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 Kundalini Yoga ~ The Yoga of Awareness 

by Donna Davidge


The word awareness can be called consciousness. When we see someone doing something that we think is sad or bad it would behoove us to take notice that this person may not be aware of the thing they are doing to harm themselves or someone else. We would say they are unconscious. When I first started being involved deeply in yoga in the 1980’s, having dabbled in the 70’s, Yoga Journal was called The Journal of Conscious Living. I had the great good fortune to discover my teacher Yogi Bhajan during that era of yoga. In the early 1990’s Rodney Yee and Yoga Journal videos came on the scene. More people slowly came to yoga. As Yogi Bhajan predicted back then, things started moving very quickly in to the information age. Not only were our systems overloaded with computers, cell phones, texting and the next new thing. People began to search more. Not everyone searched, but more and more people did and still are. Oprah added a segment to her show in the 90’s called Remembering Your Spirit. Whatever way you came to it, people were looking to be come more aware. Some people went to India, like the Beatles had. Yogi Bhajan came to the United States when people were seeking higher consciousness through drugs and hallucinogens. He began to substitute yoga, breath and mantra, as did his colleagues like Swami Sachidananda, who also came to United States in 1969 and taught Integral Yoga. Their message was the same. We are all one. It sounds simple to some, impossible to others. Whether we believe in these principles or not, most of us cannot argue that there is much change going on and quickly. Yogi Bhajan, who passed from this world in 2004, predicted that our nervous systems would be taxed to the hilt and unless we had a system of self-exaltation we ourselves could not be as strong as he knew we could. It required work, commitment and awareness.

There are many facets to raising consciousness. In this coming era, which he called the Age of Aquarius (remember the musical Hair from the 60’s? It is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius?) we may all still have areas of our lives that we are not full awake and aware in;  we can keep working on it - aspiring to it - and moving towards it. The Kundalini mantra is Keep Up. Yogi Bhajan also said there is no liberation without labor. If we want to come to a higher plane in our thoughts we have to be aware of them first. One of our teacher trainers at Sewall House shared with me that her father, a Buddhist, had written her that 80% of our thoughts are negative. I suggested that if we become aware of them we can work to change them. It may not happen overnight or quickly.

It is so true we are all creatures of habit, especially set in our ways, which starts in the mind.  Living in a quick fix society not everyone will do the work to truly shift. Everyone wants to be happy - even the drug addict or the person with the lowest self esteem wants to be happy, to be loved, to be understood and to know how to love another. There are so many practitioners hoping to help heal the planet with a shift in energy. Duality will always exist. Pain will exist. The shadow, the dark side, is always there. But it does not have to prevail. We can zap the negative thought - the fear, the what ifs, with a brighter thought - with practice and awareness. I have heard that 80% of the things we worry about never happen.    

If we believe in group consciousness, that we are all connected, then each tragedy in every part of the world, whether caused by nature or man, and plenty of both seem to be accelerating, are each and every one affecting each and every one of us. If we put our thoughts toward healing ourselves and others by the way we think, live and view or lives, the belief is that this will raise the consciousness of the planet in these times of transition in the hopes of transformation. Is this over-optimism? Life is a short mystery and so to make the most of cherishing our own and others makes sense. Another of our teacher trainers said she thought that belief system was not valid until one night when she ate a steak in a very popular restaurant in New York City. She did not sleep the entire night and felt a terrible feeling inside her; not an indigestion. Her partner suggested that something horrible had happened to the animal and she had taken on its energy. The fact is that the animal had been murdered. We kid ourselves to think that animals have no feelings. Recently someone sent me a photo essay of two small birds - one had been killed. Its partner tried to nudge it, to feed it and began to wail. To anyone sensitive to loss and life it was a tear inducing photo essay.

In Yoga the Yamas (principle), Ahimsa is the first one to learn. It goes beyond not injuring yourself in your yoga practice. Technically it means non-harming. It means kindness. It is kind to murder an animal? I think not. Others may think differently. This is what I believe. There is too much proof that animals have feelings - dogs that save their owners, elephants that never forget someone who has harmed them, the stories are endless.

The story of awakening of our individual and group consciousness to a super consciousness requires much self-examination and self-study. It is most effective if we set an example, not preaching to others but living in a way that we believe supports life. Spiritual seekers and leaders have always existed. Just as there is more information there are more and more channels of the message that we are awakening to the possibly of this era of superconsciousness.  Yoga and meditation are just one of the many ways to get there. For my part, I am so glad the 5000 year old tradition has survived to help us survive emotionally and physically in these challenging times of transition. And that people like Yogi Bhajan had the foresight to teach us to seek the guru within - to learn from our own experience and become more aware and internally strong using the techniques of Kundalini Yoga.

Have a comment or question? Visit our Yoga Forum to start or join a conversation. 




About the Author

Donna Amrita Davidge
owns and operates  www.sewallhouse.com a small personalized yoga retreat in Maine, since 1997, and also maintains a teaching practice inNew York City in the winter months. Teaching yoga since 1985, she is 500 Hour E-RYT with Yoga Alliance as well as a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor with 3HO. Donna (Amrita) has two dvds for home practice and has written articles for Fityoga, Medical Tourism and is the yoga columnist for Inner Tapestry, a New England publication. Sewall House has been featured in Instyle, Travel & Leisure, Yoga Journal, Shape and other publications.



Special Events: Please see the Events page at www.sewallhouse.com for details.

* Belly Dancing and Yoga weekend July 15-17, 2011

* Raindrop Technique with Essential Oils for Healing and Wholeness July 23, 2011

* Umbria Italy Oct 22-29, 2011

* Teacher Trainings Are Periodically Offered, call (646) 316-5151 or (888) 235-2395






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