What is Kundalini yoga?

What is Kundalini yoga?

Good question.  Kundalini yoga and the teachings were brought to the West by a guru named Yogi Bhajan.  

“Breaking the centuries old tradition of secrecy surrounding the empowering science of Kundalini Yoga, he began teaching it publicly. With the yogic sciences of yoga, meditation, yogic philosophy, and loving acceptance, he gave the soon to be called "Baby Boomers" an effective alternative to the prevalent drug culture. He called it the "3HO" (healthy, happy, holy) way of life. “

This technology, as it is referred to, is known as the ‘yoga of awareness’ and the ‘mother of all yogas’. 

It encompasses:

·      a full range of asanas (movement/postures)

·      pranayama (breathwork)

·      savasana (relaxation) and

·      active meditation often including a mudra (hand position), mantra, drishti (eye position or gaze) and breath pattern. 

Whew, right? 

The purpose of doing yoga is to prepare the body for meditation.  By releasing energy from the lower chakras, the movement and breathwork creates an ideal condition to immerse into a powerful meditation that raises awareness and consciousness to your own being, being present to others and the world around you. 


Experiencing something is the most powerful form of learning.  We all desire that magic bullet that will bring us more peace and ease.  Kundalini yoga, for me, has helped me work through many blocks, trauma and judgemental mindsets to help me achieve a state of bliss that enables me to deal with all the stressors and distressing emotions that come my way.  When you achieve a state of bliss, it is not interrupted by sadness, anger, anxiety, fear and whatever else can hijack you.  One can experience these emotions and still be in a state of bliss, or inner peace (not to be confused with being happy). It is work in progress for me to change old patterns that have gripped me for years.

When I first went to a kundalini yoga class, I was hooked. Donna was teaching the class and from the minute I entered the studio, her warm and welcoming greeting set the tone for a great experience.  She asked me if I needed a mantra sheet.  “um, yes?”  Not exactly sure why I needed a mantra sheet.  I was open to anything. 

As I found my way to a mat, I noticed that many of the yogis were circling their body around, or moving their bodies back and forth or relaxed in easy pose (apparently not so easy for some) meditating while waiting for Donna to begin. There was music playing that was unfamiliar to me.  It was flowy, relaxing, ethereal and repetitive (in a good way).   Donna entered the studio and it looked as if a halo was around her.  She began the class with ‘tuning in’ and so I followed along, using my mantra sheet.  And then the postures began.  Rapid arm movements, breathing forcefully, and doing something called ‘breath of fire’ all with the eyes closed gazing into something called the third eye (last I checked, I had two eyes).  I could feel this flood of heat and energy surge through my body that seemed to release all tension. 

Finally, savasana. During savasana, Donna played beautiful and healing music that made melt into the ground into total relaxation.  As we made our way back to the awareness of here and now after the relaxation, I thought the class was over.  Returning to easy pose, I noticed that most of the class began covering their heads preparing for a meditation.  Again, I just followed Donna’s lead.  She explained how we were going to do this meditation, how our hands were positioned, the mantra we would chant and how we were to breathe.  Interesting, I thought.  I don’t recall which meditation we did that day, but I know that I felt confident, at ease, and visioned a bright and prosperous future.  Donna’s teaching style is a mix of grace and ease balanced by her compassionate, powerful presence.  I left that first class feeling energized, inspired and a shade more at peace within. 

After going to several classes, I approached Donna and asked her if she would be interested in facilitating a retreat at enso Retreat Centre on Salt Spring Island. “Let’s have tea” was her response and the rest they say, is history. Donna inspired me to continue on with the practice and become KRI Level 1 certified myself.

Donna has facilitated two retreats here at enso.  On the docket for the Spring, Donna is holding space with me at the Aquarian Teachers’ Retreat  March 8-10.  This retreat is a unique offering an co-created by the participants who are joining us.


If you are a new or experienced kundalini yoga teacher, or practice and teach other forms of yoga, the Aquarian Teachers’ Retreat will be a time to gather, share and be with like-minded people who all share the same quest of raising consciousness and cultivating inner peace.

And if you are new or experienced yogi AND want to experience kundalini yoga in a nurturing, supportive way, please join us for “A Shade More…Renewed” on May 9-12, 2019.  Donna is holding space for us at this retreat and you will leave the weekend feeling motivated, inspired and ‘a shade more renewed’. 

 At enso retreat centre, you are well cared for.  We ensure your experience is nurturing and transformative.  Here is what our previous guests have said about their experience at an enso Kundalini yoga retreat:

Thank you! THANK YOU!! This was a life transforming experience for me. I am deeply grateful and excited about what is emerging in the field between us!! Dori- as host, you are so generous with space and co-creating experience of living in community for the weekend. Enso Retreat space - a beautiful, nourishing space for renewal, connection, community


The intimate space, the community, to space to connect with ourselves, music and mantras and with each other. The food was delicious!


Community, energy and openness. Healing, nurturing, transforming


The breadth of experiences and safe space to experience them, the amazing food, the facilitation and teaching, the location and the people :)


The morning practice, yoga sessions, healing circles, music all supported an experience of living yoga for the weekend. I loved the gong baths and received so much healing in the process


I have never been to a multi day overnight retreat before so I do not have another point of reference. However, I will say that from the moment I got off the ferry on Salt Spring Island and drove down the forested driveway of Enso Retreat, I was enchanted. The front gate lined with bamboo, the pathway and smell of the ocean immediately relaxed me. Upon entering the house I felt welcome and comfortable. Dori has created a space that nurtures, inspires and supports spiritual growth. Very well organized with an excellent flow allowing for solitude and deep connection with the group. I loved the beautiful meals that were served with such love and grace by Marina. Cant wait to come back to this amazing place!


The superior nature location , the well beautifully organized , the tasty YOGI food and over all -Donna , Dori 's thoughtfulness and efforts which made all those happened to us have impressed me deeply. Thank you so much !

Beautiful retreat, I felt really grounded and peaceful inside and out, loved the energy around the space and people, I will definitely return next time.


It was a wonderful weekend in a beautiful setting with amazing people. So good for the soul. Loved it! Thank you kindly.


Kundalini yoga is now an integral part of my life. Each morning, I am “on the mat” and it is as important as washing my face and brushing my teeth. It is the ‘shower for my mind’. It helps me reset each day and inch a shade more along the continuum of inner peace. Being aware in each moment continues to sharpen, deepen and become more conscious. As someone who stays in their head A LOT, I am slowly and surely experiencing the joy of the moment and opening my heart more each day to trust, love and connection.

 “For every beautiful thing, you have to pass through a valley of hardship. There is no liberation without labor. There is no freedom which is free. To create in you the power to create the intelligence which will give you power to be effective in your own living and give you satisfaction in your own joy, you have to work for it, you have to earn it”

~Yogi Bhajan



Dori HowardComment