When I first took a yoga class in the early 1970’s it was a hatha yoga class at University that nicely counterbalanced the sports I had been involved in at high school and college. However, when I was thirty years old I discovered Kundalini Yoga in New York City with Ravi Singh. It came into my life at the perfect time. In the mid 1980’s I was going through a major life change, moving back to the United States after three years in Europe, not knowing what career path I would take after abandoning the one I had in my twenties before Europe. Though I had a Masters degree I had no desire to return to my prior lifestyle- enter Kundalini Yoga. Kundalini Yoga is so different than other forms of yoga I have also grown to know and love since 1999. At that time Kundalini Yoga was exactly the medicine I needed. Not only did it serve my healing, but I went on to become a teacher in a very short period of time into my studies as Ravi urged me to share it with others via teaching them. The Kundalini Yoga Master Yogi Bhajan said if you want to Master something teach it. All I knew is that I loved Kundalini Yoga and its effects on me.
In 1989 Ravi urged me to attend a summer solstice gathering in New Mexico. I would go religiously to these Kundalini Yoga gatherings for 12 summers, 5 winter ones in Florida, and through them further my study, practice and understanding of Kundalini Yoga. I also would see the same wonderful circle of new friends every summer on the same yogic and spiritual path. Some of them have become lifelong friends.
What sets Kundalini Yoga apart from others is the internal focus on a mantra throughout the physical practice. It brings the practitioner to a deep inner experience quite easily accessing emotions and the physical body in a way different than other forms of yoga. Besides the practice of eyes closed, focusing to the Ajna Chakra, the third eye point between the eyebrows known as the point of intuition, Kundalini Yoga has a strong emphasis on breath, especially the breath of fire (bhastrika), also known as the bellows breath, which is a warming detoxifying breath. Kundalini Yoga also focuses on the concept of chakras, energy centers along the spine, and utilizes the breath, mantras (sound) and either repetitive movements or static holds to help the student bring in the awareness of our total being, physical and nonphysical.
While Kundalini Yoga is not for everyone, for those who are open to it the practice can prove a great stress reducer and transformational tool for self growth and understanding of self and others. Through its many specific sets and meditations Kundalini Yoga can help us clear out demons and welcome in our higher life experience, honoring all life with love and compassion as we relate to our soul and the souls of all sentient beings
Donna Amrita Davidge is the owner of Sewall House Yoga Retreat in Maine, has produced various Kundalini Yoga products and Daily Om offers her popular Kundalini Yoga Chara series online.