Tuesday, September 23, 2014

yin and yang in kundalini yoga and meditation

I am at heart a researcher. Over the past year, my research has led me to study the concepts of yin and yang, as well as kundalini yoga and meditation. In my own sadhana, or KYM practice, I have been endlessly intrigued and overjoyed to see how the concepts of yin and yang present themselves in the basics of kundalini yoga and meditation.

Yin and Yang overview

I've blogged about this before, but yin is the feminine essence and yang is the masculine essence. Yang leads, yin follows; yang does, yin is. While yang is aggressive, yin is submissive.

Kundalini and feminine energy

Kundalini is energy coiled at the base of the spine; it rises when the masculine and feminine energies are brought together. This is the purpose of kundalini yoga and meditation: to raise the kundalini from the base of the spine to the top of it. 

Yin and yang in KYM

Here are just a few examples of how the principles of yin and yang are exemplified in KYM.
  • Sat nam. The phrase means "I am truth; truth is my identity." When you do meditations like cat-cow, you're supposed to think "Sat" on the inhale and "Nam" on the exhale. Inhalation is fundamentally yang, and exhalation is fundamentally yin. Similarly, the active voice, as exemplified in "I am truth," is yang, while passive voice ("Truth is my identity") is yin. The phrase "Sat nam" as a whole combines both yin and yang energies. And breaking it up with "sat" on the inhale and "nam" on the exhale... it's yin and yang, guys!
  • Sat nam, Waheguru. Other KYM things have you think "Sat nam" on the inhalation and "Waheguru" ("praise be to God") on the exhalation. Just as it is masculine to assert identity, it is feminine to praise others, and particularly to praise the masculine essence--and what is more "masculine essence" than God? Another perfect example of yin and yang in KYM. 
  • Opposing postures. While other forms of yoga involve long deep stretches and minimal movement, many KYM postures involve movement--back and forth, flex and curl, etc. Doing the postures can really work up a sweat! KYM is designed to balance yin and yang energies, though, in a way other yogas are not. Using opposite postures (ex: flexed spine/curled spine) on the inhalation and exhalation balance the masculine and feminine energies in a truly fascinating and effective way.
  • Finite and infinite.

    "Kundalini Yoga is the science to unite the finite with Infinity, and it's the art to experience Infinity in the finite." - Yogi Bhajan.

    Infinity is yang, and the finite is yin. Just as the Heavens are yang and the Earth is yin. KYM purports to unite the two, finite and Infinity--as Yogi Bhajan says, the science to unite finite with Infinity, and the art to experience Infinity in the finite. A beautiful expression of what it means to bring the yin and yang, masculine and feminine, energies into alignment.
  • Going along with the Infinite/finite idea, consider the words of the tuning-out song, Longtime Sun:

    May the longtime sun shine upon you
    All love surround you
    And the pure light within you
    Guide your way on

    Even the tune-out song unites the Infinite (the longtime sun, or Son, for those Christian practitioners out there!) and the Finite (the light within you). This is another example of KYM uniting the perceived duality of yin and yang, masculine and feminine, Infinite and Finite.

If you are working to balance your masculine and feminine energies, or are working to achieve any sort of enlightenment, taking up a kundalini yoga and meditation practice will help with that. KYM is a technology that uses exercise and vibration (through postures and chanting) to bring energies into alignment for spiritual awakening. 

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