Updated: Jul 11
I am asked this very interesting question frequently. It is a good Question, but one hard to answer in a few words...
To clearly answer this question we have to start understanding the term Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. The Kundalini Yoga of Bhajan does not exist as an independent traditional system. Actually Sikhs traditionally do not practice Yoga, and the system of Bhajan is therefore not derived from a Sikh-Yoga lineage. Bhajan more likely created his brand of Kundalini Yoga in order to create an aura of exclusivity around his teaching so to be and to stay in charge. Kundalini Yoga therefore is no independent system of Yoga. It is in many ways of branch of tantric Yoga that lives in the Hatha traditions. It other words, it can be considered a technique of Hatha Yoga.
Many yogis in India would see the only difference between Hatha from the Nath Lineage and Kundalini Yoga in the use of chakras and bijas in Kundalini Yoga. this is because the chakras are a tantric teaching exclusively developed to unfold the primal energy along the pathway of the six centers. Interestingly, this teaching that intimately is describing the spirit of Kundalini Yoga already was absorbed by modern Hatha Yoga, and can for this reason not be considered as a differentiating aspect between these two ways of practice...
Most western people when they speak about Kundalini Yoga, refer to a specific flavor or style of practice like it was exercised by Bhajan and how it is now commonly understood as such. This style is not unique to what Kundalini Yoga is considered to be, but is in many ways part of the Hatha Yoga tradition. Most people do not know that Bhajan himself learned his Yoga from the Hatha Yoga teacher Dhirendra Brahmachari and derived his Kriyas from him. Further dynamic series are integral part of Hatha Yoga, and everyone who ever practiced the very voluminous Shakti Vikasaka series or the Pawanmuktasana knows this.
Looking at this it becomes clear that the difference in Hatha and Kundalini Yoga is less the way of practice but the spirit in which it is practiced. Obviously, postural alignment Yoga that is focused onlu on health, beauty and inner silence, is not Kundalini Yoga, but can develop in this system. Yoga that is aiming for the veneration and experience of the great goddess Kundalini is Kundalini Yoga no matter which techniques of practice are used.
I teach Hatha Yoga because I honor this tradition and it’s beauty, but I also teach Kundalini Yoga because I simply love and experience Kundalini in my practice. It is my aim to transmit this blessing, and to make it available to all. This is my qualification.