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You Don’t Have to be a Pretzel

Excerpts from Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power by Shakti Parwha Kaur

Yogi Bhajan pointed to me and said to the class he was teaching at Claremont College, "See, Shakti's doing it; if she can do it, anybody can do it."

That was in 1969. I still consider myself one of the least physically coordinated people on the planet, and yet, here I am, twenty-seven years later, not only doing Kundalini Yoga, but teaching it, and writing a book about it, because I sincerely believe it's true: if I can do it, anybody can!

The Yoga of Awareness

The physical exercise part of Kundalini Yoga is just one aspect of this Yoga of Awareness. Among the many outrageous quotes from Yogi Bhajan is, "If flexibility of the body is the only yoga, then clowns in the circus are the best yogis." Important as the physical body is, and as desirable as flexibility is, there is much more to be gained from yoga. There is your entire happiness and success in life.

When you buy a new car or a toaster or a vacuum cleaner, the manufacturer provides a book of instructions. The owner's manual recommends procedures to get maximum efficiency. It lists checkpoints and times for periodic maintenance. It tells you what to look for if it's not working properly and it suggests how to avoid future problems.

So where are the instructions for your care and maintenance? When you were born you didn't come neatly packaged with a tag tied around your big toe, labeled "Care and Feeding." Though a human being is surely one of the most complicated mechanisms ever created, still an instruction manual isn't provided with each newborn baby. Perhaps the Manufacturer assumed that mothers would study directly with the experts to learn how to care for the new arrival. And who are these "experts"? Not the psychologists and pediatricians, not well-meaning friends and neighbors, mothers and grandmothers (though the latter probably have learned a lot through trial and error).

The trained experts, the people who developed the finest methods to care for, maintain, and get maximum mileage out of this human mechanism (not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually), were the yogis.

Detailed information on the care and feeding, maintenance and preservation of a human being was revealed to the yogis thousands of years ago. They have been custodians of this technology ever since. They are the expert mechanics, scientists, engineers, and problem-solvers for the intricate human machine in all its aspects: body, mind, and soul.

The Yogi’s Gift

For thousands of years this yogic knowledge was carefully handed down by oral tradition from Master to disciple. The Master spoke, the student memorized and practiced. Eventually a portion of this vast body of knowledge leading to enlightenment, or self-mastery, was written down. Some of these sacred teachings can be found in ancient Vedic texts.

Kundalini Yoga was always kept very secret. It was never taught publicly until 1969, when Yogi Bhajan challenged the ages old tradition of secrecy.

He spent many years in India learning, mastering, and perfecting the habits and practices of Kundalini Yoga. It sometimes took months of waiting patiently and being tested in many ways before a Teacher would reveal anything at all to him. Yet he has offered to share these ancient secrets with us, openly and honestly. His motive? Compassion. He wants us to stop suffering. He sees the reality of our inner beauty, power, and potential and he wants us to discover it for ourselves.

To fully appreciate the value of this great gift Yogi Bhajan has brought us, we need to understand why, for thousands of years, the Yogis kept it secret. They preserved and carefully guarded the knowledge of the inner and outer workings of a human being, very cautiously revealing the technology, selectively passing it down verbally from Master to chosen disciple. They were selective because knowledge gives power, and power can corrupt.

Traditionally, disciples had to spend many years proving their trustworthiness and ethical purity to receive the sacred science of Kundalini Yoga. Only after the student demonstrated humility, self-discipline, and obedience would the Teacher reveal the secret Kriyas. Yet Yogi Bhajan has taken it upon himself to share his knowledge openly with everyone. He has done this in order to prepare humanity for the major changes that the planet is going through.

The world we knew even ten years ago has totally changed geographically, socially, economically, morally. We have already crossed from the Piscean Age into the Age of Aquarius. As he has said, "What used to work, won't work anymore." It's a new Age already, and this ancient technology of Kundalini Yoga can give us the awareness and the strength to make our transition smoother.

The Science of Kundalini Yoga

There's a yogic art and science to all aspects of human life. There's a yogic way to get up in the morning, go to sleep at night, eat, and breathe! Virtually every aspect of human existence has an enlightened, efficient, and effective way to do it. This legacy of technical and spiritual knowledge that Yogi Bhajan studied and mastered in India is the gift he brought to the West.

Yogi Bhajan started teaching Kundalini Yoga in easy-to-digest yogic "tidbits." Of all the technology and wisdom that Yogi Bhajan could have taught from his vast storehouse of mastery, he chose to teach Kundalini Yoga because it is so effective, comprehensive, and "do-able."

This is a yoga for householders, for people who have to cope with the daily challenges and stresses of holding jobs, raising families, managing businesses. It gives results in the shortest possible time. It does not require you to leave your home, become an ascetic or sit in a cave. Kundalini Yoga is for everyone who wants the skills to cope successfully with the challenges of living in this day and age. And you don't have to be a pretzel. For the physical exercises, if you can breathe, and just lean in the right direction, you'll be benefitted.

What Does Kundalini Yoga Do?

The practice of Kundalini Yoga balances the glandular system, strengthens the nervous system and enables us to harness the energy of the mind and the emotions, so we can be in control of ourselves, rather than being controlled by our thoughts and feelings. Kundalini Yoga can make your life shine.

The technology of Kundalini Yoga applies its science to our bodies and minds, and is aimed at spirit which has no boundaries, no discrimination. Therefore it is for everyone. It is universal and non-denominational.

Kundalini Yoga is not a religion. Kundalini Yoga is a Sacred Science. It is sacred because it deals with the GOD ("G": that which Generates; "O": that which Organizes; "D": that which Delivers or Destroys) in you. It is scientific because it provides a technology, a method by which anyone who practices it can experience that divine identity within. The way you choose to worship that G-0-D is your religion.

As you work toward achieving the goal of Yoga or liberation, you become more capable, more confident, and more efficient in whatever you're doing in your external life. Simultaneously, you become progressively more aware of yourself on all levels. 

Kundalini Yoga is designed to give you "hands on" experience of your highest consciousness. It teaches a method by which you can achieve the sacred purpose of your life.

©Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power by Shakti Parwha Kaur

Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa was Yogi Bhajan’s first student-teacher in the United States. She has been teaching Kundalini Yoga since 1969. Author of Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power; Kundalini Postures and Poetry; andMarriage on the Spiritual Path: Mastering the Highest Yoga, she is a frequent movie-goer in the City of Angels.