When I heard that Russell Brand was doing the same kind of yoga I do, I suddenly felt a little freaky. Do you know how it feels to be proud and ashamed simultaneously? I do. I saw pictures of Mr. Brand wearing a curious assortment of clothing, arms raised above his head, hands in gyan mudra, eyes closed, and wondered how this odd celebrity – and now apparently many other celebs – found my yoga? Kundalini yoga is not some fad that the stars try out. It’s my beloved Kundalini yoga. I found it before they did. It’s mine, damn it. On the other hand, I would be thrilled if others found this thrillingly effective yoga, even if it is popularized by trendy stars.
Let me tell you what Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, isn’t: It isn’t power yoga. You will not find many lululemon, tattoo-wearing, body-conscious 20-somethings in this class. You will find lots of smiling, spiritual yogis wearing a lot of white. You’ll find a lot of meditating in kundalini yoga. Kundalini yoga is a mixture of body postures, meditation and – the freak factor - chanting mantras. The body postures, asanas, that have been combined by Yogi Bhajan and his teachers, to form “kriyas”, or yoga sets designed to have very specific effects on our body and minds. There are thousands of kriyas. You can find a kriya for anything. Have trouble with your thyroid gland? Got it. Want to get help falling asleep? Got it. Need something for awakening your sexual energy? Got it. Need something to slow down your sexual energy? Got it. What about something to open your heart chakra? Got it. Kundalini Yoga has it all. Got it? Good. Then there is the meditation. Again, there is a meditation for nearly everything. There’s a meditation to get rid of childhood patterns. There are meditations for depression, fears, anxiety, releasing old angers, you name it. Kundalini Yoga’s got it. And the thing is, you feel it.
And here comes the freak factor: mantras. This is what scares people off the most. Kundalini yoga uses not just body postures and meditation, but also uses the frequency of sound to affect the mind. The philosophy of Kundalini yoga is that everything is made out of pure energy. Some of that energy we can see, like our bodies, trees, houses, animals, and other material energy. Some of that energy is invisible to the eye. I think we can all agree that there are indeed sound waves, and light waves, and radioactive energy, all of which we cannot see with our eyes. Our sound vibration is also an energy that we cannot see, but it is there. Chanting mantras releases sound waves that can affect material. Thus, when we chant a particular mantra (and yes there are many of them to choose from in Kundalini Yoga), we are creating a sound wave that is repetitively sent out and will affect our material bodies, i.e. our physical organs, including our brains. Kundalini yoga is extremely effective, and it only takes a few minutes to feel the effects.
I digress: Yes Russell Brand is a freak (sorry, Russel, I mean that in the best possible way. Love your TREWs show, by the way.). And yes, Kundalini yoga is for freaks. Because aren't we all a little freaky? So, get your kundalini freak on! You can do a yoga set (kriya with a meditation) for even just 30 minutes, and still feel incredible. And you don’t even have to wear a turban.