The Science of Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga

The Science of Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga is the original and most powerful of the twenty-two schools of yoga, all of
which are beneficial. The Yoga Sutras (writings) say that what you can achieve in 12 years of
Hatha Yoga, plus 6 years of Raj Yoga, plus 3 years of Mantra Yoga, plus 1 year of Laya Yoga
can be accomplished in a single year of perfectly practiced Kundalini Yoga.
Kundalini Yoga is designed for the active person with responsibilities in school, work, family
and the world. It was maintained as a secret oral tradition for thousands of years which
protected the techniques from abuse, but also created an unnecessary image of mystery.
Kundalini Yoga can be practiced by anyone if it is done gradually and according to the
As our society becomes increasingly technological, our world becomes more intimately
connected and influenced by its numerous cultures. The pace of change is on the rise and the
stress on our body’s nervous system is increasing. The science of Kundalini Yoga allows us to
tap into a technology that helps us cope with this escalating change. The inner science of the
mind is the tool that will enable us to cope with the pressure of these changes. It is the mind that
interprets our outer and inner worlds and it is the mind that we must train to guide us through
the flow of change.
As a beginning student you should go at a pace that suits your flexibility and endurance. As you
feel more comfortable with the exercises taught in class, begin to practice at home. If you can
practice at the same time each day, you will find that you will improve rapidly. Try to take one to
three yoga classes a week and one workshop a month to establish a firm foundation for an
effective program that fits your needs, goals, capacity and lifestyle. Wear loose exercise clothes
to class, preferably of cotton or other natural fiber and if you wish, bring an exercise mat.
Class Structure Class Technologies
Opening Mantra:
Ong Infinite creative
Namo I call on that
Guru Transforming Wisdom
Dev Subtle Energy
Namo I call on that energy
Theme Topic
Warm-Up Exercises
Main Kriya
Deep Relaxation
Pranayama Breathing Techniques
Asana Body Postures
Mudra Hand Positions
Mantra Sound Currents
Bhanda Body Locks

The Science of Breathing
The yogic science of breath is called Pranayama. Pranayama is the control (yama) of the life
energy (prana) through breathing exercises. Kundalini Yoga employs a wide range of breathing
techniques. The breath, its rhythm, and its depth relate to different states of health,
consciousness, and emotion. Kundalini Yoga uses the breath scientifically to change energy
states. There are a few basic breaths that should be mastered in order to freely practice the
The simplest of all yogic breaths is long deep breathing. It is a habit that we in our western
culture have lost. Our normal tendency is to breathe shallow and irregularly. This leads to an
emotional approach to life, chronic tension, and weak nerves. The lungs are the largest organ of
the human body. Average lungs can enlarge to a volume of almost 6,000 cubic centimeters.
Normally we use only 600 – 700 cubic centimeters of that capacity. If you do not expand the
lungs to their full capacity, the small air sacks in the lungs, called alveoli, cannot clean their
mucous lining properly. Therefore you do not get enough oxygen so toxic irritants that lead to
infections and disease build up. By taking a deep breath you can expand the lungs by about
eight times. If you establish a habit of breathing long, deep and slowly, you will build your
endurance and patience. A long deep breath can bring you back to your center, even in chaotic
Posture (Asana)
Sit in a comfortable meditative posture, i.e., easy pose, with a straight spine.
The normal breath should always be through the nose. Breathing through the nose filters the air,
warms it, and humidifies it, so that the air does not disturb the sensitive ecology of the lungs.
Most importantly for the yogi, the nostrils are connected to the Ida (left nostril - feminine
energy) and Pingala (right nostril - masculine energy) and therefore Prana is taken into the body
through the nose.
Begin by pushing the navel point outward and then filling the lungs with prana from the
abdomen upward.
To exhale completely, breath out as much “left over” air as possible.

Breath of Fire is a rapid, rhythmic, bellow type of breathing method. This breath is used
consistently throughout Kundalini Yoga Kriyas. In Breath of Fire, the focus of energy is at the
navel point. The breath is fairly rapid, 2 to 3 breaths per second, continuous and powerful with
no pause between the inhale and exhale.
Posture (Asana)
Sit in a comfortable meditative posture, i.e., easy pose, with a straight spine.
As you exhale, the air is pushed out by pulling in the navel point and abdomen towards the
spine. In this motion, the chest area is moderately relaxed.
As you inhale, the air is pulled in by pushing the navel point forward to bring the air into the
This is a very balanced breath with no emphasis on either the exhale or inhale, and with equal
power given to both. Breath of Fire is a cleansing breath which cleans the blood and releases old
toxins from the lungs, mucous lining, blood vessels, and cells. Regular practice expands the
lungs quickly. You can start with three minutes of Breath of Fire and build to twenty. While
pregnant or menstruating, substitute Long Deep Breathing for Breath of Fire.
Posture (Asana)
Sit in a comfortable meditative posture, i.e., easy pose, with a straight spine.
Exhale through the nose.
Curl the tongue and protrude it slightly past the lips. Inhale deeply and smoothly through the
tongue and mouth.
Sitali Pranayama is a well known practice that soothes and cools the spine in the area of the
fourth and sixth vertebrae. This in turn regulates the sexual and digestive energy. This breath is
often used to regulate fevers and blood pressure and to cure digestive ailments.

All forms of yoga use Asana as a part of their practice, even if the Asana is as simple as sitting
in a comfortable meditative posture. One of the main reasons why Kundalini Yoga works so fast
and effectively is its use of angles in its Asanas; this is one of the “secrets” of its success.
Lifting the legs to different heights creates pressure on specific glands and organs depending
upon the angle of the lift. Pressuring the glands causes them to secrete. When the pressure is
released and the body is held motionless, the glandular secretions that have been stimulated have
an opportunity to circulate freely throughout the body. The result is a balanced glandular system
which has a definite effect on your emotional stability through the chemistry of your body.
The key idea within an Asana is that all parts of the body are well-balanced, comfortable and
aligned. In certain deep meditations your consciousness may alter to the degree that you
temporarily lose normal body awareness. In that case, the posture must be balanced in such a
way that it is easy for the body to hold the Asana without conscious effort. If you are
imbalanced then your muscles may jerk or spasm to adjust for the imbalance. That little spasm
can cause a negative response in the body so make sure that you are well-balanced and
comfortable in the Asana, if not, ask your instructor for assistance.
Some Guidelines for Asana
1. Sit on a surface that’s not too cold or too hard.
2. Use a sheepskin or a mat for support. A sheepskin or other natural fiber such as wool,
cotton or silk provides an electro-magnetic insulation from the ground.
3. Wear comfortable clothes made of natural fibers such as sweats.
4. If you must eat before class only eat something light like a piece of fruit and avoid eating
anything heavy two hours before class.
5. Take your socks off. Our feet have approximately 72,000 nerve endings in them. When we
allow our feet to breath we allow our nervous system the chance to connect with the energy
surrounding us.
6. While pregnant or menstruating ask your instructor for a variation when the asana
stimulates the navel center or calls for an inverted pose.

The Science of the Hands
The hand is magical as well as functional. Early in life we use our hands in our first exploration
of the world as we learn to manipulate it and create in it. The yogis mapped out the hand areas
and their associated parts of the body. Each area of the hand reflexes to a certain area of the
body or brain. Each area also represents different emotions or behaviors. By curling, crossing,
stretching and touching fingers to other fingers and areas we can effectively talk to the body and
mind. The hands become a keyboard for input to our mind/body computer. Each of the six
Mudras listed below is an example of this technique of giving clear messages to the mind/body
energy system.
Gyan Mudra
Mudra: Place the tip of the thumb together with the tip of the index finger.
Stimulates: Knowledge and ability.
Planet: Jupiter – representing expansion.
Shuni Mudra
Mudra: Place the tip of the middle finger on the tip of the thumb.
Stimulates: Patience and discernment.
Planet: Saturn – the task master, the law of karma, the taking of responsibility and
courage to hold to duty.
Surya or Ravi Mudra
Mudra: Place the tip of the ring finger on the tip of the thumb.
Stimulates: Revitalizing energy, nervous system strength and good health.
Planet: Sun – energy, health and sexuality. Uranus – nervous system strength, intuition
and change.
Buddhi Mudra
Mudra: Place the tip of the little finger on the tip of the thumb.
Stimulates: Capacity to communicate clearly and intuitively and psychic development.
Planet: Mercury – quickness and mental powers of communication.
Venus Lock
Mudra: Place the palms facing each other. Interlace the fingers with the left little finger
on the bottom. Lightly press the left thumb tip on the webbing between the
thumb and index finger of the right hand. Lightly press the tip of the right thumb
into the fleshy mound at the base of the left hand. Thumb positions are reversed
for women.
Stimulates: The Mudra channels the sexual energy and promotes glandular balance. It also
brings the ability to focus or concentrate easily if you rest the Mudra in your lap
while in a meditative posture.
Planet: Venus – energy of sensuality and sexuality.

The Science of Vibration
Mantra is the scientific use of sound to affect the consciousness. Next to breathing (necessary
for any endeavor), the use of Mantra is the most important aspect of the practice of Kundalini
Yoga. ‘MAN’ means mind. ‘TRA’ means to tune the vibration (just as one tunes the strings of
a guitar). Mantra is a sound current which tunes and controls mental vibration. It is the
“directive psyche,” a word or words, combinations or syllables, which help focus the mind.
Such words have enormous power. Below are three “main” mantras which are used in a
Kundalini Yoga class.
SAT: Truth NAM: Name (Identity) “Truth is your identity; God’s Name is Truth.”
SAT NAM (rhymes with “but mom”) is the seed, Bij Mantra. It reinforces the divine
consciousness in everyone. Use it as a greeting, anytime, anywhere, anyplace. This mantra is
also used while breathing, inhaling SAT, exhaling NAM, as a prayer to give thanks for food
you’re about to eat, and at times, to close a teaching session.
This mantra calls upon the Creator, the Divine Teacher inside every human being. It establishes
a strong and clear connection so that we can receive the highest guidance, energy and
inspiration. Always chant it at least three times before beginning any session of Kundalini Yoga;
this is a very important mantra!
More important than this mantra’s literal meaning, is the resonant activity it creates within the
human body. There are three main chambers: the head, the chest and the abdomen. Within these
three chambers are the glands and organs that govern bodily functions and set the blood
chemistry which in turn controls mood. These words when chanted correctly, resonate in the
three chambers and awaken them to the effects of the yoga about to be done in class.
The palms of the hands are flat together (Prayer Pose/Mudra). The positive side of the body
(right or male) and negative (left or female) are neutralized. The Mudra is then placed in the
center of the chest (the Sternum) at the 4th Chakra, the Heart Center. Your neutrality is at the
center of your Chakra/Energy centers. The eyes are closed and focused on the 6th Chakra, the
Third Eye: the space in between the eyebrows and about 1/2 inch up.
ONG: is nasal, vibrating the upper palate of the mouth and in turn the hypothalamus gland,
pituitary gland, nasal passages and the entire head chamber.
Its meaning: the Creator.

NAMO: is abdominal. Its two consonants ‘N’ and ‘M’ close off the front of the mouth and
force the cylinder of vibrating air down the esophagus into the abdomen. We open
the abdominal chamber with this resonance.
Its meaning: reverent greetings, salutations.
GURU: is straight from the heart or chest chamber. Both ‘Gu’ and ‘Ru’ are sounds which
shoot out like a cannon from the chest and lungs.
Its meaning: the giver of the technology (GU: darkness, RU: light). For this reason,
spiritual teachers were often called Gurus as they brought the light of wisdom to the
DEV: resonates through the throat and into the nasal passages. By this it connects the
throat center with its power of understanding to the vast knowledge of the third eye
(pituitary gland region. Understanding plus knowledge equals wisdom. As in this
formula “DEV’ means God-like.
Its meaning: transparent (non-physical)
Throughout the world, 3HO classes in Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, Master of
Kundalini Yoga, use this “Sunshine Song” (Incredible String Band) to close each class. It is a
positive affirmation bringing blessings to all.
May the long time sun shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light within you
Guide your way on
May the long time sun shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light within you
Guide your way on
Guide your way on
Guide your way on
Sat Nam

The Science of Muscle Contraction
There are certain combinations of muscle contractions that are called Bhandas or Locks. Each
Lock has a function of changing blood circulation, nerve pressure and the flow of cerebral
spinal fluid. They also direct the flow of psychic energy and prana into the main energy
channels that relate to raising Kundalini energy. The Bhandas also concentrate the body’s
energy for use in consciousness and self-healing.
Jalandhara Bhanda
The most basic Bhanda is Jalandhara Bhanda, the Neck Lock. This Lock is practiced by
contracting back on the neck and throat. The chin rests in or near the notch between the collar
bones at the top of the breast bone. The head stays level without tilting forward. The spine in the
neck straightens to allow the increased flow of pranic energy to travel freely into the upper
glandular centers of the brain. This is critical. In the Kundalini Yoga Kriyas, a vast energy is
generated that produces psychic heat which opens the pranic Nadis (channels) that may be
blocked. When this blocking happens, there can sometimes be a quick shift in blood pressure
causing dizziness. Usually used in all meditative, easy pose (cross legged) Asanas.
Uddiyana Bhanda
This is the diaphragm lock. It is applied by lifting the diaphragm up high into the thorax and
pulling the upper abdominal muscles back toward the spine. This creates a cavity that gives a
gentle massage to the heart muscles. It is considered to be a powerful lock since it allows the
pranic force to transform through the central nerve channel of the spine up into the neck region.
It stimulates the sense of compassion and can give a new youthfulness to the entire body. The
spine should be straight. It is normally applied on the exhale.
Mul Bhanda
The Root Lock is the most complex of the Bhandas and it is frequently applied. It coordinates
and combines the energy of the rectum, sex organs and navel point. The first part of the Mul
Bhanda is to contract the anal-sphincter and draw it in and up as if trying to hold back a bowel
movement. Then draw up on the sex organs as if trying to hold back from urinating. Lastly, pull
in the navel point by drawing back the lower abdomen towards the spine so the rectum and sex
organs are drawn up toward the navel point. This action unites the two major energy flows of
the body: Prana and Apana. Prana is the generative energy of the 4th and 5th Chakra. Apana is
the eliminating energy of the 3rd, 2nd and 1st Chakras. The Root Lock pulls the Apana up and
the Prana down to the navel point, the 3rd Chakra. The combination of the energies generates
the psychic heat that can release the Kundalini energy. This lock is applied with the exhale. It is
also applied on the inhale when specified.
Maha Bhanda
This is the application of all three Locks at one time. When all the locks are applied, the nerves
and glands are rejuvenated. The practice and perfection of Maha Bhanda is said to relieve wet
dreams and preoccupation with sexual fantasy. It regulates blood pressure, reduces menstrual
cramping and puts extra blood circulation into the lower glands: testes, ovaries, prostate,
cowper’s glands, skene’s glands, etc..
Questions and Answers
I have a friend who is a psychotherapist. He teaches Hatha Yoga as part of his therapy. He told
me that Kundalini Yoga is an extremely dangerous form of yoga and that it can lead to insanity
if not handled right. Is this trust?
It is very unfortunate some people talk that way … many of them have not had any real
experience of it. The truth is that Kundalini Yoga produces whole human beings, teachers and
yogis. A yogi is one who has a union with the supreme consciousness. To teach yoga you must
have sufficient experience and practical knowledge of the technolgy. There is never a problem
with Kundalini Yoga taught as the original sacred science.
He doesn’t consider himself an expert yogi. He just mentioned that he heard that Kundalini
Yoga is a very dangerous type of yoga. Could you explain a little more?
Ask him why he’s practicing all the Hatha Yoga postures. What is the purpose of Hatha
Yoga? The purpose of Hatha Yoga is to raise the awareness. It is a technology to bring the
apana and prana, the moon and sun powers together to raise the consciousness. In other
words, its stated aim is to raise the Kundalini. That is the purpose of Hatha Yoga. The
difference from Kundalini Yoga is only a matter of time and rate of progress. The purpose of
the two approaches is the same.
What is Kundalini?
It is the creative energy within. The whole cosmos of energy in the individual and beyond the
individual. It is the energy of consciousness. Without the constant flow of that energy you could
not live. With a large flow your mind begins to awaken. You stop living in imaginary realities
and you become very dutiful to the tasks and joys of this life.