Welcome to Kundalini yoga. Like so many of us, something has drawn you here. Maybe it was the music (ever heard of Snatam Kaur?) or maybe it was a book on Kundalini yoga (Gurmukh's book on pregnancy "Bountiful Beautiful Blissful" perhaps). It doesn't matter how to found Kundalini yoga, what matter is that you're home now. This very precise and wonderful way of healing your heart and transforming your life is now a part of you. You may be a beginner to Kundalini yoga, but you are still a Kundalini yogi.
But in a 5,000 year old science taught to us by Yogi Bhajan where do you begin? It's easy to look at a type of yoga with 5,000 meditations and 2500 kriya and get overwhelmed. But you don't have to. This process of beginning is powerful, but it can be quite simple.
If you are a Kundalini yoga beginner, start slowly and add things on a bit at a time (or, like I did, you can just into the deep end and just pick things up all at once.) This is really all about you and what's right for you. But if I had to sit down with a beginner to Kundalini yoga and talk to them, this is what I'd say.
1. Keep it simple
It's easy to get overwhelmed by words like So Darshan Chakra Kriya and Rakhe Rakhanhar. Don't worry. Soon enough, all these words and terms will begin to make sense to you. For now, you don't need to know everything. Let the mysteriousness of it all be part of its charm. Don't expect to learn everything all at once. Just follow along in class, or with a DVD, as best you can. If you get mixed up or messed up, you haven't failed. You have done very well just by giving it a shot! You don't have to own all the perfect clothes, tie a gorgeous turban, have all the long mantras memorized and be able to bend into a pretzel at the beginning. (If fact it's quite all right if you never do these things.) It doesn't make you a bad yogi or a bad student. Kundalini yoga will meet you where you are and take you where you want to go. In fact, that's 3HO's (the mother Kundalini yoga organizations) motto. Don't worry if you don't understand half the words coming out of a teacher's mouth. Just feel the experience that is happening within your body. Pay attention to your breath. Relax the body. Move and flow with the music. For a while, just keep it simple.
2. Choose one thing to start
You don't have to master the entire Aquarian Sadhana and know 25 different meditations. As a beginner to Kundalini yoga, one of the most powerful things you can learn is that any one meditation, kriya or mantra can be an entire practice for you. Rather than trying to learn everything, you will be better served to learn one thing very well. There is a technology involved in doing one thing for 40 days, so choose one meditation, such as the Meditation to Open the Heart ("Sat Kartar"), featured in my book "Yoga and Mantras for a Whole Heart", and practice that every day for 40 days. You can also join Spirit Voyage's 40 Day Global Sadhanas, which bring together thousands of people all over the global to practice together.
The Kundalini Transformation Toolkit Series from Spirit Voyage, which includes my book "Yoga and Mantras for a Whole Heart" co-written with Karan Khalsa and "Yoga and Mantras for Prosperity" co-written by Karan Khalsa and GuruGanesha Singh, is a great place to start. Each book has 5-6 meditations written very clearly and simply. The books include a CD with the appropriate music, so that you know just how and what to sing while you are doing these meditations. Some of the meditations are a bit more challenging, so you can hold them for later, while some some are very basic and perfect for beginners. (Remember that basic is still powerful.)
It just won't do to be uncomfortable in Kundalini yoga. Make sure you can breathe and move in your clothes. If they make you self conscious, they aren't right for this practice. True, it is recommended to wear white, but if you aren't ready for that, its ok if you practice in another color that makes you comfortable. As you deepen into your practice, you'll find that wearing white comes more naturally to you. But comfy is always a priority.
4. Surround yourself with Kundalini yoga music
This is the easy part. Having transformational, beautiful music playing around you is not only uplifting, it biochemically alters you, triggering the release of happy hormones. Browse around the Kundalini yoga music on SpiritVoyage.com and find what appeals most to you. Many people find Kundalini yoga through the haunting voice of Snatam Kaur. She's a great place to begin to listen to Kundalini yoga music, if you haven't heard her already. Some other artists to look at include (but certainly are not limited to) GuruGanesha Singh, Gurunam Singh, Mirabai Ceiba, Nirinjan Kaur, Jai-Jagdeesh, and Harnam. If you're completely new, I'd suggest Snatam Kaur's Grace, because it includes "Ong Namo", the mantra sung at the beginning of every Kundalini yoga practice (full mantra: Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo), and the Long Time Sun song which is sung at the end of every class.
5. Find other practitioners
Getting inspired by a group practice (and meeting others who are just beginning too!) is a powerful way to take your experience with Kundalini yoga to the next level. Consider attending Sat Nam Fest, which happens twice a year on the West Coast and the East Coast. Sat Nam Fest is a 3-4 day Kundalini yoga immersion experience where hundreds of yogis come together to chant and practice in a sacred, but not intimidating, space.
Being a beginner to Kundalini yoga is a beautiful and exciting stage of practice. Enjoy it right where you are! Someday you'll know more about the practice and have experienced them in a different way, but you'll still remember your time as a newbie with great enjoyment. Have fun exploring a new world!
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