If you’re into yoga, you’ve probably heard about Kundalini. But what is it exactly? That’s the real question, and until about a month ago, I really had no idea—despite being a 200-hour certified yoga teacher with a good amount of my 500-hour certification completed.


Last year I took an essential oil + Kundalini chakra balancing workshop at Gurus Gate in Manhattan Beach. I noticed the use of breath was totally different than the usual Ujaii breathing, and much, much more intense!


This year I decided to go on a Kundalini retreat in Kauai. I had no idea what to expect or what I was getting myself into—and since then I’ve been practicing every week. What was meant as a retreat for a group of people ended up an intimate experience with only two of us. I was in for a serious treat.


You’re probably thinking that’s great, but what is it? Why do they wear white? Is it a cult? Is it a religion? Is it hard? Is it slow? These are all valid questions—and I’m here to answer them!


Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, is about living each day more authentically and effectively. You learn to build a relationship with your mind. It’s about elevating ourselves and every situation we find ourselves in, to lead with consciousness and confidence. He offers so many teachings that you can easily find and practice—each one is designed for a specific outcome.


So basically, a Kundalini practice usually includes chanting, doing a couple rounds of certain groups of breathing and simple postures called “kriyas,” meditating, and resting. My teacher, Taylor Eyewalker, is known for teaching “yogi workouts” and I’m usually struggling whether it’s a physical or mental practice. Sometimes I think I lucked out with an easy sitting pose, but then I’m forced to sit with my mind. I know for most of us this can be the ultimate challenge.


Kundalini yogis aren’t required to wear white or a turban on their head. Most do though because white expands your aura, but I think white just looks really good on everyone. I feel more radiant and goddess-like when I’m adorned in all white clothing (forget what they say about Labor Day). People tend to get light-headed or can grow quite whispy and airy when working with the central nervous system (all that breath work) so covering your head keeps you grounded. I like to wrap my head so all the energy I’ve created doesn’t leave my body.


There are many aspects of Kundalini—some practices are focused on elevating your business, others on healing the endocrine system, different chakras, etc. You can choose what you want to work on, if you want to do one consistently for a period of time or change it up—it’s all up to you.


Yogi Bhajan started the 3HO Foundation (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization) which is part of the United Nations group of NGO’s. He talks about the Aquarian Age (which we are now in as of 2012) and his five guidelines to live well during the Aquarian Age:


  1. Recognize the other person is you
  2. There is a way through every block
  3. When time is on you, start and the pressure will be off
  4. Understand through compassion or you will misunderstand the times
  5. Vibrate the cosmos. The cosmos will clear the path


Living by these guidelines, or similar guidelines requires a relationship with the mind-—moving through fear, going within to let go of the ego, learning forgiveness, and getting in touch with your inner self.


“Without any effort on your part, {the mind} produces every kind of thought. In order to stop the emotional games and mental intrigues, it requires your direction.”-Yogi Bhajan.


Life is a balance—a dance between the swings of the mind, letting you discover the real you. And it is through this life, living as an eternal student, that we can take our happiness home.


Even though I like to think I’m a yoga expert, there is always more to learn, more to see, more to experience. So whether it is Kundalini yoga, meditation, chanting, walking, or any other ritual you may have—take the time to sit with yourself and learn about your mind—the true essence of an Eternal Student.

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