Written in July 1999 by Nam Kaur Khalsa, the original Executive Director of IKYTA.
In 1992 I began meeting with teachers from around the world at Solstices and KWTC to find out what they were doing, and what type of support they needed from 3HO for their Kundalini Yoga classes. Out of that grassroots beginning came a rudimentary newsletter (no graphics, just text), ‘Teacher Enhancement Workshops’ at Solstices, and the beginning of a database of Kundalini Yoga teachers.
By 1994 we were on our way, and on the 25th Anniversary of 3HO, Yogi Bhajan founded the 3HO International Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association (IKYTA). In June 1994, at our very first Annual Teachers Conference 71 teachers met at La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Yogi Bhajan told us: “It is very fortunate you have this Association. When I’ll be physically gone, search me out spiritually. You’ll have to sit together to do it.”
Our Teachers Directory Booklet was a hit from the start, listing teachers with their yogic specialties so new students could find them, and so teachers could network and learn from each other’s experience. For the past few years our Directory has been online as well, at our website www.kundaliniyoga.com. Before we even had the funding or personnel to develop a website, one of our members graciously bought the rights to this domain name for us.
We formed an Advisory Committee, comprised of representatives from Europe, Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Working with Yogi Bhajan, we created a Code of Ethics for Kundalini Yoga teachers. As standardized Teacher Training was one of the main goals of both the membership and Yogi Bhajan, we outlined 3 levels of KRI Certification.
“The days when we said, ‘Go out to so-and-so place and teach’ are over. We must now have a standardized course for the common man. We must produce an undying Truth for the future. We are the pioneers. We must produce teachers who can teach. It must stand in a court of law. There must be a written exam, files kept on each student, and graduations. In a court of law this documentation is necessary. We will be tested in the court of law. Me, I am a Yogi, and can stand, but nobody will let you be free.” ~ Yogi Bhajan, April 1996
To honor our old-time teachers who had never been ‘officially’ KRI Certified, we developed a Grandfathering process, and certified almost 300 teachers, whose creativity and consciousness were beautifully apparent in their written exams. We also developed policies to expand KRI International Teacher Training — in 1999, 22 KRI Teams offered Certification programs in 12 countries! For the first time in over twenty years, Yogi Bhajan personally began Teacher Training in Master’s Touch courses. And in 1999, we offered Conscious Communication, the first of 4 modules of KRI Level 2 Certification.
As for the future, here’s what our Teacher, the Master of Kundalini Yoga, has to say: Yoga with its every system is going to prevail. By the year 2013, forty to sixty percent of the people will be practicing yoga. People will see that people who practice yoga are bright and beautiful, calm, quiet, and blissful. They will recognize that the yogic community is sincere, dependable, serving and giving. The future of yoga is bright, beautiful, bountiful, and blissful.
In the coming years, changes in technology, psychology, and sociology shall be huge. In this chaos of the information age, it will be difficult for people to cope with their day to day lives. The body, mind, and spirit have to be organized to meet these challenges. The word is going to spread that “Yoga is the way.” This ancient science has saved mankind before, is saving it now, and shall save it in the future.
All we need to do is keep up, and keep teaching. Kundalini Yoga is the yoga of the Aquarian Age, and we are blessed to deliver it.