It’s 26th August – Yogi Bhajan’s birthday! It’s thanks to Yogi B that we even have kundalini yoga – along with its ego eradicator, sufi grinds and breath of fire – in our yoga studios, so today is indeed a cause for sparkles and celebrations.
Not much is written on the distant history of kundalini yoga, except that it’s thought to have germinated some 40,000 years ago. Back in the day, it was a closely guarded secret passed only to a few chosen initiates. Apparently, before even beginning to learn the kundalini ropes, you had to spend 40 days in child’s pose – that’s sitting on your heels, curled over into a ball with your forehead resting on the floor.
Which superpower would you choose?
Those who passed this first initiation were invited to stay with the other yogis up in the hills, fine tuning their kundalini yoga practice, meditating and honing their siddhis, or superpowers. Oh yes, kundalini yoga gives you superpowers! Yogi Bhajan’s was apparently an ability to make it rain on a whim.
There’s no such initiation for us, though, thanks to Yogi B. He arrived in the States at the height of the hippy movement. Flower power was blooming and so was the consumption of psychedelics.
Drugs or yoga?
Yogi Bhajan, himself a yoga master since the age of 16, recognised that something had to give – all that LSD was frying everyone’s brains. He offered kundalini yoga as an alternative natural high to the psychotropics. Plus, the practice helped to repair and strengthen their drug-addled nervous systems, reversing the damaging effects of the chemicals.
The kundalini yogis in the mountains weren’t best pleased with Yogi B’s steps to open up this sacred practice to the West… and without the initiation first? Who was he kidding?! But Yogi B persisted – these flower children needed kundalini yoga more than anyone!
Even though no one came to his first class, word soon got around and kundalini yoga became a bit of a hit. It spread like wildfire and that’s why we have it in yoga studios across the world. In fact, kundalini yoga has an aside… it’s kundalini yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan.
So in your yoga practice today, if it feels right, offer your gratitude to Yogi Bhajan for bringing this amazing technology to us. Kundalini yoga has rocked my world, and if it wasn’t for Yogi B coming to the planet… well, who knows what I’d be doing instead 😉. Happy birthday, Yogi B.