What is the typical format of a kundalini yoga class as taught by Yogi Bhajan?
The class has a specific format but the Kriya and meditation may differ each time. If you are new to the practice do know you do not have to remember any of this. I will guide you through. I always provide laminated sheets of the mantras so you can use these until the chants become familiar to you. If you feel moved to come to a class, just come and the rest will fall into place!
- To begin the class we tune in together by chanting the Adi Mantra and the Mangala Charan Mantra. This connects each of us to our own inner divinity, our own inner teacher that leads us from the darkness into the light. It also connects us to the Golden Chain of teachers that have passed this practice onto to us, the lineage of Kundalini Yoga.
- After we tune in I may offer some pranayama (breathwork) and warm-up exercises but not necessarily.
- We then move into practising a Kriya. In Kundalini Yoga the word ‘Kriya’ is used to describe a physical set of exercises, mantra, music, mudra and dristi (eye focus) that have been designed to cause a particular state or quality to manifest on their completion. Each Kriya is sequenced in a specific order, for particular time frames with deliberately chosen exercises to facilitate this. Each class will therefore have a very different energy and quality to it.
- After the Kriya there is a 7-11 minute deep relaxation.
- This is followed by a meditation or meditations that may be silent or involve chanting out loud, with a specific breath pattern, dristi, mudra, mantra and purpose.
- After the meditation we tune out using the Long Time Sunshine Song and three long Sat Nams.
- I then quietly recite a blessing prior to bowing, touching the forehead to the ground for a few breaths
Do you have to wear white?
As a teacher of Kundalini Yoga, when I teach Kundalini, I am required to wear white and to have my head covered too. As a student there is no such requirement but if you feel moved to I would highly recommend doing so. Even if you just wear a token bit of white to begin and go from there. I would love you to join me in the whiteness. Feel free to experiment and see how simply wearing white shifts and deepens your experience of the practice. Yogi Bhajan very much suggested that if you are feeling depressed have a cold shower, put on some white clothes and you will feel different. If you are not depressed, have a cold shower, put on some white clothes and you will feel different!
White is an accumulation of all the other 7 colours and simultaneously reflects them back. It can encourage us to look deeper, to go within, to then be able to radiate out. In wearing white it really enhances the energetic work by preventing all the energies from escaping. A head covering for example will prevent the beautiful Kundalini energy of conscious awareness generated in your practice from flowing straight out of you through the crown of your head (the 7th chakra or energy centre). White also strengthens and extends the magnetic field of your aura. As humans it is estimated our aura can be as little as a few mm and as wide as 9 feet. Wearing white extends our aura by about a foot in in all directions. Yogi Bhajan considered the aura our 8th chakra or energy centre. When it is small and has shrunk we can feel very claustrophobic and when it is expansive we feel very secure in our personal space. We can have a vastly different experience of being in a crowded tube in London depending on the strength of our aura!
What it kitcheree?
Kitcheree is a completely balanced meal of mung beans, rice, trinity roots and vegetables. The cooking process permits the food to be digested very readily and thus gives the digestive system a nourishing rest whilst detoxifying the system. It can be eaten as a single meal or as a 40 day Kriya where you eat nothing but Kitcheree for all meals and snacks:
Ingredients: 1 cup mung beans ….1 cup basmati rice… 9 cups water… 4-6 cups chopped assorted vegetables (carrots, celery, courgette, broccoli, etc)… olive oil… 2 onions, chopped… 1/3 cup minced ginger root… 8-10 cloves garlic, minced… 1 heaped teaspoon tumeric…1 heaped teaspoon garam masala…½ teaspoon pepper…1 heaped teaspoon crushed red chillies…1 tablespoon sweet basil…2 bay leaves…seeds of 5 cardamon pods
Wash the mung beans and rice. Bring the water to the boil. Add rice and beans and let them boil using a medium-high flame. Prepare the vegetables. Add vegetables to cooking rice and beans. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the trinity roots (onions, ginger, and garlic) and saute over a medium-high flame until brown. Add the tumeric, black pepper, and chilli (no salt or herbs). When thoroughly cooked, add this mixture to the still cooking beans and rice. Add the herbs. Stir well. Continue to cook with a medium-high flame, stirring often until completely cooked through. The consistency should be rich, thick and soup-like, with ingredients barely discernible.