for people who have to cope with the daily challenges and stresses of holding jobs, raising families, and managing careers. You don’t have to leave your home, become an ascetic, or sit in a cave. Even spending three minutes a day meditating or stretching into a Kundalini Yoga posture at your desk provides benefit. Of all the technology and wisdom that Yogi Bhajan could have taught from his vast storehouse of experience and mastery, he chose Kundalini Yoga and meditation because it is so effective, comprehensive, and “do-able.”

    Info From 3HO website at: http://www.3ho.org/kundaliniyoga.html

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hey
    I recently found this forum on the internet that that consisted of
    Ex-3ho members. I was really shocked when i read some of the things they said about their experiences with 3HO but i am not saying i believe them. I was just wondering if u cud tell me whats all this talk about and why are some ex-3ho membrs so mad at what 3HO did to them? I want to clarify again that im not trying to offend anyone, I just wanna know iis these forms are credible or what the reason behind them.
    thanks

  9. Sham says:

    Dear All, I would like to share my experience, I started doing Kundalini Yoga for some years and that process has brought me to consider the idea of becoming a sikh and I have to say that has been the process for many people in South America that are sikhs now and the KY practice is an integral part of hour lifes as much as the sikh way of life.. whatever tool that can help you elevate your conciousness is a good tool to take you closer to the guru… and by the way your blog has been very helpfull.. thanks for the hard work,, blessings for your family.. sat nam

  10. Anonymous says:

    its all good practising yoga, but what if your not flexible…lol

  11. the second anonymous says:

    (I would like to preface this by saying that I don’t intend to be a jerk. I am very genuinely curious. I ask questions about lots of things, and sometimes people assume that I’m asking to start trouble because other people have done exactly that.)

    Why is Kundalini Yoga more appropriate for someone with a busy lifestyle than other forms of yoga? From basic descriptions I’ve read online, it seems like it would be more time consuming and require more commitment than other forms of yoga. However, that could have more to do with the way various types of yoga are taught or described in the United States compared to India.

    I feel like it’s hard to get unbiased information about this stuff because it seems like everyone on the internet either loves 3HO or hates 3HO with a passion. I’ve never read where anyone’s said, “Kundalini Yoga isn’t that bad, there’s good points and bad points, maybe I’ll try it again along with something else.” But that’s just how Google and the internet work, I guess – people don’t link to “average” pages, they link to the extremes.

    I thought I had a lot more questions, but it’s been a long day and I’m just blanking out right now. I apologise for burdening you with the mini-rant as well.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Kundalini Yoga is not something new or related exclusively to 3HO. It is very ancient.

    In the West it does seem common to hear the various naive Yoga practitioners all saying theirs is the best. It is totally silly.

    They all root from the same source and each is structured for a certain lifestyle, purpose and result. The understanding of these things gets lost or glossed over by egos and marketing over here.

    It is rare to meet someone who even knows anything about the principles and lifestyle disciplines that are a part their particular “best Yoga”; let alone practices them.

    Still, people do benefit from any at all. Something is better than nothing but people sure can sound silly sometimes.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I like pancakes

  14. Bhima says:

    That is true. One of the tenents of the very first “limb” of both Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga is celibacy. Another is the abstention of all possesions. Just these two things likely disqualify everyone practicing these Yogas in the west. And that is before you even get to the “Asanas” or postures part of things.

    This is not so for Kundalini Yoga which among other things was evolved by masters to be practiced by Kings and administrators who’s time did not allow for many hours a day of Yogic discipline. It is a powerfull form of Yoga when done right. In the past it was held somewhat secret and not taught openly. Perhaps “proprietary” would be the word?

  15. Suskiin says:

    I started practicing kundalini yoga six months ago and I just am really happy to have found this practice in my life. For other hand I have some friends being Sikh (Sikhi?, sorry I’m spanish and we usually say “sikh”) and it seems to me there isn’t any trouble between both, being two different things.
    I just maintain a blog about my experiencies into KY (in spanish) at http://blogs.ya.com/satnam

  16. vinod says:

    Dears,
    I am saying namaskar to all. I already studied yoga in my school by studying time. Now I am practising yoga also. I have curious about Kundalini yoga. Is it correct one or not? Please do

    by
    babu

  17. Sat Hari Singh Khalsa NYC says:

    In our present time people not have the will power to meditate chant directly. Kundalini Yoga helped develop that power that simply being told to chant and say banis won’t for a neophyte.To be a householder meant to me to take one’s meditative realizations back into the world, but still one has to develop the meditative distance from the world to do that. I myself found out about Sikhi in college and did research on my own and wanted to become a Sikh. Without the sangat and kundalini yoga techniques brought and built by Yogi Bhajan I would never have reached the state of strength of purpose needed to become a Sikh. I wanted to become a Sikh and Kundalini yoga made that possible. I think from speaking with Yogi Bhajan that was his idea as well. By me the logical path is from kundalini Yoga to living the Sikh lifestyle. The most transformative thing I did after practicing Kundalini yoga for about five years was to start wearing a turban. It took nerve to do that but Kundalini yoga made me see the mountaintop that Sikh Dharma could bring one to and that’s what I wanted to do with my life. I wasn’t doing anything of particular importance at the time so Yogi Bhajan co-opted me into his plans.

  18. Deep Singh says:

    I am a beginner and trying to learn Kundalini Yoga, it is described in Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji by Guru Nanak dev ji. I did some research and came across this interesting website here is the link:

    http://www.adishakti.org/forum/guru_nanak%27s_teachings_explained_by_aykaa_mayee_has_potential_to_unite_all_faiths_11-13-2004.htm