Kundalini Yoga at the Golden Temple

One day I told my friend that I would be visiting New Delhi for some meetings. When I got there, and had a couple days off, she surprised me with a trip to Amritsar, the home of the Golden Temple, the primary pilgrimage site for Sikhs.

I was really excited, because I not only have close friends who follow Sikhism, but also, my yoga teacher from Phoenix, Aradhana Kaur, is an American Sikh. It is from her I began to learn about Kundalini yoga and the Khalsa, or community. Aradhana used to make tea and cookies for our class at the studio, or invite people for a potluck lunch at her house after a Kundalini class.

From these interactions, I felt a sense of community. This is the tradition in Sikhism, where people are fed in the gurudwaras or temples, regardless of any socio-economic status (the meal is called langar).

I also thought Kundalini yoga was associated with Sikhism. I kept asking every Sikh man, or sardar, I met on the train ride over and whilst walking about the city. I was met with blank stares.

Was I crazy? From my meager readings and understanding, I felt that Kundalini yoga was a series of meditative postures. Supposedly, Sikhs used it to concentrate on the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the religion.

So why couldn’t I find a yoga class that taught me these postures? Why didn’t anyone even know what this yoga is?

Sikhs in and around Amritsar may have never heard of Kundalini yoga the way I as a Californian know it. But they do the postures extremely well. Just in a different way.

At the Golden Temple– a true world heritage site and probably one of the most awe-inspiring and humble locations I have witnessed– I observed followers sitting, bowing, standing, praying, and meditating. They were using the same poses I had learned from Aradhana. Hidden amidst all that opulence was the spirit of the Kundalini, rising to meet its creator. If that isn’t true yoga, I don’t know what is.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mark Cogan
    Aug 28, 2011 @ 20:20:43

    An American who uses “whilst.” Hmmmm…


  2. Aradhana Kaur
    Nov 17, 2011 @ 20:38:02

    I love you sweet women…aradhana


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