When I first took a yoga class in the early 1970s 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.
Kundalini came into my life at the perfect time.
In the mid-1980s 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 career 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 the other forms of yoga I have also grown to know and love, and it was exactly what I needed at that time. Not only did it serve my healing, but my passion about Kundalini drove me to become a teacher after a very short period of time in my studies. After all, the Kundalini Yoga Master Yogi Bhajan said that if you want to Master something, teach it, and I knew I wanted to master Kundalini, because of its positive effects on me.
In 1989 Ravi Singn urged me to attend a summer solstice gathering in New Mexico. That started a string of my attendance for twelve summers, along with five winter gatherings in Florida. Through them I furthered my study, practice, and understanding of Kundalini Yoga. It was also nice meet with a wonderful circle of people every summer who were on the same yogic and spiritual path. Some of them have become lifelong friends.
Kundalini Yoga focuses on the concept of chakras, energy centers along the spine, and uses the breath, sound (via mantras), and either repetitive movements or static holds to help the student bring in the awareness of their total being, both physical and nonphysical. Mantras help bring the practitioner to a deep inner experience, where they can more easily access emotions and the physical body in a different way.
Besides practicing with eyes closed, focusing on 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.
While Kundalini Yoga is not for everyone, the practice can be an excellent stress reducer and transformational tool for self-growth, as well as the 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 own soul, as well as the souls of all sentient beings. All the practitioner has to do it be open to it.
Author Bio: 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.