These are some of the terms commonly used in our yoga classes at Mt Eliza, Frankston and Seaford.
Chakra. Chakra means wheel. The chakras are regarded as energy centres or energy vortices. The chakra model gives us a way of understanding the way energy is processed by human beings. In Kundalini Yoga, we concentrate on the eight major chakras.
Gong bath. A gong bath is generally longer than the gong session in a normal yoga class. The term refers to being bathed in sound, in the same way that we speak of being bathed in light. We often use several gongs in a gong bath, rather than just one.
Guru. A guru is often thought of as a living human teacher. A preferred definition within the Kundalini Yoga tradition is that a guru is an agent of change, a catalyst of transformation that awakens the spiritual knowledge, dispelling darkness and bringing light and understanding.
Jalandhar bandh. Jalandhar bandh is the neck lock. It is generally applied during chanting meditations, most pranayama (breathing) exercises, and whenever we are holding the breath in or out. To apply the lock, we sit with a straight spine, and gently stretch the back of the neck straight by pulling the chin towards the back of the neck. The head stays level and does not tilt forward or to either side.
Kirtan. Kirtan combines music and mantra in a meditative and joyful ‘songfest’. The mantras that we use in our yoga classes, Sadhana, and related practices are set to music and everyone who attends is encouraged to sing along with the musicians who lead the event. It is not a musical performance — no fancy tunes and solos — the idea is to create an environment that is welcoming, fun and uplifting. There is no pressure to join in with the singing if you don’t want to, but most people find it hard to resist.
Kriya. Literally translated as “completed action”. In Kundalini Yoga, a kriya is a set of postures completed in a specific sequence, with specific times. When practising a kriya it is important to adhere to the instructions, including the times stated.
Kundalini. The literal translation is “the curl of the hair of the beloved”. The metaphorical meaning is the latent energy or creative potential that lies at the base of the spine of all human beings until activated.
Mantra. A word or sound that sets subtle energies in vibration, when used in kriyas or meditations.
Meditation. Meditation can be defined as the process of controlling and transcending the waves of the mind.
Mudra. Hand position.
Mulbandh. This is the root lock. When applying the root lock, we squeeze the pelvic floor area, contract the lower abdominal muscles and bring the naval point towards the spine. The lock is often applied at the end of an exercise or exercise series.
Prana. Life force. Also known as chi, ki or qi in other traditions.
Pranayam. Pranayam relates to the breath. Breath awareness begins with recognising both the gross physical form of breath, as well as the subtle life force of the body and mind – prana.
Sadhana. Sadhana means a daily spiritual practice. In Kundalini Yoga, it is regarded as a discipline of the mind and body to serve the soul.
Sangat. We use this term to denote community. Sangat is a Sikh word, with its origin in Sanskrit, where the word “sangh” means company, fellowship and association.