I have been practicing Kundalini yoga for just over 2 years, so I am relatively new to it. In August I attended the Yoga West Khalsa Ladies Camp on the Sunshine Coast. Khalsa Ladies camp is a five day women-only camp of Kundalini Yoga, Meditation and workshops (ie on relationships, healthy breast and creative writing).Click here to read entire post
Kundalini, often called the yoga of awareness, is a form of Yoga that was brought to the west by Yogi Bhajan in 1968. Instead of focusing primarily on the asanas (the physical form of yoga), Kundalini yoga involves a combination of meditation, pranayama (breathing exercises), and the chanting of mantras. There is an emphasis on balancing and strengthening the nervous system to help direct and control the kundalini energy as it rises from the base of the spine to higher energy centers/chakras of the body.
In kundalini, there is less focus on the precise alignment of each pose. Often the postures can be quite intense and involve repetitive movements for long periods of time. For these reasons, I believe it is very helpful to have a base knowledge of (Hatha) Yoga when starting Kundalini.
Yogi Bhajan was a Sikh and in his teachings incorporated many ancient Sikh stories. The women who held the Khalsa camp were also of Sikh religion. Although many aspects of the camp could be considered religious, everyone was welcomed and invited to participate in Sikh activities such as Gurdwara if they wanted to.
Every morning at the camp we participated in Sadhana. Sadhana is an early morning (3:30am wake up!) meditation that involves chanting, yoga asanas and readings from a sacred yoga text. It’s a beautiful way to start and set the energy of the day.
A major theme of the workshops and yoga sets was ‘Rebirthing’. The rebirthing courses were designed by Yogi Bhajan to help students clear the clutter of the mind and let go of any pain or fear they may be holding onto. Each rebirthing set was taught by a different teacher. Certain teachers or sets resonated differently with each individual depending on what kind of subconscious blocks they were dealing with.
The rebirthing sets were quite different from what I had expected. Coming into the experience, I told myself I had unresolved anger to deal with which I expected to surface during the rebirthing sets.
What actually happened surprised me. I felt no anger, no sadness, only contentment and a sense of deep connectedness with my “true” self. A self that was unaffected and undisturbed by any event that had happened in my life. For some of the women the rebirthing was very intense and difficult. There were often tears, moaning, sighs and screams of release during the sets.
The first few days at camp were the most difficult for me. But once I acknowledged the judgement and scepticism I felt, I was able to recognize that each one of these ladies was on their own journey-finding meaning in the ways that made sense to them. I surrendered deeply to the practices that resonated with me, while also acknowledging and accepting that some of the practices at the camp weren’t for me. Once I realized this I was able to graciously enjoy the entire experience.
I anticipated the camp to be quite intense. To be honest, the idea of a large group of women together in the woods kind of frightened me. But after a few days I found a sense of community and union at camp Raj. In the mountains, out of cellular reception and away from any obligations or roles the women hold in their lives, we opened up and let ourselves be vulnerable, real and raw.
Our purpose for holding this camp is not to give answers or solutions, but rather to create a nurturing environment through which one can grow and heal and find her own way.”
-Khalsa Ladies Camp About page
For more information about Kundalini Yoga: 3HO Kundalini Organization