You may have experienced arriving to your first Kundalini class to find the teacher, and perhaps some of the students, dressed all in white and wearing head coverings. You look around nervously maybe feel a bit out of place. Maybe you even mutter to yourself, “I didn’t come to join a religion, I just want to practice yoga!” It’s a thought that many Kundalini practitioners (and many yoga students from other traditions, too) have the first time they try it because it can seem so new and foreign. But once you begin to understand the meanings behind the singing, breath techniques, and, yes, even the attire, it all seems a lot more comfortable and maybe you can reap the benefits of this amazing practice without worrying about what you’ve gotten yourself into. After all, there’s a reason that more and more people are practicing Kundalini, and it has little to do with fashion.
Let’s be clear: Kundalini Yoga (and all yoga) is not a religion. It is universal. People of all faiths practice yoga for their health and conscious living, however there are some visible distinctions between Kundalini and other yoga practices that I’d like to demystify for you.
The teachings of Yogi Bhajan advocate for Kundalini yoga clothing that is white natural fibre, modest, and easy to move in. Colors have an effect on consciousness. White contains all colors in the spectrum, and wearing white reflects and radiates light, which is believed to expand your aura. People often report feel a sense of clarity, cleansing and expansion just by wearing white. Natural fibers such as cotton breath better and allow energy to flow smoothly. You won’t see people wearing skimpy yoga attire in a Kundalini yoga class where modesty is considered a reflection of strength and grace. Because Kundalini kriya can be quite dynamic it is essential to have clothing that is easy to move in for good range of motion.
The turban is worn by people of many cultures and religions. Being Sikh and a Kundalini master, Yogi Bhajan saw the hair as having a significant energetic function, and the turban assists with our awareness and mastery of subtle energies. Turbans are also considered a sign of equality. He recommended covering the head and hair during a Kundalini class with a cotton bandana, hat, scarf (chuni) or turban for the following reasons:
1. To protect and contain your energy by covering the Crown Chakra (seventh center) so that the energy that moves in and out of our chakra system through the crown is protected from any negativity.
2. To stabilize the cerebral matter and focus the functional circuit of the hemispheres of the brain, which tune the neurological system and electromagnetic field.
3. Command your Sixth Center, the Ajna Chakra (a.k.a. Third Eye), and provide a sense of containment, prevent headaches and create a deeper meditative focus.
4. The skull is made up of tiny bones that are constantly moving (by micro-millimeters) and the degree to which they move impacts levels of calmness or anxiety. A turban literally helps “keep your head together.
Now that you understand WHY some Kundalini practitioners dress in the way that they do, understand that you don’t HAVE to follow suit in order to add this practice to your routine. There are many teachers practitioners who choose to wear other colors (including Gather Local Collective teacher Amir Jaan), in part simply to remove a barrier that newcomers might feel when they first learn about the practice.
Danielle Satya Parla is psychologist, writer, yoga teacher, and lover of life who has lived and worked in New Zealand, Canada, Asia, and Europe. Currently living in Basel, Switzerland she is devoted to creating space to breathe through her collective work: teaching Hatha, Kundalini, and Yin yoga, the spoken and written word, and energetic healing. She loves nourishing conversations, gelato, walking pilgrimages, and the ancient sciences of transformation and healing.
Danielle has a Masters degree in Psychology, is a certified 500hr+ yoga teacher, Reiki Master, and continues to study breath therapies as a way to be deliciously present, embodied, and authentic.
To learn more visit her website, www.thatgiKundalini breathrldani.com.
Photos courtesy of Instagram Kundalini practitioner @kundalinilounge, Mariya Gancheva
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