Lesson 1 - Welcome to Kundalini Yoga
An Introductory Course, Designed and Written by Guru Rattana, Ph.D.
Sat Nam! (I honor the Truth of your identity, which is the same as mine and makes us one.)
You are indeed blessed to find the powerful technology of Kundalini Yoga. Even modest practice of thirty minutes a day will create significant changes in your life. You may feel more energized, more relaxed and more alive all at the same time! Your presence will become more magnetic and you will attract things to you that you previously had to run after.
You will become more aware and notice nuances and opportunities that once escaped you. Your life challenges will not disappear, but you will tap the courage, acquire the will and cultivate the inner strength to deal with them in a whole new way.
The bottom line is that you will become more YOU. You are about to embark on the fabulous discovery of the Self.
Alone and Together - Do I Need a Group?
We are alone from the reality that we are the one that has to do our personal work. Identity, healing and self-love are personal journeys. To quote Yogi Bhajan,
"You can find your true identity within yourself. Nobody can find it for you. You must get up in the morning and find your true identity. You need time to be all by yourself, where there is nobody else. It will bring prosperity. Your radiant body will become brighter. There is no make-up that works to make you brighter, or for your character. You can try anything you want, but for character, you have to work with yourself. You must make your own path in your own life for your own prosperity and richness, and you have to be beautiful, bountiful and blissful. This the way God made you." - (Yogi Bhajan class lecture, December 1, 2001.)
At the same time that we are alone in our connection, the power of universal love exists in everyone. The more we tune into the reality of oneness, the more we realize that we are not alone. The more we allow this force to flow through us, the more we can take advantage of group consciousness and prayers. A powerful force field of love has been created and is ever expanding through the spiritual practice of individuals like yourself from all over the world. Many of our students have shared with us that they have experienced this group consciousness, even though they practice alone.
Do I Need a Teacher?
We live in a revolutionary period of history - the democratization of spirituality. Yogi Bhajan is one of several masters to come to the West and give freely the technology of yoga so that this sacred science of awakening can no longer be reserved for an elite few.
Sharing with all those souls who choose to awaken requires a new set of guidelines and information. Among the ancient teachings is the mantra ONG NA MO GURU DEV NA MO. We were given this mantra so that we could tune in directly to the masters of this science and be guided by their subtle bodies.
The future of the planet Earth depends upon the consciousness of its inhabitants. We could self-destruct at any time. The more people who wake up and vibrate at the heart center with love, the greater chance we have to survive as a species. This is serious business. We are all participating in this process. We must be awakened and self-empowered to change the structures that exploit and manipulate people out of greed. Asleep people support the corrupt system.
Of course, it is wonderful to be in the physical presence of a teacher, but many great souls are now willing to do the work without this luxury so that we can shift the morphogenetic field of the planet to the vibration of love. They (we) have had teachers and been teachers in past lives. What is required now is that we wake up and stay awake to universal-consciousness.
Thank you everyone worldwide for doing your daily Sadhana (spiritual practice) and making your personal contribution to love and light.
Tuning In to the Teacher Within
We always tune in with ONG NA MO GURU DEV NA MO. (Lesson #3) This links us to the golden chain of teachers from Yogi Bhajan on back. They are always there to serve and guide us. We are the ones who have to be patient and quiet enough to receive their guidance. Cultivate this subtle awareness and it will be more valuable than you can imagine.
Kundalini Yoga in the West
Before Yogi Bhajan came to the West in 1969, Kundalini Yoga was a secret science taught only to a few selected students. The significance of the open sharing of this technology is monumental and revolutionary. For the first time in known history, the democratization of spirituality is possible. Everyone can wake up and stay awake - and we can get a yoga set and meditation to do so over the Internet, on our computer or cell phone!
Most of what was available when I discovered Kundalini Yoga in 1976 was in the form of hand written notes. I kept thinking someone else was going to put them all together. However, destiny decided that I would be blessed with an enthusiastic student who would help me assemble four manuals from the early notes. These four books are still classics and are available from our course sponsors - Yoga Technology
The first and the most popular worldwide, now republished as a second edition is Transitions to a Heart-Centered World. This was followed by Relax and Renew, Sexuality and Spirituality and finally Introduction to Kundalini Yoga now also republished as a much expanded 2-book second edition, adds much new material and also includes a selection of the best sets from the first three books.
When you acquire these basic books, you will have enough material to form the basis for a lifetime of study!
My destiny path is to help people like you practice Kundalini Yoga. Knowing the technology is the essential first piece. The second piece is HOW we actually train our minds and bodies to achieve higher states of consciousness. This is the current focus of my writings.
Beginning and Advanced Mantras
Beginners often ask if a mantra is appropriate for them or if it is an advanced mantra. We don't teach Kundalini Yoga in terms of beginning mantras and advanced mantras. It is more the case that you choose the mantra, meditation and kriya that fits your need at a certain time and space. You practice it for 40, 90, 180 or 1000 days - until you feel you have achieved the results you desire.
In other words, you begin your practice and over time you achieve greater levels of self-mastery, expand your awareness, connect with deeper levels of who you and establish your relationship with universal forces. Practice or Sadhana is an on-going, evolutionary process with no fixed end goal. Of course, we are all going for eventual enlightenment, but there are even different levels of enlightenment before liberation.
Unconsciousness is Dangerous
Periodically we get asked if this practice is dangerous. First, many of the people who advance this opinion are not talking about Kundalini Yoga based on the teachings of Yogi Bhajan. When you hear such an opinion, investigate if the person has actually practiced this ancient technology of Kundalini Yoga. They often have not and are talking about spontaneous Kundalini awakenings of someone who has never practiced this technology. Second, spreading fear and negativity perpetuates the current paradigm and system.
Personally, I have learned not to engage in conversations trying to prove ideas based on different opinions with the goal of convincing or proving an idea right or wrong. Everyone has their own reality and experiences, which are true for them. Some also have opinions not based on experience. I avoid this territory. I was in academia for decades and intellectual conversations based on speculation hurt my head.
There is no denying that people have had spontaneous kundalini awakenings with severe side effects. Also some people have raised their kundalini through meditation and visualization. When the techniques used are primarily mental and do not include the physical preparation and training, the body cannot handle the energy. In both cases the body is not prepared to receive the high levels of energy. It makes sense that if your body is wired for 100 volts and you receive 1000 or 10,000 volts, there could be negative reactions. We practice Kundalini Yoga to avoid these situations.
Kundalini Yoga is the yoga of awareness. We systematically train our mind and attune our body to hold higher frequencies of energy associated with Kundalini and consciousness. People in the past who have not strengthened their nervous system or prepared their bodies and psyches to hold these vibrations have had problems. The evolution of consciousness is a universal reality. It is certainly wiser to prepare oneself for awakening than to live in denial and try to remain asleep.
I remember Yogi Bhajan stating that the most dangerous thing in this world is to live unconsciously. The state of the world is a stark testimony to this fact, as is the condition of the lives of most human beings. When we are not conscious, we are not only ruled by our subconscious programming, we are a puppet of the global unconscious. Now that is scary!! We all have examples in our lives where we have created turmoil and conflict without consciously choosing to do so. Who wouldn't choose prosperity, loving relationships, vibrant health, joyful living and rewarding work? Then why are so many people suffering from poverty, painful relationships, depression, illness and unrewarding work? Why do we create so many problems and then have to spend so much time and energy dealing with them? The answer is lack of consciousness, which links us to the cycle of karma and struggle.
There is only one way out. Wake up and stay awake! And we have to do this for ourselves. We are most fortunate to have the gift of Kundalini Yoga to help us in this process. This doesn't mean we will automatically live in utopia. But as Yogi Bhajan used to tell us, "I didn't tell you everything would be perfect. I said you will be able to make it through to victory."
Take care to appreciate your own struggle, knowing that your efforts are being recorded on the side of light. The light you bring into your own mind and being is helping others unknown to you who are struggling with the same issues. Did you ever wonder why it takes so long to have breakthroughs in consciousness? If it is any consolation, you are bringing others along as well.
Where to Start
Beginners also ask if they should start with Lesson 1 first and move through the lessons in numeric order. The answer is yes and no. Lesson #2 on Silence is a touchstone for all future practice. You will probably find that sitting and tuning into silence is difficult. Then move on. Tuning in will make silent meditation easier. The Spinal Energy Series and all Kundalini Yoga sets facilitate silent meditation. Each lesson helps us cultivate the ability to sit quietly and tune into the eternal sound of the Universe. Connection with the universal sound current is one of our primary goals. Lesson 21 - Surrender to the Zone covers this in detail.
Someone mentioned that he still has to sit in a chair to meditate. This is not a problem. Our goal is not the position. Our goal is the inner cosmic connection. Some people meditate standing up. Some connect with the Infinite in a waking, walking state. Our goal is to experience inner peace.
You will be guided to pick what sets and meditations work for you. The most important thing is to do something! And establish a regular, committed practice. The second important thing concerns what you do with awareness - see lesson 18. To get the most out of your practice, train your mind to be present to yourself and what you are experiencing. One of your major goals is cultivate and follow your inner guidance.
Some have mentioned that it is hard to get started. During a class in Palo Alto I encouraged everyone to practice five minutes a day and then increase their time as they could.
The next week this talented artist lady (who had never practiced outside of class before, had lots of emotional issues and just couldn't get around to doing her art work because of many excuses including health problems) greeted me with her success. She had had the best week ever, felt very energized, got lots of painting done in the nearby hills and felt great.
I asked her what she had done. She said, " I set the kitchen timer for 5 minutes, ran into the bedroom, did 5 minutes of yoga and stopped when the timer went off." She was delighted with her success and the immediate impact of her glorious 5 minutes Sadhana. I was impressed too! Five minutes! I was humbled. It takes me two hours.
We all start out as beginners and we all advance as we practice. Our progress is determined by our commitment, attention and intention.
So get started with five minutes every day. Program yourself for success. Establish your connection and enjoy your life!
4 Part Energizing Breath Meditation
Taken from my book Relax and Renew, this is a great way to start your practice. If you do this powerful exercise at strategic times (before meals, meetings, driving home, etc.), you will feel the benefits almost immediately and want more. It will relax and energize you, and help combat encroaching fatigue and excess emotionality. In games or sports it can rejuvenate coordination and spirit, and possibly avoid injury.
Do it between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. to avoid the late afternoon pass-out-syndrome.
How to do it
Sit straight. Place the palms together at the heart center with the fingers pointing up. Focus at the brow point with eyelids lightly closed. Inhale, breaking the breath into 4 equal parts of sniffs, filling the lungs completely on the 4th.
As you exhale, release the breath equally in 4 parts, emptying the lungs on the 4th.
On each part of both the inhale and exhale, pull the navel point toward the spine. (The stronger you pump the navel the more energy you will generate.) One full breath cycle (in and out) takes about 7-8 seconds. Continue for 2-3 minutes.
If you press the hands very hard, and do it vigorously, 1 minute will recharge you. If the mind has a lot of anxiety or confusion, add the mantra Sa -Ta - Na - Ma mentally on both the inhale and the exhale.
Sa=infinity, Ta=Life, Na=Death, Ma=Rebirth
To end, inhale deeply, press the palms together with force for 10-15 seconds. Create a tension in the whole body by pressing as hard as you can. Hold as long as possible. Exhale powerfully and repeat the inhale, hold, press. Exhale, relax and allow the tension in the body to vanish.
If you need rest, immediately lie on the back with the eyes closed and relax for 2-5 minutes. Take a few deep breaths, stretch, and you will be ready for action.
Thank you for joining us and for sharing your love and your light with us all and with the world.
Love to All.
Light to All.
Peace to All.