Here is a collection of seriously amazing articles and info about the biggest questions I hear about Kundalini yoga. Browse around and feel free to ask questions.
Q: Why are the minutes so specific in our meditations? Why does it matter how long I do the meditation for?
A: “Yogic science says that there are specific lengths of time needed for certain desired effects in meditation. Thus, meditations (and exercises in a kriya) are held for a specified period of time. Some common times are:
3 minutes: b Affects circulation (blood) and electromagnetic field.
11 minutes: Changes glandular system and nerves.
22 minutes: Balances and coordinates the three minds (negative, neutral and positive mind).
31 minutes: Affects all the cells and rhythms of the body and all layers of the mind’s projection.
62 minutes: Changes the gray matter of the brain. Integrates the subconscious “shadow mind” and the outer projection.
2 ½ hours: Holds the new pattern in the subconscious mind by the surrounding universal mind.
Q: Why are we doing it for 28 days specifically?
A: “Committing to a personal practice makes the meditation process of transformation and self-discovery your own. To master the effects of a meditation, practice it as a sadhana, as a daily discipline.
This will develop a life-promoting habit. Habit controls us so much that it is said that we can actually change our destiny by changing our habits. We can use various cycles of the human mind to help replace unwanted patterns of behavior with new, more positive ones.
Choose a meditation that suits your goals and/or inspires you, and commit to practicing it. I chose 28 days because I wanted us to spend four whole weeks working on this specific topic.
Q: Can I skip a day of meditating during our 28 days or does it have to be consecutive for it to work?
A: As mentioned above the effects work the best when you do it consecutively. So for example…in order to change the habit, you have to do it consistently to change the habit. It’s like starting and stopping anything. When you start and keep up, it builds momentum that makes you stronger and more able to get the result you want.
Think about it like this…if you’re training for a marathon and run consistently for two months straight, you are going to get a very different result than if you run for 5 days, take a week off, come back to it for a couple days, stop for a month, etc.
Same with this meditation…you’ll still get some benefit if you do it whenever, but you’ll get the full result if you do it consistently
Q: Ok so what happens if I accidentally (or purposefully) skip a day?
A: If you want the full benefit of the meditation, then the next day you would just start over with Day 1.
It’s ok if you’re not on the same day schedule as we are. The most important thing is that you do this for YOU.
Q: What if I decide that I don’t like doing this and I want to stop?
A: Always do what feels right to you! If you feel like you need or want to stop, you absolutely have that choice.
I will say though that sometimes these meditations bring up uncomfortable thoughts or feelings, but that just means that those things are clearing out.
You’ll need to decide for yourself if you’re stopping just because changing the habit is kind of annoying and frustrating, or if it’s truly not the right thing for you.
I can also say that with myself and with some other students from previous meditations that there likely will come a point where you will want to stop doing it. But if you push through that moment, that is usually when all the amazing things start happening.
Like with working out, they say that when your muscles shake that means that the muscle is changing. Same idea here.
Q: Why do a lot of Kundalini yogis wear white? And if I start doing Kundalini do I have to wear all white?
A: There is a lot of info about why Yogi Bhajan (the guy who brought Kundalini to the west) suggests to wear white. One idea is that it expands and enhances your aura: “The spectrum of light energy that makes up the color white contains the energies of all colors. By wearing white, all the colors are available to support and enhance the aura and the eight chakras.”
Another idea is that wearing white forces you to pay attention and be conscious of your actions. One great example of this is trying to eat in full white clothing. You have to be much more careful and aware.
Here’s an article that talks more about it: https://www.3ho.org/3ho-lifestyle/daily-routine/wearing-white
Honestly, for me, the best way I can describe it is that it feels different to wear all white. It feels lighter and more sacred. And it marks a difference to me between my everyday occurrences in my life, and this practice which I consider to be sacred in that I’m carving out time to do it, be intentional and pay attention. The white helps me feel reverent to the practice.
You absolutely DO NOT have to wear white if you don’t want to. I encourage each person to decide for themselves what feels right. For me, I didn’t start wearing all white for a year or two after I started kundalini. I’d incorporate it more and more here and there when I first started. So I encourage you to make it your own.
Q: Why do some Kundalini yogis wear a head covering?
A: The best way I’ve heard to describe it is this…when you do Kundalini yoga, meditation and chanting (mantras), you are awakening the kundalini energy that is at the base of your spine. It then travels up your spine, and heads up towards your crown chakra (at the top of your head). This “awakening” of the kundalini energy is what creates the channel of intuition, truth and consciousness inside you. It’s the thing that most people reference when they say that Kundalini shows them “truth” or “clarity” or “love.”
But…if once that energy is at the crown chakra (which is the top of your head), and you don’t have a head covering on, the energy just goes up through you and out into the ethers. Wearing a head covering keeps the channel and all the information inside you, so that creates more clarity, truth, and intuition.
It also helps to create more “focus” during meditation because your energy is staying within you, and it also protects you from other people’s energy.
Here’s an article about it: http://spiritualityhealth.com/blog/snatam-kaur/gift-head-covering-kundalini-yoga
I used to feel conflicted about wearing a head covering because I didn’t quite understand it and I’m not a fan of dogma. It wasn’t until I had an experience of my own that made it make sense to me.
I was at a weekend workshop and had just had a breakup so was very upset. By the first yoga set I was bawling uncontrollably. The teacher said I might want to try to put a head covering on to help keep that energy within myself and also see if it helps with the crying. The next set, I had a covering on and it was completely different. I felt more calm, more focused, and all these ideas kept coming to me. After that, I started wearing a covering whenever I practice.
So again…you absolutely don’t have to do it if it doesn’t feel right for you.
Q: Why do we “tune in” at the beginning of the practice?
A: Tuning in just basically means you are marking this practice as an experience that is separate from every day life. It’s like saying “ok…I’m here and I’m ready to get to work!” Or “I’m here and I’m open for the wisdom that is available to me to come to me.”
The words “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo” (which is what we use to tune in) literally mean, “I bow to the creative wisdom, I bow to the divine teacher within.” What this means to me in layman’s terms is this: “I am opening myself up to receive the intuition, wisdom and clarity that is already inside me. I am open for the answers and truth to come to me.”
It’s kind of like logging onto the internet. When you log on (or “tune in”) you’re making all the information available to you. Same thing here with tuning in.
Q: Why do we say “Sat nam” at the end of class? What does that mean?
A: The literal translation is “sat = truth” and “nam = name.” So we’re saying “truth is my name, truth is my identity, I am truth.” What this means to me is basically, I’m here to gain the clarity and wisdom of that which is true for me for my best life.
Q: It’s hard for me to sit in that position (easy pose) for so long, any suggestions for modifications?
A: It is most important that you don’t injure yourself in any way, so if you have difficulty with the posture, there are always modifications. Here are some options for easy pose:
1) Sit on a pillow. That will elevate your hips and makes the position easier on your legs.
2) Sit on a chair or on the couch
3) Lay down
There are ALWAYS modifications for everything. The biggest goal is to do our best. Safety first, and do what you need to do to not hurt yourself. Yogi Bhajan says that even if you can’t do it at all, if you image yourself doing it perfectly it has the same result. So there is a modification for everything.
Q: Do I need to set my own timer for the meditation?
A: If you do the 19 minutes with me and follow along with the video, you can just follow along and not set a timer. But if you want to do a variation on the time, you will use your own timer.
I usually just do it on my phone and set the time for each section and it buzzes when the time is up. Then I start the next section.
The slightly fancier version is to use an app like “Insight Timer” where you can set the whole meditation and the intervals to continuously run and beep at the different times.
Q: Do I have to sing along with the songs? I don’t really like my voice.
A: You aren’t required to sing along, but I like to encourage it especially for the meditations that call for it, like the Kirtan Kriya meditation.
The reason for that is that summed up perfectly in this article:
“There is a vibratory frequency that corresponds to everything in the Universe. Happiness or sorrow, joy or regret are vibratory frequencies in the mind. When we chant a mantra we are choosing to invoke the positive power contained in those particular syllables. Whether it’s for prosperity, peace of mind, increasing intuition, or any other possible benefits inherent in mantras, simply by chanting them we are setting vibrations into motion that shall have an effect. It doesn’t actually matter if we understand the meaning of the sounds or not.
Chanting mantra produces specific vibratory frequency within the body. The sounds and thoughts produced by the body and mind radiate out from you. The vibratory frequency of a mantra draws to you whatever you are vibrating. You are like a magnet attracting vibrations to you by what you send out. As a vibration, a mood, a state of being that results from chanting, mantra is compatible with all belief systems.
In addition to the vibrations set in motion, something else happens when you chant. This is really important. There are eighty-four meridian points, or pressure points, in the roof of the mouth.
Every time you speak, you stimulate them and their associated glands and organs—with the tongue. And every time you chant a mantra, you are tapping out a particular sequence, rhythm, and position that initiates a chemical reaction in the brain and body. It’s as if you have an electronic, computerized security system in your mouth. Punch in the right code on the upper palate and you gain entry to the brain and your inner chambers of higher consciousness!”