Have you heard of Kundalini Yoga, wanted to try it, or find out more? When I first went to a Kundalini class, I was nervous - as I knew everyone wore white, there was chanting, and I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. A couple of years later and I’m a convert - and have experienced some big shifts and releases during Kundalini classes. I wanted to learn more about the practice and debunk some popular questions, like; what is Kundalini energy? Why does chanting lead to big release? Why does everyone wear white?
I spoke to Yelena Bebich, a Kundalini Teacher and Women’s Circle Facilitator based in Auckland, New Zealand, about what you can expect when going to a Kundalini class.
How were you first introduced to Kundalini?
I had been practicing other forms of yoga for quite a few years when I first stumbled upon Kundalini yoga. I remember my first Kundalini class clearly. I walked in, newly separated from my then Husband. Nervous system fried, I felt like my life was falling apart, desperately trying to hold myself together.
For the first time in months I found space between my anxious thoughts, and the music moved me. So much so that I had a massive release of hot tears during the closing blessing song. A breaking open, the energy that I had been holding down, in order to appear ok, made its way up and out. This was a major step in my healing, I began to feel the parts of me that had become numb. The beauty of Kundalini Yoga is, once you commit to a regular practice, there is no escaping the transformation it brings.
Why did you decide to become a Kundalini teacher?
When we begin own transformational journey and find the techniques that work for us, we very often hear the call to share these techniques with others. I signed up for Teacher training earlier this year and the call to share has become undeniable.
What makes Kundalini yoga different?
Whilst the practice can be physically challenging, Kundalini yoga offers so much more than physical exercise. It is also known as the yoga of awareness. We use traditional Asanas (postures), Pranayama (Breath work), Mantras (Ancient Sacred Sounds), Mudras (Hand Gestures), Bandha (body locks), Drishti (eye focus) in every class. The practice is done mostly with the eyes closed, to create connection to your inner self.
Kundalini is one of the oldest forms of yoga, it has been practiced in India since 500 B.C. Initially Kundalini Yoga was carefully handed down from master to disciple for centuries and kept very secret. It was never taught publicly until Yogi Bhajan challenged this secrecy and taught Kundalini openly to the public in 1969. He knew it was the technology that was needed to help us with the challenges we would face in the transition to the Aquarian Age.
What exactly is Kundalini Energy?
Kundalini energy is “coiled” at the bottom of the spine, this Kundalini is the creative potential within each and every one of us. Practicing Kundalini yoga brings that energy to life in the body.
Kundalini yoga promotes self-healing by balancing the glandular system and chakras, strengthening the nervous system, increasing strength and flexibility to bring the body, mind and soul into alignment. Kundalini yoga is the practice of awakening to your higher self, the practice brings this creative potential to life within us, so we can experience our highest destiny.
What can you expect in a Kundalini Class?
Class structure: There are ritual elements to every class, we begin with a mantra to tune us in, connecting us to the subtle wisdom of the universe and always end with a closing blessing song and the mantra ‘Sat Nam’. This mantra means ‘truth is my identity’. Each class is different with a Kriya / Yoga set and meditations for specific results. The teacher will sit at the front of the class and give verbal instruction, you will never receive physical adjustments. This practice is about connection to self, rather than having the perfect yoga form. You will experience periods of effort, followed by deep rest.
What do you wear?
Kundalini yoga teachers wear white, clothes that are white and made of natural fibres have the ability to expand your Aura. The teacher will cover their head to protect their crown chakra and keep their energy contained. Students can wear anything they feel comfortable in.
Why do we chant?
You will be invited to chant. I encourage you to drop any self imposed limitations around singing in public and free your voice. Chanting mantra has so many benefits including reduced stress, improved concentration and focus, lower heart rate, it helps to tune us inward, increasing our connection to intuition, it provides emotional release, reducing anxiety, it is a truly heart opening experience. These Mantras are Ancient sound technologies, which each have specific results and will change your vibration.
What is the importance of breath in Kundalini?
In Kundalini yoga we have a strong focus on breathing and there maybe some breathing styles that are completely new to you. We use long deep breathing among other styles. ‘Breath of fire’ is a very commonly used breath in Kundalini yoga, it is an energising breath powered by rapid, rhythmical abdominal contractions.
How is meditation used?
We meditate in every class, but as we practice with the eyes closed throughout class, Kundalini yoga is meditative in it’s very nature. Kundalini meditation incorporates more elements than some other types of meditation, mantra, mudra, movement, and eye focus are often used. I’ve had a lot of feedback from complete beginners to meditation, that these tools make it so much easier to focus and to go deeper into their meditation practice.
About Yelena Bebich
I’m a Mother to two beautiful boys, a makeup artist with 14 years experience with an interest in simple, natural beauty rituals. I’m a teacher and student of Kundalini yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan and womens circle facilitator.
I have had a lot of change in my life over the last few years and my own spiritual practice has been an anchor in the rough waters. Creating space for self care through my Yoga and ritual practice has been incredibly healing for me, my hope is to inspire others to create nourishing and sacred self care practices for their own wellness.
I am committed to following the path of self- acceptance, self-awareness, listening to my intuition and witnessing my shadow self with love.
I teach Kundalini Yoga on Thursday’s 6.30 - 7.45pm in Northcote Point on Auckland’s North Shore.
I also host a once a month Women’s Moon Circle near the new moon. Join the private group ‘The High Priestess Moon Circle’ on Facebook to find out more.
Check out my Instagram @yelenabebich and my soon to be released website for Kundalini yoga and Moon Rituals www.yelenabebich.co.nz