Kundalini Yoga Training
Navel Chakra and Kundalini Yoga
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© 2003 - Guru Rattana, Ph.D.
Bhajan teaches that the seat of the Kundalini is in the navel
center. Reflecting on my experience over the last 22 years of
practicing Kundalini Yoga (preceded by 8 years of Hatha yoga),
I have often had an intuitive urge to return to the navel center.
The answer to the question at hand, whether it is about me or
a student, is often "strengthen your navel center."
navel center is the focus of many spiritual disciplines. The Taoists
start and return to the navel center while practicing the microcosmic
orbit. (Internal circular breath that starts at the navel, goes
down the front to the base of the spine, goes up the back to the
crown and back down the front to the navel.) *(1) The internal
martial arts initiate moves from the navel or don tien, which
is 2-3 inches below the navel.
is the Navel Center?
the very early Kundalini lessons taught by Yogi Bhajan, he said
that the navel center is actually approximately 2-3 inches below
the umbilicus. In these lessons, therefore, when we say navel
center we are referring to a point 2-3 inches below the belly
button. This is the center of energy that is the gravity balance
point in the body.
we pump our navel energy or move from our navel center we are
actually pumping and moving from a center where thousands of nerves
come together. Each person can find this center in their own body
by doing the Kundalini yoga exercises given by Yogi Bhajan. As
you practice the exercises, the nerve endings will be stimulated
and the energy will coalesce at this point. Practice of any of
the martial arts will also help you find and align this center
of gravity in your body.
way to know is by feeling the pulse at this point. You can also
feel the pulse right at the navel or umbilicus. Either way, a
powerful pulse will indicate that your third chakra energy is
aligned or "set."
are different schools of thought about the location of the navel
center. I thought that all the martial arts taught that this center,
called the don tien, was 2-3 inches below the physical navel.
However, several years ago I studied with a Chi Gong master who
taught that it was right at the umbilicus. The man was certainly
a master of chi and his techniques worked. Kundalini yoga has
been taught using both locations. It all seems to work. Individual
practice will help you find and cultivate your power center. Might
have guessed that the Masters would give us just enough information
so we would have to practice the techniques in order to experience
the truth for ourselves.
the Heart Center
Yogi Bhajan came to the West and Los Angeles in 1969, the strengthening
and balancing of the navel point was one of the main focuses of
his classes. His yogic message was that in order to get and stay
in the heart center we first had to cultivate a powerful and stable
base or the "lower triangle." The lower triangle is
the lower three chakras - root, sex and navel. The major theme
of my first book Transitions of the Heart-Centered World (1988)
is how to build the lower triangle as a base for moving into the
is interesting to look back and observe the different spiritual
paths in the 70's and 80's. The message of the flower children
of the 60's was "All we need is love." Yogi Bhajan attracted
many of these flower children to his classes. We certainly need
more love. The question is how do we get it? Yogi Bhajan essentially
said, "If you want love, you have to prepare your mind and
body to give and receive it." So while other paths were concentrating
on opening the upper chakras to receive universal Love, Yogi Bhajan
was teaching us breath of fire, stretch pose and other strenuous
abdominal exercises. There was no time to sit around and love
were instructed to get up at 3:00am, take a cold shower and do
2 1/2 hours of Kundalini yoga and meditation. And then there was
the rest of the program, which included seva (selfless service),
devotional chanting, and teaching, setting up restaurants and
ashrams. Who had time for love? We were exhausted!
Bhajan is a "Saturn" teacher. He teaches through discipline,
lessons and committed action. We don't contemplate our navels.
We pump them until they are activated and our internal energy
moves spontaneously and dynamically.
Anger to Action
of the reasons for following a spiritual path is our desire to
be more spiritual. However, we can't be spiritual if we are filled
with anger and fear. We have to clear out or transmute our anger
and fear in order to make room for Spirit and Love.
is navel chakra energy. I like to think of navel energy in terms
of "anger into action." When our navel chakra is strong,
we have the energy to take action and accomplish things. When
it is weak, we have difficulty taking action for ourselves. When
we can't act, we feel like victims of external forces, outside
authorities and political or economic systems. And indeed, when
we do not take action to get our needs met and do what we want
and need to do, we usually are victims. Those with a weak will,
or navel center, are easy prey to those who live off the manipulation,
control and exploitation of others through personal intimidation,
guilt trips, advertising, political, financial and brut power.
Not taking action on our own behalf and falling prey to the manipulation
of outside forces, breeds inner anger and rage.
rare exceptions, we all carry unresolved anger in our body and
psyche. Everyone has experienced some injustice or abuse, which
when triggered or remembered, sets them off. Our goal is not to
get rid of this reaction all together. Anger is a normal and useful
emotion. Emotions are the way our Soul speaks to us. When we experience
anger, we are receiving information from our Soul that we must
translate into messages that pertain to the situation at hand.
Some messages anger tells are-"This situation does not work
for me." "Don't waste your energy. Gracefully leave."
"I need to take action." "Something needs to be
done, and I better do something about it."
problem with all our "negative" emotions-anger, fear
and sadness-is that these emotions are too often not evoked in
response to a current situation. What typically happens is that
current life situations evoke unprocessed abuse and reactions
from the past. One of our major life goals is to process unresolved
emotions, so that our responses, instead of being automatically
controlled by our past, give us accurate information about moment
to moment circumstances.
emotions are stored on our body. Kundalini yoga is a powerful
tool to help dislodge these emotions from our body and transmute
this energy into higher frequencies. Anger is eventually transmuted
of the most powerful ways to move out of the state of disempowerment
into empowerment is to cultivate our own internal power. Yogically,
the navel center is the place to begin.
we work on the navel point, we will also work on the first two
chakras. Yogi Bhajan used to tell us that a cup without a bottom
is not going to hold much tea. In building the lower triangle,
we are building our foundation, or the bottom of our cup, so that
we can hold the universal tea of Love. Creating a bottom for our
cup and clearing out the past hurtful memories from our cup are
two important steps in making our "Transitions
to a Heart-Centered World."
Fast Path - "In Your Face"
the yogic scriptures it is said that Kundalini yoga is 16 times
more powerful than Hatha yoga. On the one hand, that seems to
be good news. The Catch 22 is-- How do we make such quick progress?
We are confronted with our issues 16 times faster! Kundalini yoga
is "In your face yoga." Spirituality can be a rough
ride. A lot of things get better and some things certainly seem
to get worse! No spiritual journey is a free lunch. We are obliged
to deal with our issues in order to set ourselves free.
remember how some of us naively thought that everything would
be blissful on a spiritual path. Many of us used to think that
enlightenment was just a few meditations away. At one Ladies Camp
many years ago, Yogi Bhajan responded to this fanciful interpretation
of spirituality. He said, "I never told you that you would
not have problems. I told you that you would be able to get through
and Group Healing
yoga is a powerful tool that helps us unleash our vital energy.
Regular practice unblocks and transmutes energy that is being
held as stress, pain, anger and fear. Combined with the meditations,
the breathing, movement and positions help clear our psyche, cleanse
our subconscious and balance our emotional energy. However, the
dynamics of the healing process often require outside support
and interaction as well.
used to believe that I could just do Kundalini yoga and meditate
and everything would be taken care of over time. Kundalini yoga
and meditation does much to purge us of the emotional charges
of past traumas. However, to achieve lasting empowerment and inner
peace, we must look at and consciously resolve our inner wounds.
Kundalini yoga and meditation help us become aware of our wounds
and give us the strength and perspective to consciously deal with
is often referred to as our inner child issues (the wounds that
we received or perceived that we received while we were very young)
must be "healed." In addition to a spiritual discipline,
this task is expedited by working with a competent therapist and
working with a group such as a Twelve Step program. Interaction
with a trained counselor who can identify our patterns and with
a group that can support and accept us as we are, are invaluable
parts of the human growth process. They complement and speed up
our results. Realizing that we are not alone and identifying our
common human problems and solutions as we move through the human
experience can be a welcome relief and powerful asset to our healing.
Bonding with others is not only comforting, it opens up our hearts.
individual process is a very personal part of the empowerment
game. However, as we practice Kundalini yoga together, the Yahoo Groups
system, for example, gives us the opportunity to share our results
with each other. It is fun to monitor our progress. What issues
are in our face that we can no longer relegate to our inner cave
called denial. How have our lives changed? What is happening internally
and externally? What different situations and new opportunities
are we attracting? As you practice Kundalini yoga, keep track
of your progress and share them with the group as you feel inspired
to do so.
Anger to Forgiveness
your own personal processing, I recommend a book called From Anger
to Forgiveness by Earnie Larsen. It is short, concise, to the
point, easy to work with and cheap (only $6). For me, one of the
most interesting and liberating lessons of the book was the revelation
that past anger is often disguised as problems that we do not
often associate with anger-depression, having the fidgets, being
secretive, feeling victimized, being a workaholic, undefined agitation
and smoldering rage.
personally found that simply identifying a situation that made
me angry as a child allowed me to become calmer in my daily activities.
I discovered that my fidgety agitation and tendency of my mind
to jump from one activity to another was linked to the expectation
of over responsibility as the oldest child. The combination of
the revelation of this understanding, sharing with a friend who
was also working with the book and the practice of Kundalini yoga
catapulted me to a more peaceful state of consciousness.
in the Lower Triangle
basic problem with unresolved anger is that this vital energy
is consumed and unavailable for living our lives and creating
our dreams. Unresolved anger creates blind spots in our psyche,
which results in indecision, the inability to commit and even
the inability to know what we want in the first place! It is my
experience that when I know what I want, go for it and achieve
results, I experience a sense of satisfaction in my life. I believe
that this is true for all of us.
is in the lower triangle that we achieve a sense of our own identity.
The first three chakras are where we experience our individuality.
It is in our uniqueness that we identify not only who we are,
but also what we want and how to accomplish our goals. It is the
FIRST CHAKRA and our connection with the Earth that gives us the
power to manifest, to bring into being our desires, and to achieve
results. The SECOND CHAKRA gives us the power to create. The THIRD
CHAKRA gives us the energy to take action.
let's take action to strengthen and activate our navel center
and build our lower triangle.
the Navel Center
navel center is the easiest chakra to monitor. You know your navel
center is "set," when you feel a pulse at or around
the rim of the umbilicus. You can also monitor this pulse at the
don tien or navel center 2-3 inches below the navel and in the
line between these two points. Although you can check the pulse
sitting or standing up, the easiest position is lying down. The
best times are before and after the navel exercises.
take the middle finger of either hand, place it on the navel or
navel center and search for a pulse. If there is no pulse, the
pulse is weak or it is not in or around the navel, your navel
needs "to be set." When there is a strong pulse on or
near the center of the navel, it is "set." You will
experience that after the exercises, the pulse is stronger and
the position may have also changed.
a few leg lifts, one woman had her pulse jump from the lower right
corner of her abdomen to the center of her navel! So do not be
alarmed if you cannot find your pulse. The Kundalini yoga works.
is normal to have a weak pulse in the morning after sleeping.
That is why it is strongly recommended to set your navel center
before you start your day. Also during the day, if you feel off
center, pump your navel center or do breath of fire to come back
and Spirituality by Guru Rattana, Ph.D. and Ann Marie
Maxwell, pp. 153-7.
Kriya to Set the Navel Center
set NABHI KRIYA was taught by Yogi Bhajan in 1971 and remains
one of the classical sets to set the navel center.
Kriya - Navel Power
Taught by Yogi
Bhajan June 1971
Lie on your back, arms by your side, palms down. Or hands under
your buttocks to protect the small of your back. The small of
the back is remain touching the floor during these exercises.
Placing the hands under the buttocks helps make this possible.
Inhale as you
lift your right leg up to 90 deg. or perpendicular to the ground.
Exhale as you lower it. Inhale raise your right leg. Exhale lower
it. Continue lifting alternate legs with deep, powerful breathing.
The original directions were 10 minutes. Begin with 1-2 minutes.
Stabilize your practice at 3-5 minutes and work up to 10 minutes
if you can.
Without pause, lift both legs up to 90 deg. on the inhale,
and lower them on exhale. Arms are stretched straight up
over the heart center, palms facing each other. Continue
for 1-2 minutes and work up to 5 minutes.
Bend your knees and clasp them to your chest with the arms
below the knees. Press the small of your back to the ground.
Allow your head to relax back. Rest in this position for
5 minutes. (No need to shorten this time :+)) Make sure
you are warm enough.
In the same position as #3 inhale, open your arms straight
out to the sides on the ground and extend your legs straight
out at a 60 deg. angle above the ground. Exhale and return
to original position. Repeat and continue for 1-3 minutes.
This exercise was originally given for 15 minutes. Again
work up to that amount of time if you can. (#3 and #4 are
known as Pavan Sodan Kriya.)
On your back, bring your left knee to your chest, hold it
there with both hands and rapidly raise the right leg up
to 90 deg. and down. Inhale up. Exhale down for 1 minute.
Switch legs and repeat for 1 minute. Repeat the complete
cycle one more time.
Stand up straight, raising arms overhead, hugging ears,
and press fingers back so that palms face the sky/ceiling.
Exhale as you bend forward from the navel center to touch
the ground, (if you can) Keep the arms straight, hugging
ears, and inhale up VERY SLOWLY with a long deep breath.
On the exhale (as you bend forward and especially while
you a fully forward, apply Mulbhanda or Root lock. Continue
at a slow pace for 2 minutes, then more rapidly for 1 more
Totally relax or meditate for 10-15 minutes.
set focuses on developing the strength of the navel point and
build a powerful base in the lower triangle (chakras 1, 2 and
3). The full times indicated are for advanced students. To begin
practice, start with 1-5 minutes on the longer exercises. (1)
is for lower digestive area. (2) is for upper digestion and solar
plexus. (3) eliminates gas and relaxes the heart. (4) charges
the magnetic field and opens the navel center. (5) sets the hips
and lower spine. (6) is for the entire spine, unleashes spinal
fluid and expands the aura. Together, these exercises get the
abdominal area in shape quickly!
exercise set is found in Transitions
to a Heart-Centered World and Introduction
to Kundalini Yoga.
sure to tune in before doing the set by chanting the mantra
NA MO GURU DEV NA MO at least 3 times.
warm up the spine and ground your energy first see
Lesson Six on the Flexibility of the Spine.
all Kundalini Yoga sessions by singing
the long time Sun shine upon you
All love surround
And the pure
light within you
Guide your way
Nam 3 times
one or more minutes ground yourself by being present to all the
sensations in your body.
© 2003 - Guru Rattana, Ph.D.